One of the biggest factors driving any person’s decision whether to file a lawsuit or talk to an attorney about their legal options is the amount of compensation that can be expected. Being concerned about compensation is understandable, as the amount you may expect to receive and need informs the amount of time and energy that you’re willing to expend in working to obtain it.
Fortunately, for mesothelioma plaintiffs, compensation is often available from multiple sources and may not even require the formal filing of a lawsuit.
Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
While mesothelioma victims can seek compensation through the traditional filing of a lawsuit, resulting in a jury verdict or a settlement, compensation may also be available through asbestos trust funds that have been set up by companies in light of the mesothelioma crisis.
In general, the types of mesothelioma compensation are verdicts, settlements, and trust funds.
A verdict is an amount of money that a jury determines is owed to a plaintiff after a jury trial has been conducted. Compared to other forms of mesothelioma compensation, jury verdicts are often the hardest to predict.
Additionally, jury verdicts take the most amount of time to obtain, as the process of filing a lawsuit, gathering evidence, conducting a trial, and then potentially arguing appeals can take more than a year. Nonetheless, lawsuits remain a tried-and-true method of obtaining compensation for personal injuries and for wrongful death claims.
A settlement is an amount of money paid by a defendant either to prevent a lawsuit or to stop a lawsuit from progressing. While mesothelioma lawsuits are very uncommon, defendants typically seek to settle claims early in the process. In some cases, settlements may be offered immediately after a lawsuit is filed, and in other cases, it may take filing and some litigation. Settlement negotiations are driven by a company’s cost-benefit analysis, meaning that it may be cheaper for the company to offer a settlement rather than pay for the costs of defending against a lawsuit, and potentially risking a large jury verdict.
However, the decision of whether to accept a settlement offer is entirely up to the plaintiff in a lawsuit. Sometimes defendants aren’t willing to offer enough money up front to fully and fairly compensate a plaintiff’s injuries. In that case, it’s important to have an experienced attorney who will negotiate with defendants to obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible, and if necessary, take your case to trial.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Trust funds are compensation sources that are unique to mesothelioma victims who developed cancer because of exposure to asbestos. Many asbestos companies have gone bankrupt in recent years, but in order to prevent these companies from escaping responsibility for their actions, courts have ordered that they establish trust funds for mesothelioma victims. Some of these trust funds contain billions of dollars available to mesothelioma victims.
Compared to verdicts and settlements, trust fund compensation is generally available faster, because it does not require the filing of a lawsuit and does not have to be handled by the court system. Asbestos trust funds have defined procedures for the filing of claims, but those procedures can be complicated, and each trust fund has stringent requirements for eligibility.
At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, our mesothelioma attorneys can assist you in assessing your eligibility and filing claims to these trust funds. Some victims qualify for compensation from multiple asbestos trust funds, and some victims may be able to file a lawsuit and simultaneously access trust fund compensation. A mesothelioma attorney can answer these questions for you.
How Mesothelioma Compensation Awards Are Determined
Compensation for mesothelioma cases varies from case to case and depends largely on the specific facts and circumstances suffered by each individual defendant. Among the factors that affect a mesothelioma victim’s claim for compensation are:
- Severity of mesothelioma and prognosis of the disease
- Time of diagnosis, affecting lost wages and loss of earning potential
- Expenses in medical treatment
- Effects on family members
- Extent to which mesothelioma has affected a person’s lifestyle
- Pre-existing illnesses or conditions
- Health status before diagnosis
Who is Eligible for Mesothelioma Compensation?
Compensation may be available to any individual who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or their surviving family members. The specifics of eligibility depend on the type of case and the source of compensation, especially when dealing with asbestos trust funds, which may have complicated eligibility requirements.
Generally, the following criteria are required to receive mesothelioma compensation in any type of claim or case:
- A mesothelioma diagnosis supported by medical records
- Evidence of exposure to asbestos
Additionally, statutes of limitations may affect a person’s ability to file mesothelioma claims, depending on the type of claim or case and the jurisdiction in which a victim is located. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can evaluate your case and assist you in obtaining compensation for your injuries.
How to Pursue Mesothelioma Compensation
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, you may be entitled to receive compensation for that injury, and you should exercise your rights to obtain that compensation by the following steps:
1. Speak to an experienced mesothelioma attorney
The most important step in beginning to pursue mesothelioma compensation is to speak with an attorney. It’s important to choose a law firm that has experience in obtaining compensation for mesothelioma victims and the resources to fully assist you.
2. Gather the evidence
After speaking to your attorney and deciding to pursue compensation, you and your attorney will work together to determine the best course of action to receive compensation. That process primarily consists of gathering documentation and evidence related to your asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis. You may be asked to locate copies of employment records, medical records, and other evidence to assist your attorney in making your claim for compensation.
3. Assess and access your options for compensation
Mesothelioma victims may have access to multiple forms of compensation. Each of these compensation sources has its own eligibility and access requirements. Your attorney can assist you in determining which types of compensation you’re eligible for, and work on obtaining the maximum amount available to you.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Mesothelioma Compensation?
The amount of time that it takes to receive mesothelioma compensation varies greatly from case to case, depending on the source of compensation and the type of claim involved. In cases that are relatively simple and are eligible for asbestos trust fund payments, compensation can be received as soon as six to twelve weeks after filing a trust fund claim.
In other cases that require investigation or the filing of a lawsuit, it may take more time for the process to conclude. Often, more time spent investigating and preparing may mean more compensation – your attorney can assist you in weighing these considerations when deciding what type of mesothelioma compensation to seek.
How Bailey & Glasser, LLP Can Help Mesothelioma Victims
Bailey & Glasser, LLP is a national law firm that has handled matters in more than 40 states. Our Asbestos and Lung Disease team has obtained more than $90 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of asbestos exposure victims.
We have real experience in assisting mesothelioma victims, and we understand the devastating impact that mesothelioma has had on thousands of victims and their families across the country.
Our personal injury practice is driven by justice, and we believe that mesothelioma victims and their families deserve to be compensated for their exposure to asbestos at the hands of corporations. We’re ready to assist you and your family – contact us today.