Mesothelioma lawsuits usually end in a settlement. If a settlement isn’t reached, the case usually goes to a trial and concludes with a mesothelioma verdict.
Written by Retired LCDR Carl Jewett
Fact Checked by Troy Walton
Important Facts About Mesothelioma Verdicts
Verdicts are usually riskier than settlements for mesothelioma claims. This is one reason why cases often settle before trial:
- Verdicts can lead to larger payouts but may result in no compensation at all.
- Verdicts take longer to reach than settlements.
- There are two types of damages from verdicts: compensatory and punitive.
Resorting to a Mesothelioma Verdict: Worth the Risk?
Mesothelioma trials often end in a favorable verdict for the plaintiff. Most national mesothelioma law firms work strictly on contingency for two main reasons:
- They are confident they’ll be successful in securing a settlement or a favorable verdict.
- They don’t want their clients to pay unnecessary out-of-pocket costs for legal representation.
However, the many variables of a trial make seeking a mesothelioma verdict risky.
According to the 2017-2018 Mealey’s Litigation Report, the median trial verdict for asbestos-related cases in 2017 was approximately $2 million. The average verdict was higher, around $9 million, due to two or three outliers.
Reasons to Avoid a Trial Verdict
What to Expect When Going to Trial
The judicial process has been highlighted in movies and on television for as long as movies and TV have existed. Hollywood productions can overdramatize the intensity of courtroom events.
When a settlement isn’t possible, mesothelioma patients are dependent on a successful verdict. It is important to remember that attorneys will still try to mediate a settlement during the trial. Only after a verdict is reached is it too late to settle.
Presentation of evidence
Presenting and Examining the Facts
During the trial, both sides present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. A mesothelioma victim may testify as a witness if they are medically able to, but this exposes them to cross-examination by the defendant.
After each side provides closing statements, the judge gives instructions to the jury. These instructions include ruling on certain issues of the case and pointing out certain facts and rules of law. The jury then deliberates until a verdict is reached.
Jury Verdicts: Types of Damages
If the jury votes in favor of the plaintiff, the jury sets the amount of compensatory and punitive damages. Both types of damages are payments made to the victim:
- Compensatory damages pay the victim for lost damages, such as medical bills or lost wages.
- Punitive damages punish the defendant and set an example to prevent future occurrences of wrongdoing.
The award amount varies based on the circumstances of the case. The compensatory damages depend on the victim’s situation. The punitive damages amount depends on how much the jury believes the defendant was responsible.
If the jury votes in favor of the defendant, the company is not required to pay any damages. When working with most top mesothelioma lawyers, the plaintiff doesn’t have to pay any legal fees to their attorney if they lose their case.
Choosing a Good Law Firm
The importance of choosing a good law firm cannot be overstated. The ins and outs of mesothelioma lawsuits are intricate and you should only rely on a veteran lawyer.
Seeking a settlement is generally safer than attempting to get a favorable verdict. The reason mesothelioma settlements are so prominent is due to the overwhelming evidence against asbestos companies.
In many situations, these companies have admitted fault and wish to settle as soon as possible to avoid greater expenses. In cases, the plaintiff’s asbestos exposure history is staggering or an offered settlement is not satisfactory. Therefore, seeking a verdict may be the best option.
Mesothelioma verdicts often award much more than settlements. However, only an experienced law firm can properly assess the risk versus the reward.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, explore your options with our free legal support and connect with top mesothelioma law firms. They’ll examine the facts of your case for free and explain the chances of a favorable mesothelioma verdict.
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Verdicts
What is the average mesothelioma verdict?
According to an annual report from Mealey’s Litigation, the average mesothelioma verdict in 2017-2018 was around $9 million. Most verdicts are lower than this amount, with a few outlier jury decisions eclipsing $100 million.
Why are verdicts risky for mesothelioma lawsuits?
There’s some uncertainty with verdicts in lawsuits. The judge or jury could side in favor of the other party, which in mesothelioma claims is usually the asbestos manufacturer. Verdicts also take much longer to reach than settlements, and the appeals process can drag out payment for years after the initial verdict.
What are the two types of compensation in a verdict?
Verdicts favoring the mesothelioma victim are split into types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages pay back the victim for lost wages, medical bills, funeral costs, pain and suffering, and other financial hardships. Punitive damages are more so a punishment against the manufacturer to prevent similar malicious acts in the future.
Last Edited: January 21, 2021.