As settlement is one form of compensation that mesothelioma patients or their families can receive to help pay for expenses related to treatment, lost income, and related items.
Key Points about Mesothelioma Settlements
- Settlements help mesothelioma patients and their families pay for treatment and other expenses.
- Other compensation includes verdicts, veteran’s benefits, worker’s compensation, and asbestos trust fund payments.
- Settlement amounts depend on various factors: exposure, diagnosis, expenses, etc.
Typically, a settlement comes as part of the litigation process, after an individual has filed a legal claim against an asbestos company or trust fund. This is distinct from veteran’s benefits and worker’s compensation, which are entitlements.
Types of Compensation
|A settlement is a private agreement between two parties, in which one party provides another with compensation in exchange for a release from liability.||A verdict occurs when a jury determines the amount of compensation a victim is entitled to receive. Verdicts are legally binding decisions based on liability.||Other compensation available to mesothelioma patients includes veteran’s benefits, worker’s compensation, and claims against asbestos trust funds|
One of the first questions many mesothelioma patients and their families have is: How much can I get from a settlement? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question, as a lot of different factors go into determining the actual amount someone can receive. A good mesothelioma lawyer will be able to help you figure out how each of these factors apply to your specific situation.
- Place and duration of asbestos exposure
- Mesothelioma Diagnosis
- Diagnosis and treatment costs
- Lost income/expected income
- Legal venue
- Other related expenses
Eligibility requirements are different depending on what type of compensation is being sought. Specific criteria will depend on the court where the legal action occurs, which asbestos trust a claim is filed with, and military service or employment history.
- Diagnosis of mesothelioma confirmed by a qualified doctor.
- Medical records showing diagnosis and treatment expenses
- Employment, union, or related records indicating work at a known asbestos worksite
- Asbestos products/materials you were exposed to
- Similar details about other exposures that may have occurred at home, school, or elsewhere
- Military records showing your years and locations of service
- Any other records that show your work, military, or asbestos exposure history
The more evidence you can provide of your exposure to asbestos, the better chance you have of receiving compensation to help pay your expenses.
Mesothelioma Settlement Process
There are four main steps in the settlement process for mesothelioma claims.
Research: Gather all of the documentation you have showing your eligibility (see above). This can take a long time, so it’s important to start right away. Your lawyer will help you gather the information you need.
Filing: Once you have the information to back up your claim, your lawyer will prepare and file your claim in a court of law. Your lawyer will help you choose the venue (state or federal court), type of claim (personal injury or wrongful death), and defendants.
Pretrial Motions and Discovery: Before a trial begins, both sides will submit a number of motions and engage in sharing of information relevant to the case (known as “discovery”). A settlement may be offered before ever going to trial.
Trial: If the case goes to trial, each side will present evidence before the court. At any time, the parties may agree to a settlement; however, once a verdict is reached by a jury or judge, the case can no longer be settled.
Negotiating a settlement is a complex and often frustrating process. Therefore, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer who understands how to negotiate properly, and who will not be fooled by the tricks asbestos companies try to play to pay lower amounts than they should. Your lawyer can advise you on whether a settlement offer is worth considering and when it may be better to hold out for a better offer or verdict.