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 U.S. history. Asbestos exposure is at the root of most of these cases.
People diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is an asbestos-related cancer, 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 case. The plaintiff sues a defendant they believe is responsible for their exposure to asbestos and resulting illness. The purpose is to hold the defendants accountable, to discourage other companies from exposing workers in the future, and to seek compensation for the victim.
The first thing to do is find and hire an experienced asbestos 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.
Your legal team will begin by investigating and gathering information to make your case. Be prepared to provide 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.
With enough information to make your case, the next step is to try negotiating a settlement. If both sides cannot agree to 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 receive notification of your lawsuit and a copy of the complaint. They have a certain amount of time, usually 30 days, to file an official response. Failure to respond can result in a judgement in favor of the plaintiff.
The Discovery Phase
After defendants respond to the complaint, attorneys on both sides 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.
Going to Trial
If both sides fail to agree on a settlement your case will go to trial. Each side presents 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 payments within a few months. Keep in mind, however, that the defendant does have the legal right to appeal the 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 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.
Another myth is that a bankrupt or shut-down company can’t compensate you. 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.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are two main types of mesothelioma lawsuits: A personal injury case is the lawsuit you file on your own behalf; a wrongful death lawsuit is filed on after someone 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 costs like loss of consortium and emotional suffering.
Class Action Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are filed by groups of victims. They 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 workplace.
Statute of Limitations
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 Asbestos Landmarks
Mesothelioma is a relatively rare disease, but there thousands of lawsuits have been filed. Clarence Borel, an industrial worker, filed the first case in 1969. 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 1960s doctors 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. His research and other studies 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.”
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. This number 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 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.
“It’s going to happen in every country in the world,” Dr. Bray, who led 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 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.
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.