Legal Options

Mesothelioma Case Value

Unfortunately, financial obligations and medicals expenses are often an added burden for mesothelioma patients and their families. Many patients face difficulties receiving compensation from insurance companies. Veterans may also experience difficulty receiving money for care since the Veteran's Health Administration (a single-payer system) does not recognize mesothelioma as "service-related" in the majority of cases and will not provide compensation to many affected veterans.

In many cases, the best opportunity mesothelioma patients have to cover the cost of their treatment, lost income and other expenses is through a lawsuit.

Components Contributing to Case Value

The value of a mesothelioma case can vary a great deal depending on several factors such as:

  • the liable party (in most cases, the manufacturer of the asbestos product or its successor)
  • where and under what circumstances the exposure occurred
  • stage and prognosis of the disease
  • the victim's occupation and former income
  • the victim's family status (married, dependent children, etc.)
  • the jurisdiction

Based on this information, an experienced asbestos litigator will determine whether or not you have a strong case and how much to ask for when filing the lawsuit.

Court Awards

Court awards in mesothelioma cases fall into two categories: compensatory and punitive.

Compensatory damage awards include:

  • medical costs (including home and/or hospice care)
  • loss of income
  • loss of consortium (when a spouse can no longer engage in conjugal relations)
  • pain and suffering

The first two issues are very specific, objective and measurable and can be quantified and easily documented. The last two are more subjective and putting a dollar amount on companionship and personal physical pain is difficult. A physician's expert testimony can be helpful in this regard.

Punitive awards are another matter. In some states, these awards have run into the millions of dollars, although they have also been reduced or overturned on appeal.

Settling

A corporate defendant may offer to settle out-of-court if lawyers determine it will be less costly. Many corporations also want to avoid controversy and media attention. This is another reason why a company may offer to settle - to avoid the negative publicity that a court trial would surely bring.

It is important to understand that an offer to settle is not an admission of liability. Usually, such a settlement has strings attached - namely that the defendant will not discuss the case with any members of the press. In addition, accepting a settlement means that the defendant henceforth relinquishes his/her right to pursue further action against the defendant. A qualified, experienced asbestos litigation attorney can determine whether or not this is the best option for a client and can negotiate such a settlement when appropriate.

An out-of-court settlement is considered a desirable outcome because it avoids the cost and time needed for a trial, and may result in compensation paid to the victim in a more expedited fashion.

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