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Compensation for Mesothelioma Victims and Their Families

Asbestos companies knew asbestos was deadly, yet continued to produce and sell it, putting millions of innocent people at risk for developing mesothelioma and other diseases. Fortunately, the American legal system allows mesothelioma victims and their families the chance to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income and other damages related to a mesothelioma diagnosis. While each case is different, many mesothelioma victims and their families have recovered millions in compensation from asbestos manufacturers.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you would like to speak to an attorney to learn about your legal options, complete our free case review form today.

How Can I Recover Compensation?

In general, there are three ways you can receive compensation:

  • Filing a claim and receiving a payment from an asbestos trust created by an asbestos company that has filed for bankruptcy
  • Reaching a settlement with an asbestos company (a settlement may occur before or after a lawsuit has been filed)
  • Receiving a favorable verdict from a jury after your case has been heard in a court of law

If I File a Lawsuit, Will My Case Settle or Go To Trial?

Whether your case settles or goes to trial will depend on the specifics of your lawsuit and your personal preferences; however, the vast majority of asbestos lawsuits settle out of court.

There are a number of reasons why a mesothelioma lawsuit might result in an out-of-court settlement. Both sides often decide to settle an asbestos lawsuit to avoid years of litigation and the uncertainty of a jury trial. Asbestos companies may also be reluctant to face mesothelioma victims in the courtroom, as juries sometimes award verdicts in excess of $10 million in asbestos cases.

In addition, some lawsuits settle after a case has gone to trial and the jury has returned a verdict in favor of the asbestos victim. Because the defendant can appeal a jury verdict and use other tactics to delay payment, some plaintiffs opt to receive a reduced amount in exchange for the defendant withdrawing the appeal of the jury’s verdict.

Settlement Amounts: How Much Is My Case Worth?

This will depend on the details of your case. Your attorney will need to review the facts and circumstances of how the victim was exposed to asbestos, as well as the related injuries, to help determine how much your case is worth.

Factors that may influence the amount of your settlement or jury verdict include:
  • Actual medical expenses and the amount of medical bills you will face in the future as a result of the diagnosis
  • The amount of wages, earnings, and income lost and expected to be lost in the future
  • The level of the victim’s physical pain and emotional suffering
  • The number of dependents
  • The victim’s age

While each case is different, many mesothelioma lawsuits result in settlements or jury verdicts between $1 million and $5 million.

What Are My Obligations If My Mesothelioma Lawsuit Settles?

If the asbestos company you are suing agrees to settle your case, you may have certain obligations under the agreement in exchange for receiving a settlement payment. A settlement agreement in a mesothelioma lawsuit may contain the following provisions:

  • Confidentiality Agreement: You may be prohibited from discussing the terms of the settlement and the amount of money you receive. If the asbestos company discovers you have violated a confidentiality agreement, they could sue you to recover the settlement money you received.
  • No Future Lawsuits: You may be required to agree not to file another lawsuit against the company.
  • No Admission of Liability: Most asbestos companies require that settlement agreements state the company is not admitting any guilt or liability by agreeing to settle the case.

Before you sign any settlement documents, it is important that you understand the terms and conditions of the proposed settlement. If you are offered a settlement by one of the asbestos companies that contributed to your injuries, your attorney will clearly explain the proposed settlement agreement to you.

Recent Mesothelioma Jury Verdicts

While many mesothelioma lawsuits will settle, some will go to trial. Trials are often risky for both sides in a mesothelioma lawsuit because juries can be unpredictable. Even if you have a strong case, the jury may return a verdict in favor of the defendants. At the other end of the spectrum, juries occasionally return verdicts of greater than $10 million in mesothelioma cases.

Here are some recent mesothelioma lawsuits that resulted in large jury verdicts:

  • In 2011, a Florida jury awarded $21.6 million to the family of a 61-year-old man who developed mesothelioma after working with a Georgia-Pacific joint compound. The product was made with asbestos sold by Union Carbide, which is now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical. The Georgia-Pacific joint compound did not contain any warning labels stating that it contained asbestos.
  • In 2012, a jury in Los Angeles awarded $48 million to the family of a mesothelioma patient. The jury found that Union Carbide hid from its customers and workers the fact that asbestos causes mesothelioma. Because of this wrongful conduct, the jury awarded the plaintiff $18 million in punitive damages, which are intended to punish the corporate defendant and discourage other companies from engaging in similar behavior. During the course of the litigation, a Union Carbide internal memo from 1967 was uncovered, showing that the company knew that asbestos caused cancer, even after brief exposures, but chose not to disclose the health risk because doing so would decrease its sales of building supplies.
  • In 2013, a New York State jury awarded $35 million to the family of an asbestos remover who died of mesothelioma. Crane Co. and other asbestos companies failed to warn him about the dangers of the asbestos-containing products the companies paid him to remove from old buildings. During the trial, attorneys for the man’s family presented evidence showing that executives at Crane were aware of the danger of asbestos, yet failed to take any measures to protect its workers.
  • In 2014, a jury in Ohio awarded $27.5 million to a 40-year-old man who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma. The plaintiff in the case developed mesothelioma after prolonged, second-hand asbestos exposure from clothing worn by his father, who picked up the asbestos dust at his job at a brake company. The jury awarded the plaintiff $515,000 for economic damages and $12 million for non-economic damages. In addition, the jury awarded the man’s wife $15 million for her loss of consortium claim.

How Mesothelioma.org Can Help

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma, choosing an attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make. You need not only an aggressive advocate, but also a lawyer who will put in the effort and do the research to determine which companies manufactured, distributed, sold, and used the asbestos that contributed to your mesothelioma.To learn more complete our free case review form.