It is rare that defendants in a mesothelioma lawsuit don’t settle out of court. Settlements range from thousands to millions of dollars. The average settlement is around $1 million.
Settling a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Every settlement starts with a person who believes their asbestos exposure was the fault of their employer. The two most important actors in a mesothelioma lawsuit are the plaintiff and the defendant. In a mesothelioma lawsuit, the plaintiff is the mesothelioma victim and the defendant is the asbestos company.
Asbestos companies settle out of court because they don’t want to risk losing in a trial verdict. Settlements ensure the best outcome both parties involved.
An asbestos company may decide to settle if:
- They don’t have the time to prepare for a trial.
- They believe they will lose a jury trial.
- There are steep legal fees in going ahead with a jury trial.
- They have lost previous lawsuits.
In every case, it is up to the plaintiff’s attorney to show that the person become sick because of their exposure to asbestos. More evidence gathered against the defendant can lead to a larger settlement. The goal of the plaintiff’s lawyer is to find overwhelming proof of corporate negligence. That means finding evidence that the asbestos company knowingly put you in danger.
The money given out in a settlement can come from company funds or from insurance the company has that covers for these types of lawsuits. Ultimately, if an insurance company is involved, the insurance company will determine how much they are willing to pay the victim in an out-of-court settlement.
Did You Know? According to a 2007 litigation report, the average mesothelioma settlement is more than a million dollars. The settlement often comes from multiple defendants. The authors of the 2007 report state more precisely that “the total recovery of the typical mesothelioma claimant will be between $1.0 million and $1.4 million.”
Why Settlements Are Beneficial to Both Parties
Because jurors often award more money to the victim than is awarded in a settlement, the defendant (the company) often offers to settle the case out of court. The company will make an offer they think the plaintiff will accept. Very few cases actually go to trial. Settlements are the norm in most asbestos-related cases.
Why Defendants Want to Settle
Companies settle to minimize their risk. If the company was highly negligent, they risk paying a large amount of punitive damages in court. The defendant is more likely to settle out of court to avoid paying even more if they lose their verdict. A losing verdict is more costly than a settlement for asbestos companies.
If the company has already lost a trial verdict in the past, they are even more likely to settle. They don’t want to undertake another trial defense knowing they are likely to lose. Your lawyer is likely to negotiate a higher settlement if the asbestos company has lost in the past.
Why Plaintiffs Want to Settle
Mesothelioma victims settle out of court because it guarantees payment. There is no guarantee that a plaintiff will win a trial verdict, no matter how strong their case is. Settlement money also tends to come to the victim faster than it would in a jury trial.
If the company offers too little money, the attorney for the victim may make a counter offer. They attorney may even threaten taking the case to trial during negotiations. A settlement can happen anytime between the time of the claim and the time just before the case goes to trial.
Class Action Suits
Your case might be part of a class action lawsuit. These are cases where there is more than one person suing the same company. At any point, one or more of the victims may decide to settle out of court. Sometimes the company doesn’t believe they are liable and will refuse to settle, preferring to see what happens in a jury trial. This is rare.
Determining Settlement Amounts
The amount of money the victim gets varies from case to case. If the company being sued is highly liable for the illness the victim has as a result of asbestos exposure, the company will be more likely to pay more money in a settlement and won’t risk losing in a jury trial.
The most important factor determining your settlement amount remains your asbestos exposure history. Determining this history is the first step to preparing your lawsuit. If you don’t remember your exact exposure history, it’s okay. Good mesothelioma lawyers have the resources to determine how you were exposed on the job based on where you worked, who you worked for and the types of materials that company used.
After your lawyer files a formal complaint, he or she will start gathering evidence against the defendants. Your lawyer will request corporate documents showing that the company knew your asbestos exposure was dangerous. Your exposure history is also part of the evidence in the case. In general, more evidence against a company can increase a settlement amount.
There are also other factors that help determine your settlement amount. How much you get paid in a settlement also depends on factors such as:
- Living and medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Proof of company negligence
- Lost wages and earning potential
- Medical history
- Number of companies you file a claim against
- Location of your claim
Sometimes, more than one company is responsible for the individual’s asbestos-related injury. Many asbestos claims involve upwards of 30 separate companies believed to be negligent in causing the victim’s illness. The companies may decide to band together and create a settlement amount that everyone can agree on. The companies all contribute to the victim as part of the settlement. If you’re interested in learning more about these types of funds, we can help you start the process now.
Did You Know? There were more than 700,000 claims filed due to an asbestos-related illness up to 2002. According to the Rand Institute for Civil Justice, “At least 8,400 defendants and insurers have paid $70 billion to settle these claims.” The plaintiffs who received these settlements weren’t only mesothelioma patients. They had varying types of diseases caused by asbestos exposure. People with lung cancer and asbestosis also won settlements.
Finding a Mesothelioma Lawyer
This is the next step if you’ve decided to aim for a settlement. Finding an attorney for your asbestos lawsuit won’t be hard. But choosing a good attorney that can expertly handle your case may be. You need to choose a lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma cases. You also need a lawyer who is properly licensed. Your lawyer should also have experience representing veterans, since vets make up the largest group of mesothelioma patients.
Three things to look for in from a mesothelioma lawyer:
- Experience and resources with a proven track record
- Ability to handle your case while you handle treatment
- Trustworthiness and compassion
Believing in your lawyer should be near the top of your list when choosing someone to handle your case. Besides that, good lawyers are experienced in negotiating quick settlements with high payout. A mesothelioma settlement can set your finances right and give peace of mind. It can put your family on track to a better future. Let us help you find a lawyer today.