Mesothelioma patients often hesitate to file a lawsuit due to reasonable concerns. Two of the main fears many have are a case taking too long or needing to testify in a courtroom when they should be focusing on treatment. Reaching a settlement is one way to avoid this stress while still receiving compensation.
Written by Retired LCDR Carl Jewett
What Are Mesothelioma Settlements?
Settlements are monetary amounts agreed to by both parties involved in a legal dispute. Since there is a high degree of uncertainty in trials, settlements are a surefire way for claimants to receive compensation.
Mesothelioma settlements are awarded to victims of asbestos exposure who developed the cancer due to negligent actions of the asbestos manufacturing companies. Asbestos is a harmful substance that, when inhaled or ingested, can irritate cells in specific areas of the body.
Despite knowing of these dangers, the asbestos manufacturing corporations produced and sold the substance to construction and insulation companies for nearly all of the 20th century. They and other companies are responsible for exposing many people to asbestos.
Benefits of Settling
How Much Are Mesothelioma Settlements Worth?
Settlements vary from case to case and are rarely made public. However, several estimates of mesothelioma settlement amounts are available through policy research. A report by the Rand Corporation in 2005 found that the overall compensation for mesothelioma lawsuits rose sharply in the 1990s, which is also when the number of mesothelioma claims significantly increased. Some people analyze past settlement amounts, but each case is different and the average mesothelioma settlement payment can be misleading.
How Are Mesothelioma Settlements Determined?
Mesothelioma settlements vary on numerous factors involved in the negotiation with the asbestos companies. Each settlement is different and some factors may be more important than others in negotiating an amount, but there are certain topics consistently covered in every case.
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Asbestos exposure history
- Accumulation of debt from lost wages
- Minor children and other dependents
Process for Reaching a Mesothelioma Settlement
A mesothelioma settlement is an agreement made between the patient or patient’s family and the at-fault asbestos manufacturing company. Most mesothelioma lawsuits progress as if they are going to trial, and the process involves multiple steps, such as discovery of evidence, depositions and pretrial motions.
During each part of the case process, attorneys attempt to force the hand of the asbestos companies into offering an acceptable settlement. This involves many formalities and negotiations, but both parties usually intend to settle unless there are unusual circumstances.
Should I Take My Case to Trial?
Mesothelioma cases go to trial when the plaintiff and the asbestos company cannot settle on the compensation amount. This is rare, as most mesothelioma cases are resolved out of court because a significant amount of evidence exists in favor of the patient, which encourages asbestos companies to settle.
The primary disadvantages of going to trial are the uncertainty of a verdict, expense and length of the process. Therefore, mesothelioma settlements are sought out the majority of the time. However, each case is different and seeking a verdict could benefit you. Find out the best course of action for you by meeting with one of the top mesothelioma law firms.
Last Edited: July 31, 2020.