If you’ve contracted mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos, you should know you have rights and that there is a longstanding precedent to hold your employer responsible. Understanding how your employer’s negligence has led to your mesothelioma is key to obtaining the compensation you deserve.
A typical mesothelioma settlement will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, obtaining a mesothelioma settlement isn’t easy without an experienced mesothelioma lawyer on your side.
Before we discuss the typical settlement you can expect, however, let’s cover some basics.
A Brief History of Asbestos Mesothelioma Litigation
As you may know, asbestos is a natural mineral that was used in both commercial and industrial applications because of its unique properties. Namely, its fibers are microscopic, yet it is incredibly durable and impervious to everything from fire to many chemical reactions.
As a result, it was a popular choice for builders for decades. Unfortunately, being microscopic means it is easily inhaled, and being incredibly durable means your body has a very hard time getting rid of it.
As a result, the fibers stay lodged inside the tissues and linings of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. This will eventually lead to the formation of tumors – although the process by which asbestos causes mesothelioma can take from 10 to 50 years to develop.
The fact that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, was conclusively proven in 1964. The first lawsuit was filed in 1969, after the public realized that asbestos caused cancer and yet many manufacturers simply didn’t tell their workers.
Lawsuits have continued to get filed since. Each is really a form of tort litigation generally very similar to the original case from 1969 which was filed by a man named Clarence Borel. Between 1982 and 2002, the number of claimants grew from just 1,000 people to over 730,000. The number of defendants also increased from 300 to 8,400 companies. It’s currently at 10,000. Many experts believe asbestos filings will eventually hit 1,000,000.
The Typical Asbestos Mesothelioma Settlement
Unfortunately, it’s hard to speculate about the average settlement awarded to someone suffering from asbestos mesothelioma. The truth is that no two cases are alike. Compensation is often linked heavily to the strength of the case and to establishing clearly who is at fault. The settlement amount will take into consideration the plaintiff’s diagnosis, the health condition, the age of the defendant at the time of diagnosis, and the degree of liability on the part of the defendants.
It’s important to consider that the typical number may be low because so many victims simply settle right away. A lot of victims take smaller amounts because they just don’t know any better. This is where it’s so important to have an experienced attorney on your side who knows all about asbestos mesothelioma and the kinds of settlements that can be expected.
That number could also be kept low because, in a suit filed by multiple parties, one or more may drop out and settle for any number of reasons (e.g. to avoid attorney fees, bad publicity, a prolonged hearing, etc.), thus hurting the others’ chances.
Filing a Lawsuit
Before you can even start thinking about the kind of settlement you’ll receive, though, you have to actually file the lawsuit. This is where it is critical that you have an experienced and skilled mesothelioma lawyer on your side from the start. After all, law firms with asbestos litigation experience understand the nature of mesothelioma and how to attack negligent corporations.
When choosing to file a lawsuit, it is critical that you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. When it comes to asbestos mesothelioma, time is definitely of the essence. That’s because each state sets a limit for how long you have to file a suit after being diagnosed with cancer due to asbestos.
So not only could filing on your own hurt your chances of winning and the amount you’ll be rewarded, not having an attorney help you could put you in breach of the statute of limitations if you either take too long to file or have your first attempt rejected for some minor error.
Furthermore, depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to pick from a number of states in terms of where to file. This is an advantage you don’t want to take lightly. An experienced attorney will help make sure you leverage it to its greatest potential.
Should you go to Trial or Settle Your Case?
This is the big question facing many mesothelioma victims and their families. There are numerous reasons to reach a settlement with the manufacturers or companies responsible.
Some of those reasons include:
- Discovery of information that may lead to a favorable verdict in favor of the plaintiff
- Lack of time to complete research before trial
- Mounting legal fees
- Unavailability of a key witness
- Fair settlement offered
- Number of companies in the lawsuit
Just because a company offers you a quick settlement doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it. Sometimes companies who have settled and lost mesothelioma cases in the past know exactly how much to offer in a settlement. But settling early may not be in your best interest and may not provide proper compensation for your losses. This is why it is critical to have an experienced mesothelioma lawyer on your side before signing any settlements. Your attorney will be able to help you determine if it is in your best interest to settle or go to trial.
Your Legal Rights
Whether you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, you can depend on the highly qualified and experienced team of mesothelioma lawyers at Landry & Swarr. We are happy to discuss your options – and when the time is right we will handle the legal proceedings with one simple call from you to start the process.
If you have any questions regarding your legal rights related to mesothelioma, you can speak to our knowledgeable attorneys at Landry & Swarr by calling (504) 299-1214 today.