With thousands of people filing mesothelioma lawsuits over the past several decades, asbestos litigation has become one of the most expensive and complicated types of lawsuits in U.S. history. If you were exposed to asbestos and are now sick with mesothelioma cancer, contact a mesothelioma attorney to find out more about your legal options.
Over $30 billion currently sits in trust funds, available for victims of asbestos-related diseases. We invite you to fill out our form today for a free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information about experienced mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
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Reasons to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
A mesothelioma lawsuit is a special type of personal injury case that involves negligent exposure to asbestos that resulted in illness. There are several reasons to consider filing a lawsuit over your exposure:
- Companies responsible for your exposure to asbestos and resulting illness should be held accountable
- Doing so discourages other companies from exposing workers in the future
- A lawsuit may result in compensation for you, the victim
A lawsuit is just one option you have for legal recourse, but it is an important one for seeking justice and recovering damages.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
- You may file a personal injury lawsuit if you are the victim of asbestos exposure. Your suit will be filed against the company or companies negligent in your resulting illness. You may recover damages for medical bills and other illness-associated expenses.
- If you have lost a loved one to an asbestos illness you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible. You can claim compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and non-economic damages such as loss of companionship.
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How Do I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
The first step in filing a lawsuit is to find the right lawyer. Hire a law firm with proven experience helping other victims of asbestos exposure.
A qualified law firm will have the most knowledge and experience and will be able to give you the best guidance. Your lawyer will take you through several steps in the lawsuit process:
1. Gathering Information
Your legal team will begin by investigating and gathering information to make your case. Be prepared to provide them with your:
- Employment history
- Medical history and records
- Medical expenses related to your illness
- Costs related to being ill, such as travel expenses for treatment
- Documentation of asbestos in the workplace, if possible
- Documentation of physical disabilities and activities you can no longer do
2. Pre-Litigation Phase and Filing
With all the necessary information to build a strong case, your lawyer will file the complaint, or lawsuit.
The complaint is sent to the defendants, who then have a period of time, usually 30 days, to file an official response. Failure to respond can result in a judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
3. The Discovery Phase
In most cases, the defendants will respond and deny any negligence. Attorneys on both sides then continue investigating and building a case.
Each side can access information from the other. They may hold interviews, talk to experts, conduct depositions, and investigate medical records. This can take several months.
Many defendants will settle at this point. Settling helps defendants avoid the potentially higher costs of a lawsuit.
Juries are often sympathetic to the victim and tend to award higher amounts than those negotiated in settlements. Compensation amounts vary by individual, but they take into account several factors:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- The length of the illness
- The severity of the illness
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Physical discomfort
- Case costs, including filing fees
Between 80 and 90 percent of personal injury cases end in settlements. With a settlement, you can expect to receive monthly payments rather than a lump sum.
5. Going to Trial
If both sides fail to agree on a settlement your case will go to trial. Each side presents evidence and examines witnesses in front of the jury.
How long the trial takes depends on several factors like witnesses, medical documents, and the complexity of the case.
What You Need to Know Before Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Lawsuits can be complicated, which is why you need the right lawyer on your side.
Before filing, make sure you understand some of the important aspects of these cases and what you can expect.
Lawsuits Take Time, But Settlements are Faster
Many victims are afraid to file lawsuits because they think it will take too long.
Trials can be lengthy, but most of these lawsuits end in shorter settlements. These typically get compensation to victims in about 90 days.
Filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund is another option for compensation if you qualify.
You May Be Able to Get Compensation from a Bankrupt Company
Many victims assume that a bankrupt company can’t provide compensation. Even if the responsible party sold the company, there are usually requirements that require the new company to take responsibility for future lawsuits.
If the company went bankrupt, it likely created an asbestos trust fund to compensate the victims. This should be available to you if you qualify.
Class Action Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are filed by groups of victims. They are uncommon in cases of asbestos exposure.
Manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, and mining companies are examples of defendants in asbestos class action lawsuits. They may have exposed a large group of workers or residents living near a mine, plant, or other workplaces.
Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Lawsuits
The statute of limitations is a law that places a limit on when you can file a lawsuit. These statutes vary by state.
The clock starts running at the time the illness has been or should have been discovered, not from the time of initial asbestos exposure. Similar statutes exist for wrongful death lawsuits. The time limit begins at the time of death.
Important Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Landmarks
Mesothelioma is a rare disease, yet thousands of lawsuits have been filed over it. Clarence Borel, an industrial worker, filed the first case in 1969.
It was the legal turning point for victims of asbestos-related disease by providing a way for victims to get compensation. Borel won his case against the Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation.
- 1963-1965 Risks of Asbestos Exposure Discovered
In the 1960s Dr. Selikoff, a physician in Paterson, New Jersey, treated members of the Asbestos Workers Union. He soon noticed that an unusual number of workers suffered from mesothelioma, a rare disease. He connected the illness to asbestos.
In 1963, Dr. Selikoff published his findings. His research and other studies finally pushed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce workplace safety regulations regarding asbestos.
- 1965 Tort Laws
The American Law Institute of The Restatement of the Law of Torts published section 402A.
“[Any party] who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is liable for the harm caused by that product to the consumer or end user.”
- 1969 to Present: Lawsuits Triple
The amount of mesothelioma cases has more than tripled to over 700,000 after the success of the first asbestos lawsuit and proof that asbestos is linked to life-threatening illnesses.
More than 10,000 companies have been named in asbestos lawsuits.
What’s the Latest in Mesothelioma Litigation?
2019 Mesothelioma Diagnoses and Deaths
- Over 30,000 people across the world received a mesothelioma diagnosis in 2018, according to the Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries.
- New cases of cancer are on the rise. Approximately 18.1 million new cases of cancer, including around 9.6 million cancer deaths are expected to happen by then end in 2018.
- Worldwide mesothelioma cases totaled 30,443, with 25,576 deaths.
Johnson & Johnson Knew About Asbestos
- Reuters reports that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its baby powder was contaminated with asbestos. Victims’ lawyers discovered that the company actively hid this information.
- The investigative report comes on the heels of a successful lawsuit filed against J&J. Numerous plaintiffs diagnosed with asbestos illnesses successfully proved their cases and won compensation.
- In October 2019, despite their protests that their products contained no asbestos, Johnson & Johnson pulled 33,000 baby powder bottles from store shelves, according to a report by The New York Times. The recall happened after the Food and Drug Administration announced it discovered asbestos in one of the bottles.
- In October 2020, the company agreed to pay over $100 million to help resolve more than 1,000 lawsuits over asbestos in baby powder.
- In November 2020, Johnson & Johnson lost its appeal to overturn a $2.12 billion verdict awarded to women in Missouri diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Asbestos Related Litigation on the Rise
- Rates of mesothelioma have been declining, but lawsuits filed over asbestos exposure and cancer continue to rise. The number of asbestos cancer cases filed by victims increased nearly 66% between 2007 and 2017.
- In 2017, there were 2,124 mesothelioma filings, an all time high.
- Women are filing more asbestos cases than ever, with greater increases in lawsuits than for men.
- Much of the increase can be attributed to the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder cases. The number of lawsuits filed over talc products and asbestos increased 11% in 2019.
International Asbestos Facts
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 125 million people around the world experience asbestos exposure on the job.
- Preventing lung diseases caused by exposure to asbestos is part of the WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases through 2020.
- Deaths in the United Kingdom related to asbestos exposure have reached a crisis level at more than 2,500 deaths per year from mesothelioma. This is expected to be the peak of asbestos diseases in the country.
Where Can I Get Legal Assistance with My Lawsuit?
Fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the experienced asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you need additional assistance, feel free to contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.