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Understanding the Crucial Elements of Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits

The US is no stranger to asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits. In fact, it’s one mass litigation with a long run in the United States, and it could go on for a while. 

Persons who developed mesothelioma have received settlements worth billions of dollars. This compensation also includes trusts from entities accused of exposing staff or consumers to asbestos.

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Understanding the Crucial Elements of Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits

The US is no stranger to asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits. In fact, it’s one mass litigation with a long run in the United States, and it could go on for a while. 

Persons who developed mesothelioma have received settlements worth billions of dollars. This compensation also includes trusts from entities accused of exposing staff or consumers to asbestos.

In recent years, companies have exposed numerous employees to harmful asbestos. 

The result?

Development of mesothelioma or worse —  death. 

Thus, it’s no surprise that aggrieved patients are filing asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits accusing their employers of not warning them of the possible risks. 

Many of these cases receive settlements of around $1 million and $1.4 million. Claims that head to trial get an average compensation of $2.4 million after a favorable verdict. 

If a plaintiff dies before the verdict, the compensation goes to their family.

If you or a relative gets diagnosed with mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, you’re eligible for settlement that tallies your losses. Read on for accurate asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuit information.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits in the United States

Mesothelioma lawsuits date back to 1973 when Clarence Borel, a shipyard worker, sued Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation and 11 other companies that made asbestos. 

He won this lawsuit marking the first mesothelioma jury verdict win. Unfortunately, he died before the verdict, but the jury awarded his widow the $79,436 compensation.

This win stirred up a wave of successful asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits across the country. As a result, Mesothelioma claims rose above 20,000 by the early 1980s. Victims were majorly military veterans, factory workers, electricians, construction workers, and other professionals involved with asbestos products.

Companies embroiled in these lawsuits often decide to settle their victims. Settlements usually hovers around $1 million and $1.4 million. In some scenarios, these cases go for a jury trial. Successful jury verdicts usually attract an average of $2.4 million.

However, there are reports of cases exceeding these averages. 

In May 2018, a Californian jury awarded a freelance construction worker $6.8 million after a mesothelioma diagnosis. 

Also, in September 2018, a man claiming that talc contaminated with asbestos in Johnson’s baby powder brought about his mesothelioma got a $37 million verdict from a jury. 

Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure is a significant risk that occurs in numerous ways. Complaints of asbestos exposure can come as primary or secondary exposure.

Primary exposure involves making contact with asbestos on the work front. Previously, many asbestos exposure complaints were from primary exposure. Men were primary complainants of this particular exposure because they formed the bulk of the workforce in such industries back then.

Just recently, complaints from secondary exposure witnessed a steady increase. 

About 22% of 2016 cases are reports of secondary exposure, with women making up 90% of the plaintiffs. Secondary asbestos exposure involves family members breathing it in from the clothes, hair or skin of individuals who work with asbestos. 

Employees in paints, talcum powder and ceramics factories are most likely to come in contact with asbestos. 

Interestingly, exposure through talcum powder is also possible in people who use talcum powder. 

A stand out case was the jury verdict of $117 million in April 2018, awarded to a banker diagnosed with mesothelioma after using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.

Companies Embroiled in Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Manufacturers steeped in asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits usually revolve around paint, ceramic and talcum powder industries. The list also spreads out to producers of asbestos-containing products.

These industries have witnessed countless lawsuits. In 2002 alone, nearly 73,000 people filed lawsuits against over 8400 manufacturers. 

Note that there could be more than one defendant in a distinct case. This situation is possible if an individual has worked for firms where they were inadvertently exposed to asbestos.

Since mesothelioma cases became a thing, there have been numerous manufacturers involved. 

Here are a few notable mentions:

  • Celotex Corp
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Colgate Palmolive
  • Raybestos-Manhattan Co
  • W.R. Grace & Co
  • National Gypsum Corporation
  • Owens Corning/Fibreboard Corp

Compensation Range for Asbestos Exposure

Monetary settlement from asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits comes in two forms. 

It could either be a settlement or a jury verdict. 

Compensations don’t take long to get, but they’re often lesser compared to a jury verdict. Most settlements fall between $1 million and $1.4 million. Since each case is unique, values might differ. 

On the other hand, plaintiffs may want their lawyers to wait and present the case to a trial jury. Although this procedure can take some years, the compensation is usually higher than that from settlements. 

Jury verdicts have an average of $2.4 million, although it could go higher or lower than this.

Factors Affecting the Compensation Amount

People filing an asbestos and mesothelioma case often receive varying amounts of compensation. 

The value isn’t fixed, and some critical situations on the ground dictate the amount paid as compensation. 

Significant factors affecting the amount include:

Financial State of the Defendant

Most manufacturing companies facing asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits have either closed down or are on the brink of bankruptcy. As a result, they may be unable to successfully pay compensation in their state.

To curb this and ensure plaintiffs get the compensation due to them, the court requires that a large sum be kept aside to settle future victims. In certain instances, there are enough funds to fully compensate victims. 

Nevertheless, there are scenarios where existing funds are depleted from compensating plaintiffs. 

Situations like this require that the fund be rationed so it can go round. If this happens plaintiffs will receive a lesser compensation. 

Degree of Impact of Asbestos Exposure on Plaintiff’s Health

Asbestos exposure impacts victims in varying degrees.  

Therefore, the amount each individual receives is put together after considering the following:

  • Portion of wages lost due to illness
  • Medical cost
  • Extent of plaintiff’s pain due to mesothelioma

Time

Time plays out regarding how long it takes to resolve each lawsuit. 

Mesothelioma lawsuit timelines depend on employing either a settlement or jury trial to resolve the case.

Generally, settlements could take about a year, but the compensation is lesser. Preparing and executing a jury trial often takes much time. It could be active for years, and the plaintiff may be dead before the verdict comes. 

However, the compensation is much higher. 

Additionally, in the event of the plaintiff’s demise, the compensation goes to their family.

Courts in many US states fast-track these lawsuits to ensure the verdict is out sooner than later due to the short life expectancy of mesothelioma patients.

Asbestos Trust Fund Claims

During the early years of asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, many manufacturers filed for bankruptcy. 

Numerous firms set up a trust from which their victims get compensation. 

For instance, in 1982, the Johns-Manville Corporation filed for bankruptcy and began establishing a trust. The trust was officially set up in 1988 and will go down as the first trust ever.

Afterwards, almost all asbestos manufacturers filed for bankruptcy and formed a trust. These companies paid as much as $37 million into such trusts.

Therefore, lawyers don’t sue the companies directly. Instead, they file asbestos trust fund claims. By doing so, they’re able to get compensation for their clients. Over $18 million have been paid to plaintiffs from the set-up trusts. 

Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits allow victims who worked with or around asbestos the chance to receive damages from the responsible companies. 

It doesn’t matter if such companies have closed down or gone bankrupt. Provision is made through insurance companies or trust funds to guarantee that every victim receives due compensation.

Victims need vital asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuit information to successfully file this claim. 

Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits have two forms: personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Each type can be filed by either the patient or their relatives. 

Besides these two arms, asbestos and mesothelioma cases can be a class action or multidistrict litigation.

Notably, the approach choice rests on who is filing the lawsuit and the damages they’re going after.

Here are notable mesothelioma lawsuits to note:

Personal Injury Lawsuit

Asbestos exposure victims can file this lawsuit format after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. 

The defendants are the entities liable for the exposure and the resultant diagnosis. Most times, compensation from this lawsuit caters to the following:

  • Treatment cost
  • Expenses on transportation
  • Wages spent on the diagnosis and illness management
  • Pain and suffering of client due to the disease condition

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family or loved ones of the deceased file this type of lawsuit against the manufacturer responsible for the victim’s asbestos exposure. 

The aim is to claim damages related to the loss of their loved ones. 

These damages include:

  • Outstanding medical bills
  • Loss of income potential
  • Expenses from the funeral

Class Action Lawsuit

Class action cases don’t take the individual approach. Instead, one or more of the plaintiffs initiate legal action on behalf of other victims. 

These victims must have an asbestos-related illness in common. 

Typically involving up to a thousand individuals, class action lawsuits can be handled as distinctive cases or multidistrict litigation.

During the lawsuit, a plaintiff can pull out at any time. Nevertheless, this won’t preclude such a plaintiff from filing an individual lawsuit sometime in the future.

Multidistrict Litigation 

In multidistrict litigation, many victims can file individual lawsuits. These lawsuits must follow a specific process that standardizes related complaints. By this, the court can handle many similar cases at a time.

Reasons for Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Filing an asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuit is entirely up to the victim involved. 

There are different reasons for taking such legal action. 

However, the following standout:

  • Receiving compensation to offset financial hardship brought on by a mesothelioma diagnosis.
  • Hold asbestos companies answerable for negligence.
  • Set a tradition in motion that ensures future victims receive their deserved compensation.

Requirements for Mesothelioma Lawsuits and the Statute of Limitations

  1. Specific criteria must be met for any victim with a claim of mesothelioma diagnosis to qualify for filing a lawsuit. Fulfilling these demands guarantee fairness for both parties involved. 

    To be eligible, the victim must certify the following:

    • Medical document showing mesothelioma diagnosis.
    • File the claim within the stipulated statute of limitation.
    • Get a hold of compelling evidence against the defendant showing proof of asbestos exposure.

    The statute of limitation expresses the time limit within which a victim or their loved ones must file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Each state has its own time limit, which comes after a mesothelioma diagnosis or the death of a loved one.

    Although mesothelioma takes about 10 to 50 years to diagnose, the statute of limitation in most states spans one to four years. 

    Within this timeframe, the plaintiff must file the lawsuit. If they don’t, they won’t be able to file a claim.

    The lawsuit’s filing location depends on the state of residence of the plaintiff or defendant. It can equally be where the exposure occurred. 

    Whatever the case, have a professional mesothelioma lawyer walk you through the process. 

Steps to Filing an Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit involves a systemic path and the gathering of some essential documents. 

It goes without saying that hiring a seasoned lawyer is crucial to the case’s success. 

With asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuit information at their disposal, a lawyer will assist in the right way to secure the much-needed win and get you your due compensation.

A mesothelioma lawsuit involves the following steps:

Getting a Free Consultation

Most mesothelioma law firms grant free consultations to their clients. The purpose is to allow them to talk about the process, ask questions and air concerns.

This process also gives your lawyer an opportunity to understand your journey and medical history. It is also a time for them to ask questions. 

Possible questions lawyers could ask include:

  • Have you had a mesothelioma diagnosis?
  • When was your diagnosis?
  • When did your exposure to asbestos happen?
  • Where do you believe the exposure occurred?
  • Did you get exposed to asbestos-contaminated talcum powder?
  • How are you being managed for mesothelioma?

Answers to these questions will serve as a guide and backbone to filing your lawsuit and arguing your case.

Extensive Research of Lawsuit Details

At this point, your lawyer starts collecting information and assembling documents that will enable them to build an air-tight case for you. 

These documents include:

  • Medical records from diagnostic and treatment facilities you used to prove your diagnosis and verify your treatment cost.
  • Employment history from every job you have done that exposed you to asbestos.
  • Witness statements from colleagues, family members, friends, or industry specialists that can corroborate your claim.

Before filing the lawsuit, choosing a venue for the case is necessary. 

The location, a state where your case will be handled, should be selected after careful consideration of these factors: 

  • Prevailing statute of limitation
  • History of settlement and verdict in the state
  • Prevailing local and state laws

NOTE: A venue can be a state where you have lived, worked or served in the military. Open forum states can serve when no other suitable venue is available.

Investigate Compensation Possibilities

Asbestos and Mesothelioma lawsuit lawyers have the responsibility of determining the possible and best compensation plan for their clients. 

Compensations can come as a jury verdict, asbestos trust fund, settlement or veterans’ claims.

Your legal team will also provide guidance on the best approach to securing compensation. 

They can simultaneously file a lawsuit and pursue trust claims. In all, experience matters for a positive result.

Filing the Lawsuit

After your attorney is done with gathering information, venue selection and investigating compensation plans, they’re ready to file the lawsuit. 

This lawsuit details every legal cause of action against your defendants. 

Start the Discovery Phase

Discovery involves your attorney and the defendant’s lawyers presenting information to bolster their side of the case. 

The goal here is to file motions in the hope of reaching a settlement before the case goes to trial.

Attain a Resolution

Resolution comes in the form of a settlement or verdict if the case goes to trial. If a settlement is agreed on, your lawyer will have to negotiate appropriately to get you a good deal. 

The average settlement is around $1 million and $1.4 million.

Nonetheless, should the case go to trial, your lawyer will be there to guide you through the process. Their job is to pull every resource at their disposal to get a verdict in your favour. 

Verdicts come with an average amount of $2.4 million. 

Duration of an Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuit

It’s not uncommon for clients to want to know how long the lawsuit will take. The suit runs for several months or years on a case-by-case basis. Cases that don’t go to trial take a shorter time.

Different factors impact the duration of mesothelioma lawsuits, and it could be one or more of the following:

  • Amount of plaintiffs involved.
  • Number and type of pretrial motions filed.
  • Caseload of the venue at the time of filing.
  • Number of defendants involved in the lawsuit.
  • Availability of all involved parties.
  • Type of lawsuit.
  • Number of mesothelioma depositions.

Possible Defendant Tactics to Discredit Your Case

It’s important to note most defendants won’t go without a fight. Most firms won’t like to part with their money even in the face of an obvious wrong done to a victim. 

Thus, the defendant’s legal team will devise specific arguments to discredit your case. 

They could explore either one or both of the following:

Presenting Counterclaims

To counter your lawsuit, the defendant might make counterclaims before or during the trial. 

Such counterclaims are aimed at blaming other factors for your mesothelioma diagnosis. 

They could try to pin it on the following:

  • A genetic disposition to mesothelioma and other cancers.
  • Unhealthy lifestyles such as excessive drinking, smoking and substance abuse.
  • Asbestos exposure occurring outside their company.

These counterclaims can go as far as challenging your diagnosis and discrediting the medical practitioner who gave the diagnosis. 

As frightening as they seem, you have nothing to worry about with an expert lawyer in your corner.

Challenging the Lawsuit Procedure

Another way to challenge how you filed your asbestos and mesothelioma case involves the defendant making claims revolving around:

  • Expiration of statute of limitation
  • Problems with the venue
  • Authorization to file a lawsuit for someone lost to mesothelioma

How to Pay Your Lawyer

Paying a lawyer may discourage the uninformed from pursuing legal action against firms who exposed them to asbestos. 

However, that shouldn’t stop you from getting justice for yourself and your loved ones. 

Why?

Payment for mesothelioma lawsuits is dealt with by a contingency fee arrangement.

A contingency fee contract implies that payment won’t be made upfront. 

Instead, your attorney receives a percentage of your settlement or jury verdict, including other costs such as copying, postage, etc, which you agreed to pay for.

The percentage usually revolves around 25 to 40% of what you recovered. 

However, the exact amount depends on the following:

  • Settlement of the case out of court or at a jury trial.
  • If the victim’s trust fund places a limitation on contingency fees.
  • If the lawyer shows tremendous interest in taking the case to court, which gives you a bargaining advantage.
  • Your bargaining prowess before signing the fee agreement.

FAQs

If I Don’t Know How I Was Exposed to Asbestos, How Do I Pick a Defendant?

Don’t fret. Your legal team will thoroughly review your personal and work history to sift out possible instances of exposure. Even if the exposure happened at home or elsewhere, it’s possible to find supporting evidence.

Is It Too Late to Get My Settlement If the Company That Exposed Me Has Either Closed Down or Been Sold?

It’s possible to file claims against companies that have shut down operations. 

These organizations are mandated to create a trust for compensating current and future victims. 

If a company has been bought by another, it’s possible to sue the parent company.

Is There a Need to Travel When I File the Lawsuit? 

There may be no need for that. Your lawyers can come to you for interviews, conduct the necessary research, and appear in court in your stead.

Final Words

Asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits have been going on for years now. Their goal is to get compensation for victims exposed to asbestos leading to a mesothelioma diagnosis. This compensation can come as a monetary settlement or a jury’s verdict, depending on if the case goes to court.

Asbestos exposure victims need experienced lawyers to hold their hands through the process and negotiate a worthwhile compensation. 

Lawyers are responsible for consultation, researching and gathering critical information, filing the lawsuit and reaching a resolution. 

They also have to foil whatever stunt the defendant’s side may try to pull to diminish the case.

Thus, plaintiffs must be thorough and intentional about choosing a legal team to win. 

What’s more? 

You won’t have to pay upfront.

See If You Can File

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