Troy E. Walton
Personal Injury Attorney
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Everything You Need to Know About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Important Facts About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
- Victims of asbestos exposure can file a personal injury lawsuit (if they’re the one with mesothelioma) or a wrongful death lawsuit (if they’re the surviving loved ones of someone who passed away from mesothelioma) against asbestos manufacturing companies.
- The American court system sometimes favors lawsuits from mesothelioma victims because the companies that manufactured, sold, or used asbestos either knew or should have known it was dangerous to people’s health.
- Victims can file multiple mesothelioma lawsuits if more than one asbestos company is responsible for their exposure.
- Most mesothelioma lawsuits end in settlements and do not proceed to trial, which often relieves some stress for asbestos victims.
- A national mesothelioma lawyer or law firm will be the most beneficial during the lawsuit process as they do most of the work.
Why You Should File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Following their mesothelioma diagnosis, patients often face numerous struggles, such as undergoing aggressive treatment, facing financial instability and initiating difficult conversations with loved ones. The idea of filing a legal claim for asbestos exposure often seems to be an additional and unnecessary stressor for people with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, such as lung cancer.
However, experienced mesothelioma lawyers simplify the process and do most of the work on behalf of the victim. When handled by an experienced asbestos law firm, most lawsuits end in a private settlement before a trial begins. The American court system has been sympathetic to the victims of malicious corporate greed, especially connected to asbestos.
The most effective way to hold asbestos companies accountable is by taking legal action against them. For decades, many asbestos manufacturers hid the dangers of this mineral, which causes mesothelioma. For this reason, as well as many others, mesothelioma patients and their families are eligible for financial compensation in the form of asbestos claims payouts. One way to receive mesothelioma compensation is by filing a lawsuit.
Benefits of Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
A mesothelioma lawsuit is a type of asbestos claim. The main reason asbestos victims should file a lawsuit is to receive deserved mesothelioma compensation. This helps cover financial instability caused by lost wages, medical costs and other life changes due to asbestos disease. It also helps patients receive treatment that might otherwise be unavailable or unaffordable to them.
Most successful mesothelioma lawsuits are settled outside of court. The legal process for these cases usually moves efficiently, and few cases reach the trial phase. Victims who settle their asbestos cases often receive compensation in a timely manner.
An experienced attorney from a national asbestos law firm will travel to meet their client and take on almost every aspect of the case. Most mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means there is no up-front cost for the victim. The legal team does not receive payment unless the claim results in compensation for the victim.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are two lawsuits applicable to mesothelioma and asbestos exposure: personal injury and wrongful death.
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Mesothelioma
When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the asbestos manufacturing companies responsible for their asbestos exposure. Personal injury claims for mesothelioma allow victims to receive compensation from the asbestos manufacturers responsible for their disease.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits for Mesothelioma
When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma and passes away, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible asbestos manufacturing companies. In some states, the parties eligible to file for wrongful death vary, but it is typically the deceased’s parents, spouse or children.
How to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit involves a three-step process. Follow this procedure if you’re wondering how to increase your chances of a successful result and maximum payment:
Connect with a lawyer who has experience with mesothelioma lawsuits. Not all attorneys have experience with asbestos litigation. They may advertise themselves as experts, but mesothelioma lawsuits are vastly different from all other types of personal injury cases.
Identify how and where you were exposed to asbestos. This step is essential to filing a lawsuit. Without proof linking your cancer to individual instances of asbestos exposure, your lawsuit likely won’t succeed. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help determine your history of exposure.
File a claim or claims in multiple jurisdictions and against all responsible parties. Casting a wide net helps in two ways. First, you’ll have more opportunities for a successful lawsuit. Second, you’ll likely receive a larger payment amount in the end.
When to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Victims of mesothelioma and asbestos exposure should file a lawsuit and begin the process as soon as possible. Many patients file a lawsuit soon after they’re diagnosed with mesothelioma. Others wait for one reason or another – focusing on treatment or stressing about the legal process – but delaying a lawsuit can be risky.
There is a law called the statute of limitations, which limits how much time you have to take legal action. Each state has its own statute of limitations for personal injury cases and a statute of limitations for wrongful death cases. Mesothelioma lawsuits are either personal injury claims (if the person diagnosed is still alive) or wrongful death claims (if the person with the cancer has passed away, leaving certain surviving loved ones to file the lawsuit).
The statute of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits in most states is 2-4 years. This means victims have this amount of time from either the date of their diagnosis (personal injury) or the date of their loved one’s passing (wrongful death).
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit as soon as possible ensures the statute of limitations does not run out. Once you choose an attorney and go through your history of exposure to asbestos, your lawyer will handle filing the lawsuit and make the process as stress-free as possible.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, filing a legal claim does not have to be stressful for you or your family. Entrusting experienced attorneys to take on your case will help ease the burden placed on you and your loved ones. The experts at Mesothelioma Guide can review your situation and explain your options.
Why Get a Free Case Evaluation?
- Understand your legal options.
- Connect with top lawyers.
- Get financial compensation.
Examples of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are many examples of mesothelioma lawsuits ending favorably for victims. These lawsuits are public because they went to trial and resulted in a verdict favoring the victim. If the case ends in a settlement, the amount is kept private. The companies that used asbestos have been taken to court by brave victims, and the court system has consistently sided with these victims.
The average mesothelioma settlement is estimated to be lower than most verdicts, but it’s still a substantial amount of money to help give victims and their families financial relief as they deal with lost wages, medical bills from treatment and more hardships.
Louisiana Court Delivers $36.7 Million Verdict
A Louisiana court issued a $36.7 million verdict in 2021 for a mesothelioma victim. The lawsuit was against Level 3 Holdings, Inc., and the victim was a former welder and pipefitter, two occupations linked to regular asbestos exposure.
Louisiana is often considered a favorable state for victims of corporate wrongdoing. Many multi-million-dollar verdicts have emerged from courts in this state.
Asbestos Lawsuit Ends in Verdict for Libby Miner
A miner from Libby won $36.5 million against Maryland Casualty, the worker’s compensation insurance company linked to the vermiculite mine in the infamous asbestos town of Libby, Montana. The victim worked in the W.R. Grace mine in Libby for 1-2 years, which was enough time for him to develop asbestosis. Libby is considered the capital of asbestos exposure and diseases due to the W.R. Grace mine.
Los Angeles Jury Delivers $43 Million Verdict
A victim of mesothelioma won a $43 million verdict in 2022 in Los Angeles. It is one of the largest mesothelioma lawsuit verdicts since the U.S. court system reopened following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The jury concluded that Algoma Hardwoods, Inc. is liable for the victim’s mesothelioma, which she developed after being exposed to asbestos during her employment with the company. Algoma Hardwoods was found to be negligent in knowing about the presence of asbestos in its fireproof doors.
Plant Worker Receives $3 Million in Lawsuit
A South Carolina Court of Appeals backed a 2017 verdict favoring a former plant worker. The victim worked for Duke Energy and was exposed to asbestos from gaskets and valves made by Fisher Controls International and Crosby Valve LLC. There are a number of asbestos companies named in most lawsuits.
The victim received $2.87 million in the lawsuit. He died in 2018, a year after the verdict.
Lawsuit Against Exxon Favors Mesothelioma Victim
An appellate court in Washington state affirmed a mesothelioma lawsuit verdict against ExxonMobil Oil. The verdict was for $2.2 million after the victim was exposed working near old pipes at an oil refinery. The victim, who worked for Exxon in the 1970s, died in 2015.
Lawsuit for Asbestos in Bowling Balls
A mesothelioma victim sued Honeywell for asbestos found in bowling balls. The victim drilled finger holes into bowling balls as an operator of a bowling alley. He owned the business from 1957-1986 and passed away in 2013.
His family filed a lawsuit and won $4.3 million from a Los Angeles jury.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit
A victim’s family won $8 million for secondary asbestos exposure and wrongful death. An Oklahoma court upheld the verdict in 2021.
The victim died in 2016 at age 38. The wrongful death trial ended in 2019 with the verdict. The victim, the stepson of an oil field worker, was exposed to asbestos through his stepfather’s clothes. As a child, he was exposed to raw, loose asbestos or asbestos from drilling rig products. There were three companies named in the lawsuit: Union Carbide (manufacturer); Montello Inc. (distributor); and National Oilwell Varco (manufacturer).
Massachusetts Sues Four Companies
There’s even an example of a state filing an asbestos lawsuit. In 2021, Massachusetts sued four companies regarding asbestos abatement (removal) and storage. The incident occurred in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the city’s former YMCA building. The lawsuit alleges the four entities violated the state’s Clean Air Act due to how asbestos was removed and stored.
The companies sued were:
- Ray Services Inc., an asbestos abatement company
- O’Reilly, Talbot, & Okun Associates, Inc., an environmental consulting company;
- Allegrone Construction Co., a general contractor
- Service Transport Group, a transportation company
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process
It’s important for victims of mesothelioma to understand how lawsuits work. These steps provide an overview of the mesothelioma case process and the steps you’ll take with your attorney to receive compensation from the at-fault companies:
How Mesothelioma Lawsuits End: Settlements and Verdicts
Mesothelioma lawsuits usually end in two ways: verdicts or settlements. Verdicts involve a trial and are decided by a judge or jury. Settlements are confidential agreements made outside of the courtroom between the victim and the companies responsible for the asbestos exposure.
Verdicts have more variance in how they can end. Many courts have sided with patients or the families of deceased patients and awarded them multi-million-dollar asbestos verdicts. However, the judge or jury could side with the asbestos company. Additionally, even in favorable mesothelioma verdicts for victims, the asbestos companies usually appeal the verdict and drag out the process.
Settlements have less variance but usually smaller payouts. Once the mesothelioma lawsuit settlement is reached, the case concludes, and the victim receives the payment. Settlements are private, which is why there’s less data about the average settlement for mesothelioma, but they’re often less than a verdict.
What to Expect From a Mesothelioma Lawyer
Once a patient has found the best treatment available, the next step is finding top legal representation. Just like certain doctors specialize in specific types of treatment, some attorneys specialize in representing victims of exposure. Patients should never compromise on the quality of their legal representation.
A great mesothelioma law firm:
- Has years of experience helping people affected by mesothelioma
- Knows how to investigate your history of asbestos exposure
- Can trace exposure to specific companies’ wrongdoing
- Works on a contingency basis and doesn’t get paid until you do
- Represents clients around the country and will travel to you
- Minimizes client stress by doing most of the work
- Provides frequent updates on your case
A national law firm is usually more capable of fully investigating your claim than local law firms. National asbestos lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping asbestos victims and studying the wrongdoings of asbestos companies. They will find all liable asbestos companies and determine where to file a lawsuit.
Experienced law firms will file a case in a jurisdiction that is most favorable to their client. This helps in terms of the amount they will receive and the speed of receiving the compensation. Get in contact with one of the top mesothelioma law firms with our free case evaluation form.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
How Long Do Mesothelioma Lawsuits Take?
Each lawsuit is different and will require a unique amount of time. However, the top mesothelioma lawyers can work as efficiently as possible to finish your case and get you the highest payout possible to help your family’s financial security.
Do All Mesothelioma Lawsuits Go to Trial?
No. Most cases end in a mesothelioma settlement. The at-fault companies want to avoid costly trials. Your lawyer will help guide you through the settlement process, so you aren’t being taken advantage of in negotiations.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Bankrupt Company?
No, but you can still receive compensation in the form of asbestos trust funds. to pay for lost wages or other financial hardships. Mesothelioma patients may file with these funds when the at-fault company in a case is bankrupt. Speak with a mesothelioma lawyer to learn if you’re eligible to file an asbestos trust fund claim.
How Much Money Will I Receive From a Lawsuit?
The amount of your mesothelioma compensation depends on numerous factors, which make up your mesothelioma case value. This estimation varies for each person. There have been many verdicts topping $5 million, while the average mesothelioma settlement is lower.
How Will I Pay My Attorney for Handling My Lawsuit?
The best mesothelioma attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you won’t have to pay any hiring costs. They’re paid only if your lawsuit succeeds with either a settlement or a favorable verdict. The amount of compensation usually determines how much you pay your attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Mesothelioma cases have a statute of limitations (SOL), meaning there is a limit to how long you can wait to file. Statutes vary based on where you live, where the exposure happened and several other factors. Most states have a statute of limitations of 2-4 years, but you should check with an experienced national lawyer for the time limit in the states applicable for your case.
Can Veterans File a Lawsuit for Mesothelioma?
Yes. Veterans with mesothelioma can file both Veterans Affairs (VA) claims and lawsuits against the responsible asbestos manufacturing companies. VA claims provide financial benefits offered by the U.S. government to veterans with certain health conditions, including mesothelioma. These are not lawsuits against the U.S. government or the military. Lawsuits, however, are filed against the companies that manufactured and sold asbestos even though the companies knew or should’ve known asbestos was dangerous. Some of these companies sold asbestos to the military to use on ships, aircraft and more, which is why at least 33% of all people diagnosed with mesothelioma are military veterans.
Sources & Author
- Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts and Tort Compensation. RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2011/RAND_MG1104.pdf. Accessed: 10/23/19.
- Products Liability. Law, Science & Public Health Program. Retrieved from: https://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/products/402a-b.htm. Accessed: 10/30/18.
- Jury Awards $43M in Asbestos Trial; Georgia-Pacific 15% at Fault. LegalMag. Retrieved from: https://www.law.com/dailyreportonline/2022/05/24/los-angeles-county-jury-awards-43m-in-asbestos-trial/?slreturn=20230207150306. Accessed: 03/07/2023.
- $2.2M Mesothelioma Verdict Against Exxon Is Affirmed. Law360. Retrieved from: https://www.law360.com/articles/1448310. Accessed: 01/26/2022.
- AG Healey Sues Four Companies for Illegal Asbestos Work at Former Springfield YMCA. State of Massachusetts. Retrieved from: https://www.mass.gov/news/ag-healey-sues-four-companies-for-illegal-asbestos-work-at-former-springfield-ymca. Accessed: 03/31/2021.
- Jury awards $36.5 million verdict against insurance company in bellwether Libby asbestos case. Montana Standard. Retrieved from: https://mtstandard.com/news/local/jury-awards-36-5-million-verdict-against-insurance-company-in-bellwether-libby-asbestos-case/article_1d8c8e95-118a-5ad9-be79-843fd2d7ef27.html. Accessed: 02/23/2022.