The amount of mesothelioma compensation from a lawsuit is usually determined through settlement negotiations. If the lawsuit goes to trial, a jury will decide how much compensation should be paid. In contrast, asbestos trust funds and VA benefits compensate according to set formulas.
How to Obtain Compensation for Mesothelioma
To obtain compensation for pleural mesothelioma, you must gather medical records of the illness, determine who is liable for causing it, and then file the appropriate claims.
Gathering Medical Records
To be eligible for compensation, you must have medical documentation that you were diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma or show that your loved one died from the asbestos-related cancer. This documentation should include a statement from a doctor that the disease was caused by asbestos exposure.
Next, you have to determine which companies are liable for the asbestos exposure that caused the mesothelioma.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can identify what types of claims you can file for compensation. Law firms that specialize in asbestos cases have archival resources that can help you remember what worksites and products caused the asbestos exposure.
Depending on your asbestos exposure history, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit, trust fund claims, claims for government benefits or a combination of different types of claims. An attorney who focuses on mesothelioma cases can advise you on the best way to maximize your compensation.
Seeking mesothelioma compensation is complex because the U.S. government has never created a centralized compensation scheme the way many other countries have.
In America, people harmed by asbestos usually have to rely on litigation to get the financial resources they need. More than 2,000 mesothelioma lawsuits were filed in 2018 alone, according to a KCIC Industry Report.
Types of Mesothelioma Compensation and Average Amounts
There are different processes for filing mesothelioma claims, and they can result in a wide range of compensation amounts.
Lawsuit Settlements and Trial Verdicts
Because workers’ compensation and veterans benefits usually provide only modest financial resources, filing a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit may be the best way to get enough compensation to cover the heavy costs that come with pleural mesothelioma.
Most pleural mesothelioma lawsuits are resolved through out-of-court settlement negotiations. It’s rare for a mesothelioma lawsuit to go all the way to trial.
Average Compensation from Mesothelioma Lawsuits
- Trial Verdict: $2.4 million
- Settlement: $1 million to $1.4 million
Source: Mealey’s Litigation Report, 2016
In a lawsuit, the amount of compensation depends on how badly the plaintiff has suffered, not how much the defendants say they can pay. However, many factors affect how much compensation someone will receive from a mesothelioma lawsuit.
A qualified attorney will explain how the following factors affect your individual case:
- Type of Lawsuit: Personal injury lawsuits usually result in more compensation than wrongful death lawsuits.
- Strength of Evidence: The more proof you have that the defendants acted negligently, the more likely you are to win your case at trial. This puts you in a better position during settlement negotiations.
- Amount of Expenses: Juries consider the medical bills, lost income and other expenses that result from a mesothelioma diagnosis when deciding how much compensation to award.
- Location of Court: Different jurisdictions require different standards of evidence, and some jurisdictions limit how much juries can award in trial verdicts. Your lawyer will advise you on which jurisdiction is best to file your claim in.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Fund Payouts
Many asbestos companies have gone out of business or filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of mesothelioma lawsuits. In many cases, they were required to set up special asbestos trust funds so future claimants would still have a source of compensation.
Average Compensation from Asbestos Trust Funds
- Total Paid Out to Each Claimant: $300,000 to $600,000
- Number of Trust Claims Filed: Around 20
Source: Mealey’s Asbestos Bankruptcy Report, 2016
Each asbestos trust fund sets a standard amount of compensation for a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis, so there are no settlement negotiations or jury deliberations. A trust fund claim just has to include proof of the claimant’s diagnosis and asbestos exposure history.
However, many trust funds only pay a percentage of their standard amount because the administrators worry the trust will run out of money if it pays at the normal level.
Veterans with pleural mesothelioma are eligible to receive compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs if their asbestos exposure happened during military service.
VA Compensation for Service-Related Pleural Mesothelioma
- Disability Compensation: Starts at $3,057 per month
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Starts at $1,319 per month
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2018
As with other types of mesothelioma claims, a VA claim must include medical records and documentation of the claimant’s asbestos exposure history.