Page Updated: April 11, 2019

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

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 the history of United States court cases.

People diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases filed the majority of these cases. Most of these cases are based on workplace exposure. It 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 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 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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Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

A mesothelioma lawsuit is a special type of personal injury suit. The plaintiff files against a defendant they believe to be responsible for an negligent in their exposure to asbestos and resulting illness. The lawsuit is intended to hold the defendants accountable, to discourage other companies from exposing workers in the future, and to seek compensation for the victim.

The first and most important thing you can do in filing this type of lawsuit is to find and hire an experienced attorney. You need a lawyer or law firm 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.

Gathering Information

One of the first things your legal team will do is gather information to prove your case. Be prepared to provide them with everything you have, including:

  • 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.
  • Documentation of physical disabilities and activities you can no longer do.

Pre-Litigation Phase

With enough information to make your case, the next step is to try to negotiate a settlement with the defendants. If both sides cannot agree to reach a monetary amount in a settlement, your attorney will then file a complaint. It contains all the basic information about your claim, your illness, asbestos exposure, and the identities of the defendants.

The defendants in the case will get notification that you filed a lawsuit. They also receive a copy of the complaint and have a certain amount of time, likely 30 days, to file an official response. Failure to respond can result in a judgement in favor of the plaintiff.

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The Discovery Phase

After defendants respond to the complaint, attorneys on both sides continue investigating. 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.

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At this point many defendants are willing to settle. It is generally the best option for them to 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 the illness
  • 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. If you win a settlement, expect to receive monthly payments rather than a lump sum.

Going to Trial

If both sides cannot agree on a settlement, your case will go to trial. Both sides will have the opportunity to present evidence and examine 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.

If you win your case, expect to start receiving payments within a few months. 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 are afraid to file lawsuits because they think it will take too long. Trials can be lengthy, but most of these lawsuits end in settlements, not trials. Settlements 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 that no longer exists. 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, they likely first set up an asbestos trust fund to compensate the victims who file against them. This should be available to victims to file claims.

Lawsuit Document

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

There are two main types of mesothelioma-related lawsuits: A personal injury case is the lawsuit you file on your own behalf. A wrongful death lawsuit is filed on behalf of someone who has died from their asbestos-related illness.

A wrongful death case is similar to a personal injury lawsuit. In this kind of case you can claim for funeral expenses, support for dependents, and for non-tangible things like loss of consortium and emotional suffering.

Class Action Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits are filed by large groups of victims. These are not common 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 workplace.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations sets a time limit on when you can file a lawsuit. The statute varies 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, and the time limit begins 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 it because negligence is usually involved. 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. Borel won his case against the Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation.

1963-1965 Risks of Asbestos Exposure Discovered

In the early 1960s doctors conclusively proved that asbestos exposure causes serious illnesses. Dr. Selikoff, a physician in Paterson, New Jersey, treated members of the Asbestos Workers Union in the early 1960s. He soon noticed that an unusual number of workers suffered from mesothelioma, a rare disease.

In 1963, Dr. Selikoff published his findings. This along with other research finally pushed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce workplace safety regulations regarding asbestos.

1965 Tort Laws

In 1965, the The American Law Institute of The Restatement of the Law of Torts published section 402A. It 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.”

This law does not include any harm caused to a person who received warning of the dangers of a product. The number of lawsuits over asbestos increased when courts determined manufacturers of asbestos products were obligated to inform people of the risks.

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 confirmation asbestos is linked to life-threatening illnesses. 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 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 types of cancer in general 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.

““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.”

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 hid this information from consumers.

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.

Read more: Another mesothelioma lawsuit victory: Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7B to asbestos victims 

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. 

FREE Financial Compensation Packet

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  • Info on law firms that will recover your highest compensation
  • Learn how to get paid in 90 days
  • File for your share of $30 billion in trust funds
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