Compensation differs for each mesothelioma claim.
According to a 2016 Mealey’s Litigation Report, the average mesothelioma trial award is about $2.4 million. The average settlement ranges from $1 million to $1.4 million.
It can be hard to predict how much compensation can come with each case or how a case will be resolved. An experienced asbestos attorney can help gauge your eligibility and case value.
There are various types of mesothelioma claims that may apply to your situation. An attorney can explain your options and help you file the appropriate claim for your circumstances.
If you or your loved one is not filing a claim, there may be other types of financial assistance available.
What Types of Compensation Can You Receive?
Bankruptcy Trust Funds
Many companies that mined asbestos or manufactured products with asbestos no longer exist. Some were bought by other companies, while others went out of business. Some declared bankruptcy because of the large number of asbestos lawsuits filed against them.
This does not mean these companies don’t have money. In bankruptcy protection, many companies were ordered to set up funds to compensate asbestos victims. These funds are known as mesothelioma compensation funds or trust funds.
LEARN ABOUT TRUST FUNDS
Some defendants decide settling a claim is cheaper than racking up more legal fees and risking a loss at trial.
Most mesothelioma attorneys are paid only if their clients’ claims are successful. Defendants’ attorneys, on the other hand, are usually paid an hourly rate throughout the case process, and that cost is not tied to the case outcome.
Other defendants are willing to risk a trial. Even if a case goes to trial, a defendant can opt to negotiate a settlement, particularly if the case seems to be favoring you.
LEARN ABOUT SETTLEMENTS
If your case goes to trial and the defendants do not settle, a jury will rule them liable or not liable. If the defendant is found liable, money is usually awarded to you. Each mesothelioma case is unique, and there are no set guidelines for claim compensation from asbestos exposure.
If you win, the amount owed to you depends on the facts of your case and other factors such as medical costs and lost income.
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How to Get Mesothelioma Compensation
Consider the following steps to get mesothelioma compensation:
Step 1: Find an experienced mesothelioma attorney
Step 2: Work with your attorney to help them discover all about your asbestos exposure history (this step may involve you providing a deposition)
Step 3: Consider all options for compensation that your attorney presents, which may include trust funds and lawsuits
Step 4: If you decide to file a lawsuit, you may have to consider settlement offers from defendants, or your case may go all the way to a jury trial (the latter is relatively rare)
The most important step is finding an attorney with the right experience. You want to select an attorney who exclusively handles mesothelioma lawsuits. They will have enough experience to strategically handle your case and maximize your compensation.
Determining the Value of Trust Fund Claims
Attorneys use their training and experience to estimate what a lawsuit may be worth, but they cannot offer any guarantees. However, there is a more formalized process for evaluating trust fund claims.
Case Valuation Matrix
The managers of asbestos trust funds rely on something called a case valuation matrix. The matrix is a legal document that assigns base dollar figures to cancer types and then recalculates that base amount with additional information.
For example, the matrix will assign one baseline dollar amount for mesothelioma, one for lung cancer and one for asbestosis. Those dollar amounts can vary by state or region. The baseline dollar figure can be as low as several hundred dollars or as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Once the baseline is established, some specifics of your case will influence an increase or decrease your level of compensation.
Factors Affecting the Value of a Trust Fund Claim
Your location, age, gender and work history
A history of military service
Physical and mental distress (also known as “pain and suffering”)
Where the asbestos exposure occurred
Which asbestos products were involved
Expenses That May Impact Your Claim
Medical expenses, including those not covered by health insurance
Travel costs for medical treatments
The cost of continued medical care
Your ability to support dependents
An attorney can review information about your trust fund claim and provide a range of expected values. This estimate can assist you in deciding whether to pursue a claim.
Remembering Your Exposure
No one is expected to remember everything about their own work, medical, life and exposure history. It’s simply too much information, and the time between exposure and diagnosis is too long.
That’s why the single most beneficial action you can take if you are considering an asbestos claim is to speak with a qualified mesothelioma attorney. They have resources other attorneys do not have, and those resources can help your case significantly.
Resources Exclusive to Mesothelioma Lawyers
Product identification books featuring pictures of asbestos-containing products and their packaging. These kinds of images can help jog your memory of products long forgotten. Knowledge of exposure to specific products or brands can significantly raise the value of your case.
Employment records are accessible through the federal government with your approval. Likewise, a good lawyer will know to dig through your medical records (with your permission, of course) and establish certain facts about you, your work history and your life history.
Attorneys will also attempt to identify and locate co-workers, friends, shipmates or other witnesses who can help confirm your exposure history.
Experienced attorneys may also be able to compare your case to other cases they have handled and see how it stacks up. Case histories can be a good indicator of what can be expected in your case.
Deciding whether to file a lawsuit is an important decision in any situation, especially if you are coping with a serious illness.
When Will I Receive Compensation?
Compensation from an asbestos lawsuit usually comes after a settlement is reached or you win a trial verdict.
A verdict from a jury trial could take years, but defendants may offer to settle quickly.
Money from asbestos trusts can come within a few months.