How do you respond to a mesothelioma diagnosis? This asbestos-related cancerous predicament occurs in the mesothelium, a tissue layer covering your internal organs such as your lungs. Caused by exposure to asbestos, this disease may develop decades after the person was first infected. Moreover, malignant mesothelioma isn’t curable, and the patient seldom survives for twelve months after the diagnosis. How did folks first get exposed to this disease? Asbestos was common in the automotive, construction, and shipbuilding industries during the 20th century. So, trade laborers, chemical workers, and machinery operators were exposed frequently. Today, they can bring lawsuits against their former employers.
When can you file a case?
Patients suffering from mesothelioma because of their current/former employer’s negligence should file a case against them since they’re eligible for compensation. What’s the process of receiving a settlement in this scenario? Here, we’ll explain the mesothelioma settlement procedure in-depth for you. Let’s start with the statute of limitations. You must file your case before the statute of limitations expires.
Remember that this timeline starts with receiving a diagnosis or your relative dying from mesothelioma. Your lawsuit won’t be admissible in court if you’ve filed it after the timeline has expired. Mostly, the statute of limitations expires after one/two years. But some states have extended it up to six years.
What do we know about timelines?
Now, what’s the procedure to file this case in court? You can learn more about timelines by reading the below-mentioned stages. These stages display the eventual progress of your case by describing the steps you must take while pursuing justice. Remember that most mesothelioma settlement cases follow a similar timeline of events, but these events may be affected by the claimant’s unique circumstances. So, here’s a typical payout timeline of events for these cases:
- First, lawyers review your case and determine its eligibility. Lawyers will discuss your legal options with you, and you can decide whether you’re willing to recruit them as your representatives or not.
- In the second stage, lawyers confirm your medical diagnosis. They interview patients and gather as much information as possible to strengthen the lawsuit. So, they need to know your medical history and where you were exposed to asbestos.
- Now, the time has come to file your claim. After collecting the requisite information, you should file the claim before the statute of limitations expires. Lawyers could propose, for instance, filing a claim in two states if you were diagnosed after migrating to another location.
- The discovery stage involves both parties – claimants, and defendants – discovering the evidence and looking for something to discredit the opponent’s narrative. So, you’ll talk to witnesses and make current/former employees talk. Your lawyers will prepare you for a deposition so you may face the other team of lawyers fearlessly.
- In the end, the defendant usually makes an offer and tries to settle the case. Lawyers prefer you take the offer and prevent taking the case to trial. We shall explain later why going to trial hurts your chances of winning. Most folks decide to settle since they don’t have much time, energy, or resources to wait for the jury to reach a verdict after several years.
What if you can’t afford lawyers?
Patients are often hesitant when hiring lawyers to pursue this lawsuit. Why do you need a mesothelioma attorney for this case? Well, they have the requisite expertise, know-how, and experience to finish this lawsuit in your favor.
Also, many lawyers work on a contingency. They don’t get paid unless you win the case. It means that patients don’t have to pay them anything upfront. After your settlement money arrives, the lawyers can take nearly 25-40 percent of your recovered damages.
How much money can you receive?
Patients often settle because they need the money to afford the mesothelioma treatment. There’s no fixed amount you can receive after the lawsuits are over. Your compensation depends on several factors, due to which some folks get millions while others are awarded a modest amount. It’s estimated that the patient settling the case can receive $1 to $1.5 million, while a jury can award you $5 to $11.4 million. So, you must consult your options with an attorney. Here are the factors affecting your settlement money:
- Your age
- Lost wages
- Evidence of negligence
- Location/s of the exposure/diagnosis
- Economic damages (treatment expenses)
- Non-economic damages (pain and suffering)
How long does the case usually take?
How long do you have to wait for the money? Again, this question depends on several factors. Most such cases are settled before they even reach the court. When patients decide not to settle, this case may go on for over a year before a verdict. You can get paid within a year if your lawyer identifies a valid payment source, such as a trust fund dedicated to asbestos victims. Sadly, your case going to trial may take two years to finish sometimes! However, judges in many states acknowledge that the patient filing the lawsuit doesn’t have much time left. So, they can accelerate the proceedings, and the patient can get a verdict rapidly. We suggest you consult your lawyer to obtain a realistic timeframe for your case now.
How many types of cancer claims are there?
- Some asbestos-utilizing manufacturers went bankrupt and couldn’t afford to pay their victims. A solution was found by establishing trust funds for asbestos victims, and patients today can easily get compensated. These trust funds normally pay you within a few months.
- Patients should understand that mesothelioma lawsuits are categorized into personal injury and wrongful death claims. These claims are filed by the patients and their relatives, respectively. So, you must understand the difference between these claims before filing a lawsuit.
“Shall I settle or choose to decide to go to trial?”
Experts believe that 80 to 92 percent of lawsuits are settled when the claimant and the defendant reach an out-of-court resolution. Since juries award patients more money than defendants in settlement negotiations, people often find it lucrative to pursue court trials. So, what are the benefits of settling when you can get more money later? Let’s explain why pursuing the mesothelioma settlement process helps your family more than court trials. Here are the benefits of accepting the defendant’s settlement offer:
- Unlike settlements, trials are public records and provide no privacy.
- Going to trial may cost a fortune, but settlements are affordable for patients.
- As explained above, trials are time-consuming, but settlements are resolved quickly.
- Trails are riskier since you may lose the case, but settlements promise compensation.
- If you lose the case (since juries may side with the defendant), your compensation can even be lower than what was offered before.
How can people get diagnosed with this cancer? It’s estimated that 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. These patients are often victims of an employer’s negligence or used asbestos-containing products manufactured by a company. So, they can pursue justice by filing a claim against the guilty party. We’ve explained the mesothelioma settlement procedure above and discussed some crucial points regarding these cases. You have to file the case before the statute of limitations expires. A lawyer can work on contingency to make the proceedings more affordable for you. Also, we talked about some benefits of settling instead of going to trial. We hope this brief guide has been helpful for our patients.