What Is a Mesothelioma Personal Injury Claim?
A mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit is a legal option for patients with mesothelioma to sue asbestos companies they believe are responsible for their cancer diagnosis.
In addition to holding asbestos product manufacturers responsible for failing to protect workers, these lawsuits provide a legal avenue for asbestos victims to seek compensation to cover medical bills and lost wages.
When a company is held liable for an individual’s injuries, it becomes responsible for compensating them appropriately for the injury it caused. Mesothelioma compensation averages from $1 million to $2.4 million for personal injury claims.
Filing a mesothelioma claim is complicated and best done under the guidance of an experienced mesothelioma attorney. While any law firm may be willing to take your case, you’ll stand to get more compensation by choosing a reputable mesothelioma law firm.
The first mesothelioma lawsuit was filed in 1969 by Clarence Borel, an asbestos worker who was exposed in shipyards and oil refineries. Borel died during trial, but the court awarded more than $79,000 to his estate.
By the end of 2002, approximately 730,000 asbestos claims had been filed in the U.S. In 2019, just over 4,000 asbestos claims were filed in the U.S., according to a KCIC report.
Personal Injury vs. Wrongful Death Claims
In a mesothelioma personal injury claim, the patient with mesothelioma files the claim and becomes the plaintiff in the case. If the patient dies before the claim is resolved, a loved one may take over the claim and transition it into a wrongful death lawsuit.
When this happens, aspects of the claim may change, such as the amount of compensation that may be expected. Deadlines for filing, known as statutes of limitations, may also change.
In many cases, wrongful death claims for mesothelioma don’t receive the same amount of compensation that personal injury claims do. That’s because a patient who is alive is likely to undergo ongoing cancer treatment because there is no cure for mesothelioma. These treatments are expensive and thus affect how much compensation is awarded in personal injury claims.
Once a person dies of mesothelioma, their loved ones typically have two years to file a wrongful death claim. Statutes of limitations vary by state and range from one to six years. A qualified attorney can advise you on how this might affect your claim.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Mesothelioma personal injury lawsuits may be filed as individual lawsuits or as part of multidistrict litigation, also known as MDLs. In the early days of asbestos litigation, many lawsuits were grouped together into a class-action lawsuit, but this approach has fallen out of practice.
Most mesothelioma personal injury lawsuits involve one plaintiff suing one or more asbestos manufacturers to hold them responsible for the plaintiff’s cancer.
A proportionally small number of personal injury lawsuits for mesothelioma are sent to MDL 875, also known as Asbestos Products Liability Litigation in the Eastern Pennsylvania District of the United States District Court. Instead of grouping all cases into a single class-action lawsuit, MDLs group similar cases into one court with one presiding judge.
More than 186,700 asbestos lawsuits have been sent to MDL 875 since its inception in 2006. As of June 2019, there were 28 cases pending in the MDL.
Filing a Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuit
1. Find an Attorney
The most important first step is choosing a qualified mesothelioma attorney. You should consider a top mesothelioma law firm that operates nationwide. These firms offer free consultations so you can get to know them and learn about your legal options.
2. Provide Evidence for the Discovery Phase
Once you pick an attorney, they will get to work developing your case. You will provide details about your work and medical history, where you were exposed to asbestos and the products you worked with. Your attorney will investigate your asbestos exposure history, conduct interviews and record depositions to support your case. They will also work around your treatment schedule and will always put your health first.
3. File a Personal Injury Claim
Once you and your attorney identify the companies responsible for your exposure to asbestos and build evidence for your case, your attorney will properly file your personal injury lawsuit in the best jurisdiction for your claim.
4. Consider Settlement Offers
Few mesothelioma lawsuits go to trial because the vast majority of them end in a settlement. Your attorney will advise you on when to negotiate or accept a mesothelioma settlement offer.
If your personal injury claim is successful, your attorney will ensure you receive your payout in a timely manner. They will also ensure all appropriate government taxes are paid to protect you from owing money to the government in the future.
Having a qualified attorney in your corner to guide you throughout the legal process will help your family secure the most mesothelioma compensation possible for your case.
In addition to filing a personal injury lawsuit, many mesothelioma patients qualify to file multiple asbestos trust fund claims. Your attorney will go over all your legal options and recommend the best options to maximize compensation for your family.