Pleural Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Filing an asbestos lawsuit may result in significant compensation for patients with pleural mesothelioma, but the decision to file a lawsuit should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, our Patient Advocates are available to give you more information about the pleural mesothelioma lawsuit process and help you locate an experienced attorney to file your claim.
The main reason people file pleural mesothelioma lawsuits is to obtain compensation to help with substantial financial burdens
Financial burdens include:
- Palliative care
- Medical equipment
- Lost wages
- Travel costs
Treating pleural mesothelioma usually includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. These treatments alone may be too expensive for some people, especially those without adequate health care coverage.
But there are many health care expenses not necessarily covered by health insurance, such as the costs of traveling for treatment, participating in clinical trials or meeting with specialists. Compensation obtained through a lawsuit can help pay for these costs, as well as the costs of alternative therapies.
Another reason people file claims is to help support their loved ones. Pleural mesothelioma injuries usually result in lost income for the household. They also may cause extreme emotional strain. Compensation can help patients and loved ones receive counseling to deal with these issues.
People also file pleural mesothelioma claims to hold companies responsible for their actions. Asbestos-related injuries are preventable and can be avoided if companies properly disclose and warn workers about asbestos dangers and follow appropriate safety precautions.
What to Expect During a Lawsuit
You should be aware the case process has several layers. The three major stages of a case are the filing process, discovery process and trial.
How to File an Asbestos Claim
If you decide to sue for your pleural mesothelioma injuries, you will have to provide certain information about your injury and asbestos exposure in order to file your claim and receive possible compensation. The good news is that experienced pleural mesothelioma attorneys are available to help you gather the necessary information and file your legal complaint on your behalf.
Here are examples of information they likely will ask you about:
- Your medical diagnosis, providers and history
- Your work history
- Other relevant asbestos exposure history (homes, construction sites, household and industrial products, or naturally occurring asbestos sites)
- Medical expenses
- How your illness has affected your income and daily life
In particular, your attorney will be interested in information that demonstrates the severity of your claim. Many court rules and state laws limit active lawsuits to the most severe cases in order to reduce the size of case dockets.
After you file a complaint, the parties will file legal documents on a range of issues to prepare the case for trial. The defendants will usually try to have the case dismissed.
In the discovery process, the parties exchange documents and hold depositions to gather evidence. Defendants often try to drag this stage out as long as possible. Unfortunately, this seems particularly true when the plaintiff is severely ill.
Although your attorneys will manage the daily tasks in your lawsuit, it is important to keep them informed of your health status so they can try to expedite your case as much as possible. Also, if you have to be deposed or decide to be present for any part of the case proceedings, your attorney can make sure you are as comfortable as possible and have access to appropriate medical care. You should not have to compromise your health in order to exercise your legal options.
This is the stage of the lawsuit where a jury hears your case and makes a decision. It can take a couple of years or more for an asbestos lawsuit to reach the first day of trial. To manage cases more efficiently, complaints are usually grouped with similar cases for trial scheduling. It also includes all of the court filings that determine what issues will be addressed at trial, what evidence will be presented, and who will testify.
As a pleural mesothelioma patient, your case likely will be among the most severe cases prioritized for trial. Since the average survival rate following a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis is often measured in months, your attorney can also be expected to ask the court to fast-track your case for faster resolution. They will also make sure your asbestos exposure and medical history are documented and that your claims are argued clearly in the court filings.
If your health is rapidly declining, your attorney may be able to get your case expedited.
When it's time to try your case, a jury will usually be selected to decide whether the defendants are liable and whether you will receive compensation. A plaintiff also has the choice of having liability decided by a judge. That's known as a "bench trial." But plaintiffs typically choose to have personal injury cases heard by juries. Your attorney will note your preference when you file your complaint.
In addition to determining whether each defendant is responsible for the plaintiff's injuries, the judge or jury also must determine the extent to which each defendant is liable. Before the jury begins deliberating, the judge will give the jury instructions on how to apply the law to the specific facts of the case. For instance, in a trial involving a boiler mechanic in the U.S. Navy, an employee who maintains the gasket manufacturer's sales records might be questioned about when the company supplied a particular gasket for the boilers used on the ship.
If you receive a favorable trial verdict, you may have to wait some time before receiving payment. Defendants usually can be expected to appeal losing trial verdicts. There may be multiple levels of appeals in different courts. However, your attorneys may be able to negotiate a settlement that will allow you to recover damages faster.
As you can see, there are few certainties and many factors and issues at stake during an asbestos trial. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable, experienced pleural mesothelioma attorney on your side. In addition to presenting the most persuasive case possible, they can help you understand the case process leading up to and including the trial.
Proving Your Case
There is a strong link between asbestos exposure and pleural mesothelioma. As a result, proving that asbestos caused your injuries is usually not a big obstacle for a pleural mesothelioma patient who has documentation and proof of their diagnosis.
The more difficult aspect of proving these cases usually comes when it's time to assign responsibility. You must be able to show that each defendant was at least partially responsible for your injuries. Because usually more than one defendant is responsible, it is important to have documents and testimony that includes dates and locations to support your exposure history. The strength and thoroughness of this evidence will affect your chances for success.
It is always best to talk to a qualified pleural mesothelioma attorney to get specific information about your case and possible range of compensation available.