Legal Options

Mesothelioma Compensation

After the initial shock of a mesothelioma diagnosis has subsided, the patient and their loved ones may wish to see compensation to help with medical expenses incurred. Utilizing a qualified attorney may result in monetary gains that can greatly alleviate these burdens. The first question a patient and their family may have is "what is our case worth?"

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer for this. Mesothelioma and asbestos disease litigation is notoriously and massively complex, and there are many factors that can determine the financial outcome of such a case. Although some asbestos cases over the years have resulted in seven and even eight-figure awards, most are less.

In addition to compensatory damages for medical expenses that are not covered by an insurer or workmen's compensation program and loss of income, the plaintiff in an asbestos case may also seek funds to cover final expenses or pain and suffering, though the monetary value of this last item is highly subjective and virtually impossible to quantify. A physician's expert testimony may be valuable making such determinations.

Settlement

Many corporate defendants will want to avoid the publicity of a trial and may offer the defendant an "out-of-court" settlement. This is likely to be less than what is being sought in litigation, but may still be substantial. It is something that the asbestos lawyer can often negotiate. However, if the plaintiff's lawyer believes the amount to be too low and/or his/her client has a strong case, the attorney may recommend proceeding to trial.

If you do accept a settlement, be aware that the defendant is not admitting guilt. You will most likely not be allowed to discuss your case with the press, nor will you be allowed to bring action against them again. Your attorney can advise you as to whether or not this is the best option for you, should the opportunity for a settlement arise.

Going To Court

Not all asbestos litigation is heard in front of a jury. When it is however, the jury has a great deal of latitude in determining punitive damages above and beyond those that are compensatory. In some cases, juries have been known to ask for a larger award than that which was originally sought by the plaintiff. In other cases, this may be reduced, or even eliminated. Some states, such as Alabama, place tight restrictions on these.

Whether you win or lose in court, the defendant will often file an appeal, which can delay payment for several months, or years - and if successful, overturn it altogether.

Bankruptcy

When many asbestos manufacturers faced numerous lawsuits is in the decades following the public's knowledge of asbestos dangers, many companies file for bankruptcy. In order to allow them to survive, some of these companies were ordered to set aside trust funds from which asbestos victims could be compensated.

Unfortunately, many of these trust funds were under-funded, and getting payment from such a fund can be time-consuming. In addition, these trusts are part of a settlement with creditors, which includes asbestos claimants. Under the terms of a typical Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the corporation has to pay only a fraction of what they owe. Again, your attorney can advise you in this matter.

Veterans and Compensation

Although as many as 30 percent or more of all mesothelioma victims are veterans, the Veterans Health Administration rarely recognizes this as a "service-related" condition though many vessels contained the mineral throughout the ship. There are several veterans advocacy groups that may be able to assist veterans suffering from this disease in filing a claim and receive the treatment they have earned for their service.

1800Asbestos.com offers a complimentary packet with information about mesothelioma and the litigation process. Please fill out the request form on this page to receive your comprehensive packet overnight.

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