Since the 1930s, mesothelioma victims and their families have been filing court claims for compensation, but many of those cases never go before a jury. Instead, they end with a settlement.
Mesothelioma settlements are becoming increasingly common as at-fault companies realize the associated costs and the negative public opinion that a trial brings is not beneficial. Instead, many companies would rather settle out of court than go before a judge and jury. Increasingly, lawsuit settlement talks begin shortly after a lawsuit is filed instead of shortly before the trial begins.
There are no guarantees that any court case will end with a settlement. Settlement amounts can vary from state to state, person to person. They are typically tied to associated expenses such as lost wages, medical bills and emotional distress. In addition, they are linked to the plaintiff’s health, the degree of the defendant’s liability and the disease diagnosis.
How Do I get a Settlement?
The first step in a settlement is filing a lawsuit against the at-fault company. Your attorney will prepare the appropriate court documents, go through the discovery process and prepare for a jury trial. During the process, attorneys for both sides will discuss the case. Sometimes, the defendant company may want to settle the case immediately to preclude any public embarrassment. Other times, you may be in the middle of a trial before any settlement talks begin. And other times still, there is no discussion of a settlement at all. A lot depends on how the case is proceeding.
In discussing a possible settlement, attorneys often negotiate the settlement offer to ensure the victim gets the best possible award. If you agree to the settlement award, you also agree to drop any claims, current and future, against the company. It’s important to hire a skilled mesothelioma attorney who can negotiate the best possible settlement.
What are some Different Types of Settlements?
Often, the terms of a mesothelioma settlement include a provision that the amount must be kept private and the company will admit no fault. Your attorney negotiates these and other terms. In recent years, there have been several high-profile mesothelioma court cases that ended with ample settlements before trial:
- A retired 72-year-old New York man, who had served in the Navy aboard various vessels, was awarded $4 million in a mesothelioma settlement.
- The family of a 40-year-old construction worker who died as a result of mesothelioma received a $9.1 million settlement.
- A building maintenance worker who was in constant contact with asbestos won a $2 million settlement.
Despite all of these people developing mesothelioma, the settlement amounts vary widely. The average mesothelioma settlement ranges from $1 million to $1.4 million, while the average trial award is about $2.4 million. Some of the prevailing factors that effect settlement amounts include the extent of injury and the company’s negligence, among other things. Reaching an amicable settlement is a complicated and difficult process that should not be entrusted to just any attorney. Our skilled professionals can help position your case for the best chance for success.
Bates, Charles, et al. “Show Me The Money.” Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. Retrieved from http://www.bateswhite.com/media/pnc/5/media.285.pdf
Morris, Jim. “Facing lawsuits over deadly asbestos, paper giant launched secretive research program.” The Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved from http://www.publicintegrity.org/2013/10/21/13559/facing-lawsuits-over-deadly-asbestos-paper-giant-launched-secretive-research