When you or a loved one receives a mesothelioma diagnosis as a result of asbestos exposure, the first thing on your mind will undoubtedly be accessing the proper treatment options and care for the disease. Cancer treatment is expensive. However, because mesothelioma cases have been linked to asbestos exposure in the workplace, it would be beneficial to talk to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to explore legal options. Sometimes, victims and families can receive funds to cover medical expenses and receive additional financial compensation for loss of income and/or pain and suffering. The lawsuit process can be intimidating, especially when family members are suffering or have passed away as a result of their illness. However, because of the time limits known as a statute of limitations put on these types of claims, it is important to explore the possibility of a mesothelioma lawsuit sooner rather than later.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are a few types of mesothelioma lawsuits that you may be eligible for as a result of asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer.
Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuits
The first type of mesothelioma lawsuit is referred to as a personal injury lawsuit. In this scenario, the mesothelioma victim sues the manufacturer of the asbestos products. This type of lawsuit is filed while the mesothelioma victim is still living and suffering from mesothelioma cancer. In personal injury lawsuits, the amount of compensation awarded can be based on the victim’s age, the number of dependents, the total cost of medical treatment, the total amount of lost wages, pain and suffering, the number of defendants to the lawsuit and possibly travel expenses.
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If your loved one succumbed to mesothelioma, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit through their estate representative in order to seek specific damages related to the death of the individual. A wrongful death lawsuit allows the family to receive compensation for outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses of a loved one, lost future income potential, loss of consortium and more.
Class Action Lawsuits
Based on the widespread use of asbestos and the high number of victims of asbestos exposure, there have been class action mesothelioma lawsuits. In a class-action lawsuit, one or more claimants file a lawsuit on behalf of an entire group of people. All of the members of the class have similar injuries, in this case the injuries were caused by asbestosis which led to mesothelioma cancer. Each victim is given the option to remain part of the class or opt-out of participation in the class. If a victim does not participate in a class-action lawsuit, they still retain the right to pursue an individual claim.
In multidistrict litigation, courts utilize a standard legal process that allows them to handle a number of asbestos claims in an efficient manner. Multiple people file claims using a standardized process. In the United States, the primary multidistrict litigation with regard to asbestos products is MDL 875, managed by the Eastern Pennsylvania District of the United States District Court.
Why Should You File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
It is widely-known that mesothelioma cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos. Your personal exposure history is likely related to your work history. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is preventable. If manufacturers of asbestos products shared the dangers of asbestos prior to long-term exposure, many people would not have developed mesothelioma cancer. Finding a qualified mesothelioma law firm can provide mesothelioma patients and their loved ones with peace of mind that they will receive compensation for their illness and that the manufacturer of asbestos products will be held responsible for your illness. These are your legal rights and you should explore your options.
Are You Eligible to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Anyone with a diagnosis of mesothelioma may be eligible for legal compensation. Even if the person is deceased, their family members or estate representative can take their place in a lawsuit. Eligible victims should remember that there is a finite amount of time available in which to file a lawsuit.
How to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
While every case is distinct, there is a general framework that is followed in each case by a legal team. Mesothelioma attorneys can guide you through each step in the process.
- Free consultation with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer
During your initial consultation, details are typically obtained about your asbestos exposure. As part of this investigation, typically work history, medical records and more will be important.
- Obtain details
After you or your loved one decides to pursue a mesothelioma claim, the legal team will begin to research. At this point, documentation related to your asbestos exposure is crucial, medical expenses, medical records, medical bills, work history, and more. This step often takes a good amount of time.
- Determine options
The legal team will explore options available to you or your loved one prior to filing a lawsuit on your behalf. You may be eligible to receive compensation from an asbestos trust fund. These are trusts established by various asbestos companies that have filed for bankruptcy. These asbestos bankruptcy trusts are used to pay personal injury claims that were caused by asbestos exposure. There are many of these trusts that have recorded payouts in billions of dollars to mesothelioma victims.
- File a lawsuit
After determining whether you are eligible for a monetary payout from an asbestos bankruptcy trust, the legal team can explore which venue is most appropriate for your legal claim. This could be based on the state in which you live, work, served in the military, or received asbestos exposure. A good asbestos attorney is familiar with asbestos lawsuits filed in multiple venues and will be able to make a recommendation on the most appropriate venue for your asbestos case.
- Begin discovery phase
After filing an initial complaint, the discovery phase of litigation will begin. During this step, both sides of the lawsuit are given the opportunity to present information in support of their arguments and file motions with the court. It is during this phase that most mesothelioma lawsuits reach a settlement. It is rare that mesothelioma lawsuits go to trial.
How Long Will My Claim Take?
There are many factors that determine how long it will take for your asbestos litigation. It can depend on whether your case goes to trial or the lawyers on each side reach a settlement providing a payout for your injuries. Settlements can happen in a shorter amount of time than trials. There are benefits to both however most mesothelioma cases take between 1 and 3 years.
How Much Money Will I Receive?
Most asbestos claims are taken on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you typically do not pay anything for your legal claim upfront. In contingency fee arrangements, the legal team typically does not receive payment unless you receive mesothelioma compensation. The average mesothelioma settlement is reported to be between $1 and $1.4 million with jury verdicts averaging around $2.4 million.