Mesothelioma Litigation: How to file a Mesothelioma Lawsuits for Asbestos Exposure
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. In most cases, this exposure could have been prevented.
Mesothelioma Lawsuits are filed against the people responsible for a person’s exposure. Most lawsuits never make it to trial.
Most defendants pay out-of-court settlements.
A mesothelioma lawsuits can appear to be overwhelming, particularly as patients experience their treatment venture.
A mesothelioma legal counselor can give help all through the legitimate procedure, giving an exhaustive comprehension of how to effectively record and win an asbestos claim.
Filing a mesothelioma claim can help mesothelioma disease patients and their families look for remuneration from the organizations that presented them to asbestos. The two types of mesothelioma claims incorporate personal injury and wrongful death claim
The two kinds of cases have significant cutoff times and legal time limits, just as a point by point legitimate procedure that should be followed.
An accomplished mesothelioma legal counselor can best prompt patients and their families on the favorable circumstances and disservices of seeking after a mesothelioma lawsuit for financial compensation.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Contingent upon who is documenting the case, mesothelioma patients or friends and family may file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
The sort of claim varies dependent on who is recording, where the cash is going and what costs are being mulled over while deciding the pay sum.
Notwithstanding close to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, mesothelioma and asbestos cases might be dealt with as legal claims or through multidistrict litigation.
On the off chance that your family is bearing the weight of mesothelioma, asbestos suit might be directly for you and your friends and family. There are two (2) types of legitimate cases your family might have to file.
Personal Injury Claims:
* A person diagnosed with mesothelioma is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the companies responsible for exposing them to asbestos.
* Asbestos liability is usually based on companies’ failure to warn employees and consumers about the dangers linked to inhaling the toxic mineral.
* When compensation is awarded in personal injury lawsuits, mesothelioma patients are the recipients.
* Claims specific damages due to illness caused by asbestos exposure.
* Allows the patient to recover money for treatment, travel, lost income, pain, suffering and related costs.
Wrongful Death Claims:
Allows the family to recover compensation related to outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income potential, loss of consortium and related costs.
Similarly, if a mesothelioma patient files a personal injury lawsuit but passes away before it is resolved, the estate may continue the claim.
Submitted by surviving family member after the death of a loved one from mesothelioma.
Filed against the company or companies responsible for the asbestos exposure leading to death.
Claims specific damages related to the death of the individual.
Why Should You File Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Compensation from an asbestos lawsuit can reduce financial hardships for you and your family.
Mesothelioma lawsuits can provide money for:
Treatments not covered by insurance
Pain and suffering related to the illness
Funeral expenses and end-of-life decisions
A stable future for your loved ones
A qualified mesothelioma attorney can help you decide whether to pursue a lawsuit and guide you through the process.
Individual Lawsuits, Class Action Lawsuits and Multidistrict Litigation
Your mesothelioma claim might be taken care of exclusively or joined with other comparable cases through a legal claim or multidistrict case.
- A single plaintiff files a lawsuit against one or more companies regarding injuries caused by asbestos exposure.
- Each side files motions and presents their evidence and information to the judge.
- Resolution occurs when a settlement is offered and accepted or when the trial jury reaches a verdict.
Class Action Lawsuits
- An individual or group of people file a lawsuit on behalf of a group of people that have similar injuries caused by the same incident. This can represent a few hundred people to millions of people.
- Each individual can decide whether to remain a part of the class action or to opt out.
- Most asbestos lawsuits are handled as individual cases or part of a multidistrict litigation.
Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
- Multiple people file individual claims using a process that regularizes similar complaints.
- The procedure is designed to be quick, allowing the courts to handle a large amount of cases without lumping plaintiffs into a single class.
- The primary MDL handling mesothelioma cases is MDL 875, In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, which is managed by the Eastern Pennsylvania District of the United States District Court. This includes more than 186,000 cases since it was formed in 2006.
Ultimately, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to provide you with information regarding all possibilities and advise what is best for you.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process
Each mesothelioma case is unique, particularly if the offended party acknowledges a settlement and the case can’t to court. Be that as it may, there is a general procedure that must be followed that can likewise give understanding to what patients and their families can anticipate.
Your attorney will gather information about your history of asbestos exposure to determine who is responsible for your condition and where to file your lawsuit. You may be eligible to file your lawsuit in more than one jurisdiction.
You’ll then discuss your medical history, including your diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.
Your lawyer will prepare and file a written complaint with a court to start the legal process.
Because many years have likely passed since your asbestos exposure, the responsible company could now be a different company or be bankrupt. It may take some time to locate and serve the appropriate people with your complaint. Your attorney will oversee this process.
- Medical reports from facilities where you (or your loved one) were treated for mesothelioma
- Employment history, military service records, union membership and other documents that support your employment history
- Statements from witnesses such as coworkers, family members, friends and product-identification specialists
Each defendant in your lawsuit will receive a copy of your complaint. They will have a certain amount of time, usually 30 days, to respond.
Defendants rarely admit fault. They most likely will deny your claims and argue your complaint is not valid or someone else is responsible for your exposure to asbestos. Your attorney will reply to each defendant’s responses.
Defendants may allege that:
Exposure to asbestos and other toxic substances happened at home or elsewhere, not just at work.
Your family history shows significant health problems among relatives.
Smoking, drinking or drug use caused your health problems.
You worked at other places where asbestos was a bigger problem.
Defendants may also include a settlement request in their response, but this is rare. Companies may be willing to settle right away in order to avoid a lengthy and costly lawsuit. However, the first settlement offer may be very low.
Expect to wait until closer to trial, or during the trial itself, to receive a reasonable offer.
Lawyers on both sides will gather information about your allegations, asking the other side to answer written questions, produce documents and participate in depositions. Some of the information may become evidence used at trial.
You may need to participate in a videotaped deposition and answer questions under oath from the defendants’ lawyers. This is often done from the comfort of your own home and under the guidance of your attorney.
Discovery may take several months, but if you are very sick, your attorney may ask the court to speed the process along before your condition worsens.
Before a trial starts, defendants may offer to resolve the case by offering you money. Mesothelioma settlements depend on multiple factors and can influence your decision of whether to go to trial.
If you decline a settlement offer, it’s possible the defendant will make another offer. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf.
Settlements and trial verdicts vary depending on the case. While verdicts typically produce more compensation, settlements may award claimants quicker. This can make it easier to pay for cancer treatments and expenses.
Going to trial is rare. Even if a case does go to court, you may not be required to appear. The trial process varies depending on where you file a claim. Results depend on your history of asbestos exposure, the state where the lawsuit is filed, your medical history and other factors.
If you win and the defendant does not appeal, you will usually start receiving payments a few months after the verdict.
If you win the trial, defendants may decide to file an appeal. There is a limited amount of time to file an appeal, usually between 30 and 180 days from the time the verdict is given. This will delay any monetary award, but defendants will need to post “bond” for the amount awarded while the appeal proceeds.
If the defendants lose their appeal, you will start receiving payments. If the appeal is successful, defendants may end up paying a smaller amount or nothing at all.
What to Expect During a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit can be emotionally challenging, especially if any part of the process goes on longer than anticipated. The best way to avoid or deal with unexpected complications is to have a team of dedicated attorneys who specialize in asbestos litigation.
Additionally, patients or loved ones can familiarize themselves with the process to get a better idea of what to expect.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Duration
Mesothelioma victims often ask how long they can expect a mesothelioma lawsuit to last, especially when undergoing treatment after diagnosis.
The amount of time that it will take to gain compensation is very difficult to predict, as it can vary based on a variety of factors, including:
- Number of plaintiffs filing
- Current docket load of chosen venue
- Number of defendants named in the complaint
- Individual lawsuit vs. consolidated case
- Number and type of pretrial motions filed
- Complexity of facts that need to be determined
- Scheduling and availability of all involved parties
A study of consolidated cases in New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) showed that asbestos trials can range anywhere from 11 – 113 days, with an average of 11 – 38 days per plaintiff.
Those averages also don’t include the weeks or months of consultation, research and discovery that happen before the trial. Lawsuits that are settled without going to trial may be shorter, but the duration can still vary greatly based on the factors above.
Behavioral and Medical Counterclaims
The defendant may try to defend their case by making counterclaims, such as blaming your medical diagnosis on other factors. This can occur before or during the trial. Asbestos companies may try to assert that your diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos cancer was caused by other factors, including:
- Unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking or using illegal substances
- Exposure to asbestos somewhere other than identified, such as at home or a different workplace (for those who faced occupational asbestos exposure)
- Genetic problems or a family history of predisposition for mesothelioma or other forms of cancer
They may also challenge the accuracy of your medical diagnosis or the qualifications of the medical professional that gave your diagnosis. While disconcerting, your mesothelioma lawyer can skillfully address these counterclaims on your behalf.
When faced with a lawsuit regarding asbestos exposure, the defendant may also attack the manner in which your complaint was filed. Some possible challenges include:
- That the time limit afforded by the statute of limitations has expired
- Other technical problems with the petition, even if it is filed within the right time frame
- Problems with the venue chosen or reasons why a different venue is more suitable
- Your authorization to file on behalf of someone who has died from mesothelioma
When handled by an established law firm that has spent time researching and building all aspects of your case, these types of counterclaims are rarely successful.
Know Common Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Deciding whether or not to file a mesothelioma lawsuit can be difficult, especially for patients and family members that have no experience with the legal system.
Below are common questions to keep in mind, though seeking a consultation with a lawyer is the best way to get answers to all of your questions.
Q: How Long Does a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Take?
A: The legal process for an asbestos-related lawsuit depends on the health of the plaintiff. If you are in poor health, the entire process may be expedited. If there is no urgency, the process may take several months or longer.
In either case, the defendant typically tries to drag out the process. Your attorney will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible. They will handle each step so you can focus on your health and spend time with your loved ones.
Q:Will I Need to Travel?
A: You typically will not need to travel. Mesothelioma attorneys can often handle the entire case process from their office and travel to you when necessary.
The location where you file can affect the length of the case process. Your attorney will help you choose the best jurisdiction for your case. It may be necessary to file outside the state where you live.
Q: How Much Do Mesothelioma Lawyers Charge?
A: Most mesothelioma law firms work on a contingency-fee basis. This typically means your attorney gets paid if you agree to a settlement or win your lawsuit. When you settle or win a case, a percentage of the award will be paid to your lawyer. If not, you pay no attorney fees.
Q: What Should You Expect from a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
A: It is difficult to say what you should expect from a mesothelioma lawsuit because every case is different. Results depend on your history with asbestos exposure, the state where the lawsuit is filed, your medical history and other factors.
Q: Should I Join a Class-Action Lawsuit?
A: In general, mesothelioma class-action lawsuits are uncommon.
Patients with mesothelioma and their families usually have a better chance of getting the compensation they deserve through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
You may be able to join a multidistrict litigation, where individual claims are grouped and processed without lumping plaintiffs into a single class. The largest MDL for mesothelioma cases is managed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Q: I don’t know where/how I was exposed to asbestos. Who do I sue?
A: Your mesothelioma legal team will thoroughly research your personal and occupational history to pinpoint potential instances of asbestos exposure. They will look into where you lived, worked, traveled and served, while also gathering employment records, service records and much more.
Based on these details and documents, it is usually possible to determine where and how you may have been exposed to asbestos by comparing your personal history to a list of known exposure sites and asbestos companies.
Q: What if I’ve never worked for an asbestos company but still have mesothelioma?
A: Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more common that people who never worked at an asbestos company are developing mesothelioma. However, asbestos is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma. Exposure can happen in any number of places, including:
- Secondary exposure
- Nearby mining or manufacturing facilities
- Naturally occurring asbestos deposits
If you have a family member who has worked with asbestos products, you could be at risk of secondhand exposure. For example, as a little girl Heather Von St. James was exposed to asbestos dust brought home on her father’s jacket from a factory, and she developed mesothelioma in her mid-30s as a result.
Q: I lost a loved one to mesothelioma years ago. Can I still file a lawsuit?
A: In addition to each state having different statutes of limitations, some states have different deadlines for personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.
Even if you have missed deadlines in the state that you lived, worked or served, you still may be able to receive financial assistance in one or more other ways.
An experienced lawyer can best discuss your options, which may include:
- Trust funds set up by companies that have admitted liability for asbestos exposure
- Veterans’ benefits if you served in the military
- Workers’ compensation, even if you are already retired
Q: The asbestos company where I worked has gone bankrupt or been bought by another company. Is it too late to get compensation?
A: Starting in the 1970s, after the link between asbestos and mesothelioma was identified a decade earlier, companies began to go bankrupt due to the high numbers of lawsuits being brought against them for personal injury and wrongful death.
As a result, U.S. bankruptcy courts started requiring companies to set up asbestos bankruptcy trust funds (“asbestos trusts”) to pay both current and future claims brought against them.
Currently, there are approximately 60 different asbestos trusts that have been established to pay claims for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Each trust has its own exposure criteria and procedures, so having an attorney who has successfully negotiated with asbestos trusts in the past is the best way to receive compensation.
In cases where an asbestos company has been bought by another company, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against the parent company for damages its subsidiary was responsible for in the past, if an asbestos trust fund does not already exist.
Talk to a qualified lawyer to determine whether filing a legal complaint is the best way to receive compensation.
Current Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits are still filed every year.
A total of 4,029 asbestos lawsuits were filed in 2018, including more than 2,000 related to mesothelioma, according to a KCIC industry report.
Asbestos lawsuits are often the best way to obtain compensation for financial hardships related to a mesothelioma diagnosis. The best advice when considering filing a lawsuit is to seek the legal assistance of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.
File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Your Country/State
Each country/state has its own rules and regulations covering mesothelioma lawsuits and other types of personal injury and wrongful death litigation, including the types and limits of compensation available.
That is why it’s important to work with a recognized mesothelioma law firm that has the experience and resources to handle a lawsuit in any state.