With thousands of people filing mesothelioma lawsuits over the past few decades, asbestos litigation has become one of the most expensive and complicated types of lawsuits in the history of United States court cases.
Most of this litigation is brought by people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos, most often on the job. Exposure either occurred without the worker’s knowledge or without warnings about the health risks of asbestos exposure and appropriate safety training and gear.
Over $30 billion is currently available in trust funds 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 top 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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Steps to Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
A mesothelioma lawsuit is a personal injury case against a defendant responsible for an individual’s asbestos exposure and resulting illness. This is a civil lawsuit that aims to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligent actions in exposing workers to asbestos. By holding the responsible party accountable, a plaintiff may be entitled to substantial compensation through punitive and compensatory damages.
The first and most important thing you can do in filing a lawsuit to seek justice for your asbestos exposure is to find and hire an experienced attorney or law firm. You need a team that specializes in asbestos and mesothelioma cases and that has won cases for victims in the past. They will guide you through the rest of the steps, helping you make important decisions and taking a big burden off your shoulders.
To do their best job, your legal team will need your help in gathering the information to make your case:
- Employment history
- Medical history and records
- Any medical expenses related to your illness
- Any additional costs related to being ill, such as travel expenses for treatment
- Documentation of asbestos in the workplace
- Documentation of physical disabilities and activities you can no longer do
Your lawyer will first try to negotiate and settle with the defendants. If a settlement can’t be reached during, your attorney will then file a complaint, which contains all the basic information about your claim, your illness, asbestos exposure, and the defendants involved.
The defendants receive notification that you have filed a lawsuit and a copy of the complaint. They have a certain amount of time to file a response, usually 30 days. If they fail to respond, the court may enter a judgement against them, which results in a default decision in your favor.
The Discovery Phase
After defendants respond to the complaint, the next step occurs during which attorneys on both sides investigate and find more information either to prove your case or defend against it. Each side also has access to information from the other and can hold interviews, conduct depositions, and investigate medical records. The discovery phase can take several months and is often the longest part of the process.
At this point many defendants are willing to settle. In that case a trial will be waived. Settlement amounts vary by individual, but they take into account several factors:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- The length of time you’ve been ill
- 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 and don’t go to trial. If you win a settlement, expect to receive your payments on a monthly basis rather than in a lump sum.
Trial in Court
If neither side can agree on a settlement amount, your case will go to trial. Depending on the laws in your state, you may or may not have to appear in person. Once the trial starts, both sides will have the opportunity to present evidence, examine witnesses, and present information to the jury.
How long the trial takes depends on witnesses, medical documents, and how complicated your case is. Once the jury has rendered a verdict, the trial phase is over. If you win your case, you’ll be told the exact amount of damages owed to you from the defendant, as decided upon by the jury.
You can expect to start receiving payments within a few months if you win your case, although disbursement times vary by state. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the defendant does have the legal right to appeal the court’s decision, which may delay your payments. Again, your attorney will be able to explain the appeals process and how it applies to your particular case.
Common Misconceptions about Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Many victims hesitate to file lawsuits because they think it will take too long to get compensation. While it can be a lengthy process to win in a trial, most mesothelioma lawsuits end in settlements, and these can provide compensation in about 90 days. Filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund is another option for a quicker compensation process if you qualify.
Another myth about seeking compensation for asbestos exposure is that you can’t get money from a company that went bankrupt or no longer exists. Even if the responsible party sold the company, there are normally stipulations in which the new company must take responsibility pending or future lawsuits. If the party went bankrupt, there is a good chance they have set up an asbestos trust fund to compensate the victims who file against them.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are two main types of mesothelioma-related lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death. The former is the lawsuit you file on your own behalf or for someone who is still living but too sick to do it. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on behalf of someone who has died from their asbestos-related illness.
Although wrongful death is similar to a personal injury claim in that it involves asbestos-related illnesses, there are different types of compensation involved. For instance, you may claim funeral expenses, loss of consortium, loss of financial care to dependents, and emotional suffering due to losing a loved one.
Class Action Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are filed by groups of victims. These are not common in cases of asbestos exposure. A common scenario for a class action suit is when there was a company that knowingly exposed a large number of people to asbestos without warning them of the risks.
Manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, and mining companies are examples of defendants in asbestos class action lawsuits. They may have exposed a group of workers or residents living nearby a mine, plant, or other workplace.
Statute of Limitations
Mesothelioma lawsuits are governed by statutes of limitations. These dictate when it is too late to file, and they vary by state. The limit is typically set from the time that that the illness is reasonably discovered not from the time of initial asbestos exposure because mesothelioma is often not diagnosed for decades. There are also similar limits on wrongful death lawsuits. The clock begins running at the time of death.
Important Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Asbestos Landmarks
Mesothelioma is a relatively rare disease, but there have already been thousands of lawsuits over this type of cancer because almost every case is a result of negligence. The first was filed in 1969 by industrial worker Clarence Borel. It was the legal turning point for victims of asbestos-related disease, as it gave victims a way to be compensated from their injuries. Borel won his case against the Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation.
1963-1965 Risks of Asbestos Exposure Discovered
A major landmark for future lawsuits occurred in the early 1960s when doctors conclusively proved that asbestos exposure causes serious illnesses. Dr. Selikoff, a physician in Paterson, New Jersey, treatedd members of the Asbestos Workers Union in the early 1960s. He soon noticed that an unusual number of workers were suffering from mesothelioma, a rare disease.
In 1963, Dr. Selikoff published his findings on the link between mesothelioma and asbestos in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Additional findings finally prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce workplace safety regulations in regards to asbestos for the first time.
1965 Tort Laws
In 1965, the The American Law Institute of The Restatement of the Law of Torts published section 402A, which states that 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.”
The law doesn’t include harm that comes after people have been warned of the dangers of a product. But when courts made the decision that asbestos manufacturers had the obligation to inform people of the dangers of their product, the number of lawsuits increased.
1969 to Present: Lawsuits Triple
After the success of the first asbestos lawsuit and the medical findings that confirmed asbestos is linked to life-threatening illnesses, the amount of mesothelioma cases has more than tripled to over 700,000. Currently, more than 10,000 companies have been named in asbestos lawsuits, and this is expected to continue growing.
Latest Mesothelioma Lawsuit News
2018 Mesothelioma Diagnoses and Deaths
Over 30,000 people across the world were diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018. This is according to the Global cancer statistics 2018: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries.
According to the study, new types of cancer in general are on the rise. Around 18.1 million new cases of cancer, including around 9.6 million cancer deaths are expected to happen by then end in 2018.
““It’s going to happen in every country in the world,” Dr. Bray, the leader of the study, said. “We need to invest in cancer prevention now. Even then, it takes 20-30 years to take effect.”
Between both men and women, worldwide mesothelioma cases totaled 30,443 cases, with 25,576 deaths.
Johnson & Johnson Knew About Asbestos
Reuters reports that giant conglomerate corporation Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos. The company took measures to hide this information from consumers.
The investigative report comes on the heels of successful lawsuit filed against J&J in a which numerous plaintiffs diagnosed with asbestos illnesses successfully proved their cases.
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 leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you need additional assistance, feel free to contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.