If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may want to consider asbestos exposure lawsuits. Thousands of American men, women, and children have joined asbestos class-action lawsuits in an effort to obtain compensation for the significant losses caused by asbestos exposure. Their asbestos claims are often heartbreaking, detailing the severe diseases that result from toxic asbestos exposure, including:
- Lung cancer
- Mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the protective lining of the lungs, stomach, or heart
- Asbestosis, which is a severe and debilitating respiratory condition
What makes these cases more frustrating and tragic is that many corporations knew of the dangers that asbestos posed. Yet, in the name of profits and convenience, they often chose to exposure their workers and families to asbestos dangers. Fortunately, there often is a long paper trail in decades-old company documents that clearly illustrates that some of these companies were negligent in exposing their workers to known health dangers.
Causes of Asbestos Lawsuits
In many cases, asbestos lawsuits arise from circumstances such as employment where workers were subjected to high levels of asbestos exposure on a near-daily basis for weeks, months, or years at a time. In other cases, asbestos removal due to the renovation or demolition of a home, school, or other public building may be the basis for an asbestos exposure lawsuit.
Asbestos can also “come home” on the work clothes, shoes, or hair of someone who works with or near asbestos products. Many spouses and children of asbestos workers have incurred significant, damaging asbestos exposure in this manner.
Asbestos Law Firms Help You with Asbestos Lawsuits
Asbestos law firms and individual asbestos lawyers focus their legal practice on helping the victims of this toxic substance. They strive to obtain an asbestos settlement or class-action award that fairly compensates the injured for damages such as:
- Medical bills, including long-term care: Most mesothelioma victims are dealing with massive legal bills. These bills can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, even after insurance coverage. Sometimes policy limits run out and the victim has no options to pay for treatment. The worker also may no longer be able to earn a living.
- Loss of income from employment: Some mesothelioma victims still earn a weekly paycheck, and mesothelioma or asbestosis often prevents them from working. A lawsuit or settlement can include compensation for lost wages.
- Emotional suffering: The mental and physical pain of mesothelioma is extreme. It is one of the most painful cancers as it involves the very delicate tissues that surround the lungs and other organs. Many victims struggle for every breath and are suffering mentally and physically. You can be compensated for all of this suffering.
- Physical disability: Most victims of mesothelioma are physically disabled, and they can be compensated for this inability to work and to enjoy life.
- Loss of a loved one: If your spouse, partner or direct relative was a victim of mesothelioma, you can be compensated for this devastating loss.
- Punitive damages: If a company or companies acted in a particularly reckless manner in exposing you to asbestos, punitive damages can be awarded to punish the company. However, know that many states today limit the size of punitive damage awards. If the jury awards an amount beyond the current limit, the judge may be required by state law to reduce the award to the state maximum. Punitive damages also may come into play when it is proven in court that a company knew of asbestos dangers but did nothing to shield workers from those dangers.
To determine whether you qualify for medical or financial compensation, contact an attorney as soon as possible following your diagnosis. Because mesothelioma lawsuits are complicated cases, they should only be handled by an experienced and qualified asbestos lawyer. It is important to note that these types of claims are time-sensitive and must be filed within a certain time frame.
After the statute of limitations has expired, a victim or their family can no longer start an asbestos lawsuit to obtain financial compensation. Each state has its own guidelines for filing mesothelioma lawsuits, which is why you’ll want to obtain a lawyer as quickly as possible. A qualified attorney will make sure you file within the statute of limitations according to the state in which you were diagnosed.
What to Expect
When you contact a mesothelioma lawyer regarding an asbestos lawsuit, expect to answer some questions that will determine whether you qualify to file a claim. Questions an attorney might ask before filing a mesothelioma lawsuit include:
- When were you diagnosed with mesothelioma?
- Who was your doctor?
- Did you work with asbestos?
- If you worked with asbestos, what was your occupation? Who was your employer? And how long were you employed by the company?
- Did your employer provide you with any safety gear to protect you from the asbestos?
- Are you currently working or are you retired?
- Did you ever serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard?
- If you served in the military, how long did you serve?
- What are your current symptoms?
- How is your health now?
During the course of your asbestos cancer lawsuit, it is important to continue treatment. If your health is in poor condition, your attorney will work fast to expedite your case. Because of the volume and complexity of these cases, a mesothelioma lawsuit can take months or longer to process.
Mesothelioma lawsuit settlements are not always satisfactory or guaranteed. For that reason, there are several options that you can consider upon receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. Your attorney will discuss all of your legal options with you. In some cases, a lawsuit may not be the most appropriate legal action for you to take.
For example, billions of dollars have been set aside in bankruptcy trusts for mesothelioma patients, and you may qualify for compensation. Only a qualified attorney who understands the laws governing asbestos litigation will be able to help you make the best decision as to what type of legal action you should take.
If your lawyer determines that you have a solid claim and you decide to pursue a lawsuit, they will explain all of the steps to you in detail and will act as your advocate throughout the process.
In the end, it is up to you the plaintiff to decide if you want to take or reject a settlement claim. Your attorney is a good resource to rely on, given his or her years of experience in the field. They also have access to past settlements and verdicts in the same area of the US for mesothelioma cases. This extra information is very important to help you make this life altering decision. But the ultimate decision is your alone.
If you decide to go to trial, the step to file an asbestos cancer lawsuit include preparing for the claim, filing, obtaining responses from the defendant corporations, discovery, settlement, trial, and appeal. Your attorney will guide you through each step and will be available to answer all of your questions regarding your asbestos lawsuit along the way.
It is also important to note that our mesothelioma lawyers work on contingency. This means you have nothing to lose, as they do not collect payment unless you recover compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may qualify for millions of dollars to cover your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and future financial support.
Details About Verdicts and Settlements
Every mesothelioma settlement was a lawsuit originally. Historically, we know that most lawsuits end in settlement instead of a trial. Companies often prefer to negotiate a settlement early on, or even later, in a lawsuit. There are several reasons for this.
First, many companies may choose to avoid the negative publicity that accompanies a personal injury lawsuit. The publicity from a mesothelioma lawsuit can be even more of a burden. Many Americans get angry that a large corporation allegedly harmed a former worker and/or his family by exposure to asbestos. This can present the company in a negative light that can harm future business.
Some of the companies that formerly worked in asbestos-related businesses may have long since been acquired by a much larger, well known corporation. Those entities may choose to go to settlement to avoid damage to their corporate reputation.
Second, juries are notoriously unpredictable, especially when the case involves a big company vs. an injured worker. There are examples of juries handing out tens of millions of dollars in damages and punitive damages. Instead of taking a risk at a potentially devastating verdict, some companies may decide to settle.
The settlement amount often will be less than the potential jury verdict. Thus, those who have been affected by asbestos exposure should keep in mind that they may be able to settle with the company that allegedly exposed them to the cancer-causing substance.
Getting a case settled can be vitally important to the health and well being of the worker and/or his loved ones. Mesothelioma cancer is both painful and very expensive to treat. Many families lack the financial resources to shoulder the massive medical bills. A mesothelioma settlement can be an effective way for the family and the worker to get the funds they need for treatment and financial survival.
As far as how much compensation you may win, this is very heavily related to how strong your case is, the company or companies involved, their ultimate degree of culpability for your injuries, and the extent of your illness and pain and suffering.
Current statistics state that the average trial award for a mesothelioma cancer case is $2.4 million. The average settlement for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma cases is from $1 million to $1.4 million. It is important to know however that every mesothelioma case is different.
Mesothelioma Settlement and Verdict Examples
No mesothelioma case is the same, but below are some recent examples of case results around the country. Keep in mind that each state has different laws regarding mesothelioma cases. Also, different judges and districts approach these cases very differently.
A circuit court judge approved a settlement of $10 million to a Jackson County, Missouri employee who was exposed to deadly asbestos during a government renovation project in Kansas City. The company that did the rehab work was US Engineering Company.
A few years after this asbestos cancer verdict, her former co-workers also filed a class action lawsuit, naming Jackson County and the engineering firm as the defendants. That case netted a huge $80 million settlement.
A jury in Virginia gave a $6.5 million verdict to a former Navy shipyard worker in 2016. The jury found that John Crane, Inc. was negligent in exposing the worker to asbestos. He worked daily with various gasket materials for years during his decades of work at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
The size of any potential settlement or verdict will depend upon your state’s laws and the specific details of your case.
Find Out if You Qualify for a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
To find out if you qualify to file a claim, please contact mesothelioma centers today for a private consultation at no cost to you. Experienced asbestos attorneys will represent individuals who are diagnosed with mesothelioma as well as the surviving family members of those who have died from the cancer. If you have questions regarding asbestos exposure lawsuits or to schedule a consultation with an attorney, please contact us today.
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