Those Getting Settlements
The settlements are going to those that have ended up with mesothelioma because they were exposed to asbestos. Settlements take place when both parties agree to a resolution and they do not go to court. It is always best to settle because you do not know what will happen in court, and a settlement is a surefire way to receive compensation.
Benefits of Settling
It is always best to settle because then you will know exactly what you are getting. This is not going to be as easy when you are with a judge.
You will be able to focus on your treatment when you make a settlement. You will not have to worry about going to court and taking a long time to finish a case.
Some trials are going to be open to the public. When you work out a settlement your information is going to be private and you will not have to let others know what is going on.
A settlement will be the agreement that was made between the patient or the family and the company that is at fault for the exposure. These are made to avoid going to trial. But, the case will initially progress like it might go to trial. There are a few things that will happen. These include discovery so that all parties know the evidence, depositions and even pretrial.
While this is taking place, the attorney will try to get the company to offer a good settlement. It is going to take a lot of negotiating related to both parties. Most of the time, the claims are going to be settled out of court because of this.
How Much Are Settlements Worth?
There are a lot of claims filed each year and each one is different. There is no way to know just how much is going to be awarded. There was a report that was completed in 2005 by the Rand Corporation. It was found that compensation rose in the 1990’s. There was another studied that was published in 2007 and it found that most settlements are between $1 million and $1.4 million.
Each case is different, so it can be hard to determine the settlement. What you also have to realize is that there are a number of factors that have to be considered.
Some of these factors include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages from not working
- Pain and suffering
- History of exposure
- How much debt has added up
Should You Take Your Case to Trial?
If you are not able to agree to a settlement with the company then you might want to think about going to trial. There is a lot of evidence that the courts often side with the victim. That is why there are so many companies that will settle. It is worth trying to settle first. However, this is going to take a lot of time and energy. You should always work with a professional to determine what you should do.
The Legal Process
Compensation for asbestos exposure is available in two forms: asbestos trust fund claims and lawsuits. Both options benefit from the assistance of a mesothelioma lawyer. They can help walk you through the process and paperwork, ensuring that everything is handled so that you can focus on your treatment.
While each lawsuit or claim will vary based on your individual case and the company from whom you seek compensation, the overall steps are the same.
1. Research Attorneys
Mesothelioma cases require a certain level of expertise. That’s why it’s imperative that you find an experienced attorney who is familiar with all stages of the process and what is needed. You also want to know that your attorney will do everything in their power to help you attain the best settlement and that you work well together.
To get a head start in selecting your attorney, check out our lawyer review or fill out our free consultation form to have a top-rated attorney contact you.
2. Collect Evidence
You will need to work closely with your attorney’s office to collect as much information related to your case as possible. This includes items such as your medical records, especially pertaining to your diagnosis; your employment history, including union membership and/or military service records; and all receipts and bills from your expenses, such as traveling to see specialists, medical bills, and so forth.
Your attorney will also use this information to determine which companies were responsible for your asbestos exposure to ensure the proper parties are held responsible.
3. File a Lawsuit
Once you and your attorney have collected everything needed to a successful mesothelioma claim, your attorney will handle the preparation and filing of the lawsuit. They will work out several details, such as:
Which state will you file in
- Where you currently live
- Where you worked when you were exposed
- (for veterans) Where you served when you were exposed
What type of claim you are filing
- Personal Injury, for patients filing on behalf of themselves
- Wrongful Death, for loved ones filing on behalf of a lost patient
Who the defendant is
- One or multiple defendants
- Which companies were responsible for your exposure
After the lawsuit is filed, the discovery stage begins. During this stage, both your attorney’s office and the defendant’s attorney’s office will file motions and present information for their side of the case.
5. Settlement Discussion
At any point during proceedings, after the lawsuit has been filed, the defendant’s office can present the option of settlement. Your mesothelioma lawyer will contact you or call you into the office to discuss the presented settlement and give their advice regarding the offer. You then have the option to accept the offer, reject it, or submit a counteroffer. Points of consideration for settlements include:
- The first offer is often far lower than the initial lawsuit and is often rejected
- If your claim was filed against multiple defendants, each one has the option to settle or continue to trial; each settlement offer should be considered individually
- Companies who have lost asbestos cases in the past will be more likely to settle quickly, not wishing to face another trial and lose
- Choosing an excellent attorney will ensure they help you fight for the highest settlement.
Should you decide to settle, you will have to sign some paperwork. Should you reject the settlement, the defendant has the chance to come back with another offer and negotiate. Otherwise, the case will continue to trial.
The defendant has time to offer further settlements throughout the court process, so the option to negotiate remains. Should a settlement fail to be agreed upon, the judgement will then fall to the court. Even after a verdict is rendered, the company can still attempt to settle until the entire process is complete. One case on record had a verdict of 250 Million Dollars, but the involved parties settled for less than 50 million after.
When a verdict favors the plaintiff (either the patient or their family members), then the judge or jury is in charge of awarding compensation. The amount varies based on the case; the parties responsible for determine the amount will consider expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, and other applicable factors.
Verdicts typically result in larger compensation amounts, but going to trial carries the risk that the defendant will not be found liable. In contrast, agreeing to a settlement guarantees that you receive compensation from the company.
Victims of asbestos exposure who have developed mesothelioma or other disease are entitled to compensation to help offset any costs and ensure they can maintain quality of life during their treatment. Speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney today to learn more about your options and how you can obtain this compensation.