A mesothelioma diagnosis is life-changing. Treatment is very expensive, and the disease moves quickly, often faster than its victims can act. An experienced mesothelioma law firm can help navigate the medical, financial, and legal challenges patients face so families can focus on what is most important: quality of life.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare and incurable cancer that starts in the linings of the major organs. The average life expectancy for patients with mesothelioma is around 22.5 months.
There are four types of mesothelioma, each affecting a different area in the body:
Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs (pleura). It is the most common type of mesothelioma, representing about 75% of all cases.
Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). It is the second most common mesothelioma type.
Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the lining of the heart (pericardium). It is extremely rare, accounting for only about 1% of all mesothelioma cases.
Testicular mesothelioma develops in the lining of the testes (tunica vaginalis). It is one of the rarest forms of mesothelioma, with only a few hundred cases having ever been reported.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral known to be extremely durable and resistant to heat and fire.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become embedded into nearby tissue. Over time, the fibers irritate healthy tissue and even cause the formation of malignant (cancerous) mesothelioma tumors.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partially banned some asbestos-containing products in 1989. However, asbestos is still not completely banned in the U.S. — despite the known risks. Even more shocking, the dangers of asbestos were known by the 1940s but were hidden by manufacturers of asbestos-containing products until lawsuits started in the 1980s to protect their profits.
Who Is at Risk for Mesothelioma?
Asbestos is inexpensive and was used widely throughout the 20th century in countless industrial and commercial products. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, so anyone who was exposed may be at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Although it only takes one fiber to cause asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma is linked with repeated exposure.
This puts the following groups at higher risk:
- Military men and women (especially U.S. Navy service members and those who worked in shipyards)
- Auto mechanics
- Railroad workers
Since mesothelioma symptoms take 20-50 years to develop, victims are often unaware that their cancer was caused by asbestos exposure decades prior to diagnosis.
If you or someone you love was diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a mesothelioma lawsuit.
In general, there are two types of mesothelioma lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death.
If the mesothelioma patient files suit, it is a personal injury lawsuit, and the patient is the plaintiff. Similarly, if a family files on a patient’s behalf, after the patient passed away, it is known as a wrongful death lawsuit, and the patient’s family or appointed representative is the plaintiff.
The defendant in a mesothelioma lawsuit is the manufacturer(s) of asbestos-containing products allegedly at fault.
When a mesothelioma lawsuit is filed, the lawyers of the plaintiff and the defendant investigate the claim and gather evidence. Each side argues their client’s case, and the lawsuit can be resolved by either a settlement or a verdict.
Mesothelioma Settlements vs Verdicts
Settlements occur when a case is resolved out of court. When this happens, the defendant is released of any further liability but must pay the plaintiff an agreed to sum of money. Settlements are significantly more common in mesothelioma lawsuits.
In a mesothelioma trial, a judge or jury determines the verdict, but there is no guarantee that the injured mesothelioma patient will walk away with compensation. Trials can take years to resolve, which is time that most mesothelioma patients do not have.
Given the risk that comes with a trial, most mesothelioma attorneys recommend settling out of court. The average for a settlement is around $1 million to $1.4 million, but you may receive more or less depending on the details of your case.
Noteworthy verdicts and settlements for mesothelioma include:
- $250 million verdict: The largest verdict in the history of asbestos litigation was awarded to an Indiana steelworker (reported by Simmons Hanly Conroy).
- $34.1 million verdict: A jury awarded this amount to a roofing worker who was exposed to asbestos at an Illinois refinery and later developed an asbestos-related cancer (reported by Simmons Hanly Conroy).
- $10.5 million settlement: The settlement was reached with several companies contributing to asbestos exposure at refineries and foundries that caused a pipefitter’s mesothelioma (reported by Sokolove Law).
Other Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
In addition to helping you file a lawsuit, your mesothelioma attorney may also pursue other types of compensation on your behalf, ensuring claims are filed in a timely manner.
You may also be able to access compensation from:
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos trust funds were court-ordered to be set aside by manufacturers of asbestos-containing products who filed for bankruptcy. There is an estimated $30 billion set aside in these trusts.
VA Benefits for Mesothelioma
United States military veterans, retirees, and their loved ones may be entitled to benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA benefits may include medical care and money granted through disability compensation.
To learn if you may be eligible for these other forms of compensation, talk to an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.
Proving liability and getting money for an asbestos claim is a complicated process in which you will have to establish a clear link between your illness and the asbestos-containing products and manufacturers responsible for your exposure.
When you work with a mesothelioma lawyer, they will take on the responsibility of building a strong case on your behalf. This way, you can focus on receiving life-extending treatments and spending time with loved ones.
Your mesothelioma lawyer will do the legwork to help you get the most money possible in the least amount of time. Choosing the right lawyer could mean the difference between winning or losing your case.
Some things to consider before hiring a mesothelioma attorney are:
- Does the lawyer offer a free in-person consultation?
- Does the law firm offer online consultations (for Covid-19 Safety)?
- Does the law firm work on a contingency fee basis where clients pay nothing unless their case is successful?
- How many years of experience does the law firm have handling asbestos cases?
- Does the law firm have a history of success with mesothelioma claims?
FAQ About Mesothelioma Lawyers and Lawsuits
When should I file my mesothelioma claim?
Mesothelioma claims have statutes of limitations, which place rigid time constraints on each case. Because statutes of limitations vary by state and by the details of each claim, it is important to seek high-quality legal assistance without delay.
In some states, you only have one year after diagnosis to file your mesothelioma claim, so reach out to a trusted attorney as soon as possible.
Do I need to find a mesothelioma lawyer near me?
No. Many people believe it is best to find a mesothelioma lawyer close to their home, but this is not always the case.
An experienced mesothelioma law firm with a nationwide network of attorneys can help you file your claim in the state that will maximize your compensation. National law firms and lawyers have the resources needed to successfully fight on your behalf so you are fully and fairly compensated.
Can mesothelioma compensation help pay for treatment?
Yes. Even with good health insurance, the cost of mesothelioma treatment can be astronomical, with some patients paying over $400,000 in the first year.
Compensation from a mesothelioma settlement amounts to $1 million to $1.4 million on average, allowing you to cover the costs of care and provide for your family for years to come.
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