Most mesothelioma victims who are compensated get it through settlements rather than trials. This is usually the case because a diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer or other asbestos-related diseases usually indicates that there is substantial evidence that supports the plaintiff’s lawsuit.
Since there is no guarantee that defendants will win in a trial, especially with cases involving workplace exposure to asbestos, most are not willing to risk going to trial in front of a jury. Settlements are the typical solution, which leads to quicker compensation for the victims.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
How Much Compensation Can Asbestos Victims Receive?
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this question as settlement amounts differ according to the details of each case. Some settlements can be small to moderate while other settlements can reach millions of dollars.
When determining a settlement amount, a variety of factors are considered. First, medical costs and expenses—past, present, and future—are factored in. Typically the longer and more extensive the treatment, the more compensation a victim will receive.
Common medical expenses for mesothelioma patients include:
- Physical therapy
- Alternative treatments
Other costs factored in to settlement amounts include lost wages and costs of traveling to treatment centers, like gas mileage, hotel fees, and food. It’s important to keep receipts and documentation of all expenditures related to the treatment.
Your employer at the time you were exposed to asbestos also plays a big part in the settlement amount. Some companies willingly allowed employees to continue to be exposed to asbestos even after the mandatory laws prevented any use of asbestos in the workplace. In instances such as these, compensation may be much higher for those victims as opposed to those who were exposed before laws prevented asbestos use on jobsite.
Family members may also be represented into the settlement amount. For example, if your disease has rendered you unable to work and your family depended on your income, your loved ones may be able to receive compensation. Emotional trauma and the loss of companionship could be factored into your settlement as well. In the event of the death of a loved one from an asbestos-related disease, family members and dependents have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, which may bring about a substantial settlement amount.
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Winning a Mesothelioma Settlement
To win a settlement for asbestos exposure and resulting illness, you need an experienced lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer will present the defendant’s legal team with a compensation amount, and they in turn will likely try to negotiate it down to a lower amount. A lawyer with asbestos and mesothelioma trial and settlement experience knows how to negotiate and understands what is fair for the victim. Without good representation you run the risk of getting less than the amount to which you are entitled.
Even if the defendant’s lawyers refuse the higher amount and take the case to trial instead of settling, there is a good chance that it will still end in a settlement. The defendants can decide to settle at any part of the process, and they often will because of the overwhelming evidence that proves the mesothelioma victim is owed substantial compensation.
Once a settlement amount is agreed upon, your claim against the defendant will be dropped and the payment set up. Attorney fees are usually taken out before you receive your money. The amount will depend upon the agreement you made with your attorney before the case started. If you are awarded a large settlement, there is a good chance that you’ll be paid in monthly installments as opposed to receiving the entire sum at once.
Many companies have already faced many lawsuits over asbestos exposure and anticipate facing more. For this reason they may have trust funds set up for compensating victims and awarding settlements. There is over $30 billion in these trust funds, set aside for aiding asbestos victims.
Examples of Mesothelioma Settlements
One of the biggest mesothelioma settlements occurred in 2011 when a Missouri circuit court judge approved a $43 million settlement for over 1,300 miner workers in Libby Montana. The settlement amounts varied significantly, between $500 and $61,000 per person.
In the state of New Jersey, a construction worker’s family received a settlement amount of $2.1 million after he passed away. Also in New Jersey, a U.S. Navy veteran received $460,000 after he developed asbestos-related lung cancer.
In California, a former plastic molder received $18.5 million in 2006, after developing mesothelioma. In 2012, a former Los Angeles contractor’s family received $48 million after the victim developed an asbestos-related disease from doing routine home inspections.
In New York, a boilermaker received $3.7 million after developing asbestos-related lung cancer. In a similar case a maintenance worker in New York received $2 million after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Other Types of Asbestos and Mesothelioma Compensation
In addition to settlements won for victims by their experienced legal teams, there are a few other ways that compensation can be given to those who need and are owed it.
Bankruptcy Trust Funds
Many businesses that were involved with asbestos end up filing for bankruptcy because of the large number of lawsuits brought by mesothelioma victims. In most cases the bankruptcy courts mandate that these companies set up a trust fund specifically for future mesothelioma victims. Anyone who was exposed to asbestos because of the company and who developed a related illness can file a claim with the trust fund to get compensated.
If you served in the military and became ill because of asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation from the Veteran’s Administration (VA). The VA provides disability compensation can be shown that your illness resulted from time spent in service. These disability payments are generally for life. For additional assistance, contact your local VA or discuss your options with your attorney.
Veterans who were victims of asbestos exposure may also seek compensation from the companies that supplied the military with asbestos-containing materials. This can be done by making a claim through a trust fund or by filing a lawsuit that may end in a settlement or go to trial.
Most mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cases do not go to trial. However, in the event that your case does go to trial, your compensation amount will depend on the trial verdict. A jury will be responsible for determining whether you are entitled to the compensation and if so how much.
As with settlements, there is no way to predict what amount of money you’ll receive if your case goes to trial. Trials are also generally longer than settlements, and there are no guarantees for verdict in favor of the plaintiff. Furthermore, the defendants may choose to appeal a verdict, making the process take even longer.
For more information on the differences between trials and settlements, refer to our article Mesothelioma Lawsuits.
Where Can I Get Help with My Compensation?
Keep in mind that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for financial compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional trauma, and much more. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area.