If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, consider contacting a lawyer right away to review your legal options. Many companies have wrongfully exposed their employees, customers, and the public to asbestos. Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can help you pay for needed cancer treatments, help secure your family’s future, and hold those companies accountable.
Key Points about Mesothelioma Lawyers & Lawsuits
- Mesothelioma patients and their families have several options for legal action.
- You have a limited amount of time after a mesothelioma diagnosis or wrongful death to file a lawsuit.
- Mesothelioma lawyers are only paid if you receive compensation – you will not need to make upfront payments.
Why Do I Need a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
In almost every case, talking to an attorney who understands asbestos litigation and laws is a good idea. Reputable asbestos lawyers will review your case for free and determine your likelihood of receiving compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and related costs.
The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center works with knowledgeable attorneys across the country who can help you receive compensation for asbestos-related injuries. Let us help you find a mesothelioma lawyer who puts your needs first.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Receive Compensation?
When you hire an attorney to represent you in an asbestos-exposure claim, he or she will work on your behalf to help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Specifically, an experienced asbestos lawyer will:
- Research asbestos exposure possibilities based on where you have lived, worked, and/or served in the military;
- Gather evidence and documentation to support your case;
- Prepare the necessary forms for filing your claim;
- Work around your treatment schedule and other necessary appointments;
- Act as your representative in court to limit or eliminate your need for travel;
- Communicate with asbestos company attorneys to protect you from their attacks and allegations;
- Inform you of developments in your case so you know what is going on at all times;
- Present any settlement offers and advise you on their viability.
In short, your lawyer will be there from start to finish to walk you through the entire process of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or seeking any other type of compensation.
Legal Options for Mesothelioma Patients
Victims of asbestos exposure and their families may be unsure what legal options are available to them. Below are overviews of some of the options that may be available to you.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company responsible for your exposure to asbestos.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If a loved one passed away recently from mesothelioma, you may be able to bring a claim against the company responsible for their asbestos exposure.
Asbestos companies that are bankrupt have paid billions of dollars into special trust funds, which is available to you if you were exposed to asbestos by one of these companies.
If you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military, you are eligible to receive benefits to pay for your mesothelioma treatments.
Your lawyer can advise you about which option can is most likely to help you receive compensation, based on your individual situation.
Filing Your Lawsuit: Class Action vs. Individual Claim
Not every mesothelioma lawsuit is the same. Some are handled on a case-by-case basis, while others may be part of class actions, in which lots of people are involved in a single suit brought against a company or other party.
While there have been asbestos class action lawsuits in the past, most mesothelioma lawsuits today are handled as individual claims or as part of an MDL – specifically, MDL No. 875 (In Re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation), which is overseen by the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The general process is to file a mesothelioma lawsuit as an individual lawsuit and then have it transferred to the MDL.
|Individual Claims||Class Actions||Multidistrict Litigation|
|A mesothelioma patient (or survivors) sues the party responsible for their asbestos exposure on a one-on-one basis.||Many mesothelioma patients (or survivors) collectively bring a legal action against an asbestos company.||Many mesothelioma patients (or survivors) bring individual claims that are very similar through a special legal process.|
Our legal partners can help you determine the most effective way to have your mesothelioma diagnosis, treatment, and related costs covered. One or more of the following options may be available to help you or a loved one receive compensation for asbestos injuries.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Outcomes
Every asbestos lawsuit is different because each case is based on the individual circumstances of the person or family who filed the claim. However, while the details of each case is different, there are only two basic outcomes that can occur: a settlement or a verdict.
|Mesothelioma Settlements||Mesothelioma Verdicts|
|A settlement is an agreement between two parties to resolve a legal claim or dispute. Mesothelioma settlements often include an amount of money paid to the plaintiff (i.e., the mesothelioma patient or their surviving family members) to compensate them for expenses incurred due to the asbestos exposure.||A verdict is a judgment made by a jury or judge in favor of either the plaintiff or the defendant. If the verdict favors the plaintiff, then there will be a separate ruling to determine the amount of compensation they will receive. No compensation is received for verdicts that favor the defendant.|
Your lawyer will be able to advise you as to when it may be better to take a settlement or hold out for a potentially favorable verdict.
Common Mesothelioma Lawsuit Questions
We’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions mesothelioma patients and their families ask about mesothelioma lawyers and lawsuits.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
The most important factor in determining how long you have to file is your state’s statute of limitations. This law specifies the filing deadline for both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
Most states have an average length statute of limitations between 2 – 3 years. However, some states only give you 1 year in which to file, while a very small handful of states have statutes longer than 3 years.
Because the deadline to file a mesothelioma lawsuit is so short, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney right away. Your lawyer will be able to inform you of the statute of limitations and any other deadlines applicable in your state.
Can I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit on Behalf of Someone Else?
In most cases, no.
If the person diagnosed with mesothelioma is still alive, then he or she would be the one to hire an attorney and file the personal injury complaint.
For individuals who pass away from mesothelioma, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
For more specific questions about whether you can file on behalf of yourself or another person, speak with your lawyer.
How Much Does a Mesothelioma Lawyer Cost?
Asbestos-related legal claims are taken on contingency, meaning that you will not pay anything up front. In fact, your mesothelioma lawyer will only get paid if he or she is able to help you receive compensation.
Since experienced law firms with streamlined resources know how to get compensation for their clients in an effective and efficient way, if the case does not go to trial, the total cost is usually around 3 – 5 percent of the total compensation amount. Note, however, that every case is different, and the actual amount paid will depend on your individual circumstances.
Where Should I File My Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Another important factor in submitting a claim for asbestos exposure is choosing the right court or venue to file in. Because each state has different rules and eligibility requirements, it is important to have a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the state laws where you plan to file suit.
In most cases, mesothelioma patients can file a lawsuit in any state where they have lived, worked, or been exposed to asbestos – so long as you do so before the statute of limitations runs out.
MAA Center works with law firms across the country to help you find the right venue for your lawsuit. Contact a law firm in your area today.
How Much Money Will My Lawsuit Bring?
There are a lot of different factors that go into determining the amount of compensation you may receive from a mesothelioma lawsuit. Some of these include:
- Medical Expenses: The cost of diagnosing and treating mesothelioma will be considered. For that reason, it is important to keep any and all receipts from doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and other medical costs.
- Lost Income: A loss or reduction in your wages or salary (such as scaling back hours, going on disability leave, or stopping work altogether) will be factored into the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive.
- Pain and Suffering: While it may be difficult to quantify, the amount of pain and suffering an asbestos exposure victim experiences will be estimated in determining your compensation amount.
- Funeral Costs: For wrongful death cases, expenses related to the funeral, burial, cremation, or other end-of-life services may be factored into the final amount received in compensation.
The exact amount that you receive will depend on the settlement amount offered or the amount awarded by the jury and/or judge.
What to Look for in a Mesothelioma Lawyer
A lot of lawyers claim to know what it takes to help a client who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, many of them lack the qualities necessary to become a top mesothelioma lawyer.
When searching for an attorney to take on your mesothelioma case, be sure to look for a lawyer who demonstrates all of these attributes.
|Compassion – Your lawyer should be understanding of your situation and the struggles you and your family are facing. If your concerns are not being met, find someone who can give you the attention you deserve.||Knowledge – New mesothelioma research, laws, and court cases are coming out all the time. An effective attorney will be on top of all these changes and understand how they apply to your case.||Flexibility – As new developments with your mesothelioma diagnosis, treatment, or legal case arise, your attorney should be able to adapt accordingly.|
|Experience – Your attorney should be up front about their record – both the wins and the losses. Being able to learn from mistakes are as important as knowing how to win.||Respect – Great attorneys who are respected both within their field and without. Look for signs that a law firm is respected based on client referrals and recognition from national organizations.||Accessible – Don’t settle for a law firm with so many cases they have no time for you. Find an attorney who can sit down and understand your specific needs.|
History of Asbestos Lawsuits
People have been filing lawsuits and other legal claims over asbestos exposure for nearly a century. Below is a timeline of some of the most important developments in asbestos and mesothelioma litigation.
26-year-old asbestos yarn maker
Tried to make Turner Brothers Asbestos pay for treatments. Kershaw died at 33 due to “fibrosis of the lung,” later known as asbestosis.
Foreman (name unknown)
First known U.S. disability claim related to asbestos filed with the Massachusetts Industrial Accident Board, which upheld the claim
U.S. District Court (New Jersey)
Pirskowski and 10 others Johns-Manville Corporation employees sued the company for asbestos-related diseases
U.S. District Court (New Jersey)
Legrande, who worked at H.W. Porter & Company, sued Johns-Manville Corp. in one of the first modern product liability cases, and received a settlement on condition that he keep the real reason for his lawsuit (asbestosis) a secret
U.S. District Court (Eastern Texas)
Tomplait file a lawsuit against eight asbestos product manufacturers, including Johns-Manville, Owens Corning, and Fibreboard, but lost the case because he could not remember in which jobs he used asbestos products
U.S. District Court (Eastern Texas)
Borel, a co-worker of Claude Tomplait, filed a lawsuit against 11 asbestos companies, but died before 9 of the defendants were ordered to pay a total of $79,436.24 (which went to Borel’s widow) – the case opened the door for future successful verdicts
Rudkin, who worked at Johns-Manville, sued his employer for withholding information about the dangers of asbestos, leading to a landmark decision by the California Supreme Court allowing employees to seek compensation outside the workers’ compensation statutes for the first time since 1917
James L. Jackson
U.S. District Court (Southern Mississippi)
Jackson filed a complaint against 12 companies for failing to warn about the dangers of asbestos used at the shipyard where he worked – 9 settled, 1 was found not liable, and 2 (Johns-Manville and Raybestos-Manhattan) paid a combined $1 million in damages
Cavett, a boilermaker in Tennessee, sued Johns-Manville after developing asbestos-caused lung cancer, and although Cavett died while the lawsuit was underway, his widow eventually received $2.3 million in compensation
Chase Manhattan Bank
U.S. District Court (Southern New York)
Chase Manhattan Bank filed a property damage lawsuit against Turner & Newall for installing asbestos-containing materials in the bank’s corporate headquarters
Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust
Pound Ridge, New York
After filing for bankruptcy due to thousands of asbestos-related lawsuits – such as those brought by James L. Jackson and James Cavett – Johns-Manville Corporation was ordered to create the Manville Trust to pay victims of asbestos exposure
Robert Georgine, et al
U.S. District Court (Eastern Pennsylvania)
A class action lawsuit with up to 2 million members was brought against a group of 20 companies known as the Center for Claims Resolution – the case was settled for $1.3 billion, but because it barred future claims, it was ultimately reversed by the Supreme Court in 1997
Madison Co., Illinois
The largest verdict ever awarded to a single plaintiff in an asbestos lawsuit was $250 million, given to a former steel mill worker; however, the amount was ultimately settled for much less, to allow Whittington to access the money immediately rather than wait for years of appeals