Mesothelioma Settlement Process
Every year, scores of asbestos companies settle lawsuits with mesothelioma victims to avoid costly public trials. The resulting settlement means victims get compensation for injuries, funds to pay for medical treatments and capital for long-term financial security.
Mesothelioma settlements are monetary sums that have been accepted by both parties in lieu of a trial. Settlement amounts vary widely based on individual case circumstances.
Up to 90 percent of mesothelioma and asbestos-cancer lawsuits end in a settlement before going to trial. Most asbestos companies want to avoid the publicity and expense of a trial. For patients, settlements allow for a quick end to what could have been a lengthy legal process.
Settlement Values and Payout Process
Because of the variable nature of mesothelioma cases, settlement amounts can range widely. In 2015, an unsealed court document in Illinois showed 38 claimants filed asbestos-related lawsuits with a total value of about $22 million. The records showed 850 asbestos victims across the country—just a small percentage of asbestos claimants overall—had been awarded $334,711,143 through the court system and $182,259,276 from bankruptcy trusts.
Legal experts say mesothelioma trial awards average $2.4 million, but jury verdicts differ based on case facts and jury decisions. Even if victims win the trial, the award may be delayed if the at-fault company decides to appeal the jury’s decision. Appeals courts may overturn trial awards.
The average mesothelioma settlement is between $1 million and $1.4 million. Even though settlement amounts are typically lower sums than the average trial awards, the compensation is guaranteed and usually arrives in a matter of weeks.
Receiving a Mesothelioma Settlement
After a mesothelioma lawsuit is filed, the courts generally fast track the litigation because of the urgent needs of the patient. After the initial stages of the lawsuit, including discovery and depositions, attorneys from both sides will discuss possible settlement terms. As a starting point for determining a settlement, attorneys on both sides take several factors into consideration:
- Victim’s medical background and diagnosis – All asbestos cancer cases begin with a diagnosis and a link to an at-fault company. Victims must have a history with the company in question or its products. A physician must document the mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Proof of negligence – During pre-trial discovery and depositions, the plaintiff’s attorney typically uncovers proof of the defendant company’s negligence. In many cases, companies know about the dangers of asbestos exposure but choose to hide them from employees. Many companies decide to settle lawsuits over making these facts known to the public.
- Case valuation matrix – Asbestos companies assign a minimal financial value to mesothelioma cases and adjust it for extenuating factors such as number of dependents and amount of injury. This case matrix is used to determine a baseline for compensation.
- Amount of lost wages, debt, and medical expenses – The hardships of mesothelioma include lost earnings, increased debt from not being able to work and increased medical bills due to the diagnosis.
- Number of companies involved in lawsuit – Mesothelioma victims who file legal claims against multiple asbestos companies may be able to collect settlements from each company.
- Location of case – Each state has different rules regarding product liability, negligence and wrongdoing and different requirements for evidence.
The process of a settlement is a negotiation. If the company’s offer is too low, your attorney will discuss the next steps of the case. There are no guarantees an agreement will be reached, so your attorney should always be prepared to go to trial.
Have your questions answered now by a patient advocate.
Settlement vs. Trial Verdict
The decision to settle an asbestos cancer case or follow through with a lawsuit depends on a variety of factors. The overall goal is to collect compensation that will pay for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Our advocates connect mesothelioma patients with the nation’s top-rated asbestos experts. Before our legal experts agree to any settlement, we help you understand the offers so you can make a sound legal decision.
Settlement Rules for Plaintiffs
Once a settlement is reached, plaintiffs must agree in writing to terms and conditions. Common terms of agreement include the following:
- Agree to drop all current and future claims against the defendant company.
- Understand the defendant company denies any negligence or liability in the case.
- Agree to keep the settlement amount a secret.
- Rand Corp. Asbestos litigation. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf
- Nolo.com. Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits: What To Expect. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/asbestos-mesothelioma-lawsuits-what-expect-30340.html
- Gvillo, Heather Isringhausen. “Database Provides Insight Into How Much Asbestos Claims Are Worth.” Madison-St. Claire Record. Retrieved from https://madisonrecord.com/stories/510558049-database-provides-insight-into-how-much-asbestos-claims-are-worth