If you or a loved one have been affected by mesothelioma or asbestos cancer, you likely have several questions regarding a claim. Read on to learn more about settlements and verdicts, and contact a lawyer for more advice and guidance.
Mesothelioma cases generally result in financial compensation to help cover losses caused by the medical condition. You might be wondering about how such payouts are rendered, who qualifies, what they cover, and other issues. This article will help answer your questions and assist you in determining whether pursuing legal action is right for you.
At D’Amico Law, we are a family-run, Pittsburgh-based law firm that has extensive experience in handling asbestos exposure cases in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Our team is on hand to provide you the guidance you need to obtain justice. Contact us at (412) 652-9300 to schedule a free consultation where we can answer your questions in more detail.
1. How Much is a Mesothelioma Claim Worth?
This depends; every mesothelioma claim is different. Therefore, it is difficult to approximate exactly how much each case will be worth. In general, a settlement or verdict from a mesothelioma lawsuit can be substantial, and may cover:
- Medical bills and hospital expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of the ability to generate income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- In cases where a death has occurred, wrongful death expenses may be covered
Injuries from asbestos exposure can involve years and even decades of such losses, so the payout from a lawsuit will factor in long-term expenses and costs.
2. Who Can Obtain a Mesothelioma Settlement?
Individuals who have developed mesothelioma or other types of asbestos cancer may be eligible for a settlement. Their lawyer would need to prove that their medical condition was directly caused by exposure to asbestos-containing materials.
Such proof is not an easy task. The person may have been exposed years ago at a job site, and it may be difficult to trace the exposure back to a specific employer or work area. However, an experienced asbestos exposure lawyer will know how to research work histories and medical records to provide documentation for a claim.
3. What is the Average Settlement for Mesothelioma Victims?
Again, this question is difficult to approximate, as each asbestos exposure incident involves many factors. For instance, a person who has suffered under many years of their condition will have a much different settlement amount than a person who hasn’t lived with their illness for that long.
As mentioned, settlement amounts for such cases will need to factor in long-term considerations. At D’Amico Law, we have settled several cases for over $1,000,000 for people from various backgrounds, including a tool and dye machinist, a teacher and a Navy veteran.
4. How Long Does a Mesothelioma Settlement Take?
Mesothelioma settlements can take anywhere from several months to a year or longer to complete. Certain claims may be paid out in less than 90 days, such as those being filed with the Veterans Affairs (VA) in a military exposure case.
The length of time to fully complete a case depends on several factors, including the degree of injury, the person’s age and time of exposure, and even the attorney’s skill or experience. A qualified lawyer can make sure you avoid delays so your case can proceed through the legal process in a timely manner.
Consulting with a mesothelioma lawyer is the best way to obtain an accurate timeline for how long your claim might take.
The skill and experience of the attorney handling the mesothelioma claim can greatly impact the outcome of the case. Their ability to present evidence, argue for damages, and cite the law are crucial to a complete and thorough compensation award.
5. What is the Difference Between a Mesothelioma Settlement and a Verdict?
There are a few key differences between these two terms:
In a mesothelioma settlement, the party being sued for your injury agrees to pay a set amount to resolve your case. The amount is determined through negotiations between the company and your attorney. Such agreements are legally binding and require the payments to be made on time. Settlements typically result in a quicker payout, since the parties resolve the matter out of court and don’t have to go through the entire legal process.
A mesothelioma verdict refers to compensation that is paid out at the end of a mesothelioma injury trial. The compensation amount is determined by a jury or by the court. In comparison with settlements, a verdict can result in a higher payout amount, though the process will typically be longer. The majority of lawsuits settle before they reach trial.
Besides settlements and verdicts, asbestos exposure injury payouts can also come from other sources, such as an asbestos trust fund, or from a claim through the military/VA process. Regardless of the mechanism of payment, a lawyer is generally needed in order to ensure just and fair compensation for the injured person.
6. What Factors Affect a Mesothelioma Settlement Amount?
Many different factors must be considered when calculating the settlement amount for a mesothelioma case. These include:
- The Person’s Age: A person diagnosed at a younger age may receive a larger payout since they will have more long-term expenses over time due to a longer life expectancy
- Family Members: A settlement can be higher if the injured person has dependents to support
- Degree of Injury: The seriousness of the disease as well as its impacts on the person’s life are major considerations
- Economic Loss: This includes the ability to work and pay for basic living expenses
- Liable Parties: If several companies are found to be liable, the plaintiff may be entitled to more compensation (such as when both an employer and a manufacturer were negligent)
- Pain and Suffering: A victim may be awarded additional amounts if they have undergone severe pain and suffering
Lastly, the skill and experience of the attorney handling the mesothelioma claim can greatly impact the outcome of the case. Their ability to present evidence, argue for damages, and cite the law are crucial to a complete and thorough compensation award.
An experienced lawyer has the skill necessary to identify and document all areas of loss, thus maximizing your potential compensation. Call us at (412) 652-9300 or fill out our online form to set up a free consultation with a lawyer who can review your case.
7. Are Mesothelioma Settlements Taxable?
Generally speaking, mesothelioma settlements are not taxable. Under IRS tax codes, compensation in connection with a mesothelioma diagnosis is not taxed. Also, veterans affected by mesothelioma typically qualify for non-taxable disability payments.
However, certain aspects of a payout may be taxable. For instance, compensation associated with punitive damages or lost wages may be subject to taxes. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to assess your situation and help you navigate these distinctions.
8. What Does the Asbestos Cancer Settlement Process Involve?
The mesothelioma settlement process involves several distinct steps:
- Gathering Evidence: First, the asbestos lawyer will gather evidence and details about the case, including work history, medical documents, lists of asbestos products involved, and other important facts.
- Filing the Case: The lawyer will file the lawsuit with the court; the filing includes a request for the specified amount to be paid to the plaintiff. The parties named in the filing have a certain amount of time to respond, usually 30 days.
- Discovery Period: Lawyers from both sides then exchange information and additional evidence, such as witness statements.
- Settlement Negotiations: The lawyers will then try to resolve the claim by negotiating a settlement amount. If the sides cannot agree on an amount, the case will proceed to trial, and a verdict will need to be issued.
These steps can be quite intensive and must follow strict legal procedures. An experienced lawyer can help ensure you don’t miss any important requirements.
9. Why Should I Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer for Help With a Settlement?
The services of a mesothelioma lawyer are indispensable when it comes to obtaining a proper settlement amount to remedy your losses. An experienced attorney can help with important tasks such as gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, researching the law, and reviewing the facts of the claim.
A person who is dealing with asbestos cancer symptoms and treatments, or who has lost a loved one due to mesothelioma, may not be in the best place to perform all of these tasks. Working with an experienced lawyer can help you and your family focus on healing and recovering.
10. When Should I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
You should contact a lawyer and file a mesothelioma lawsuit as soon as you are able to once you discover your condition. Like all injury lawsuits, mesothelioma lawsuits are subject to filing deadlines (the “statute of limitations”).
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a mesothelioma lawsuit is 2 years from the date of diagnosis, or 2 years from the person’s death in the case of a wrongful death suit. Once this filing deadline passes, you won’t be able to file a claim anymore.
Thus, it’s important that you take action soon so you don’t miss your chance at obtaining a settlement or verdict award for your losses.
How Can I Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
At D’Amico Law, our attorneys have a long history of working specifically on mesothelioma and asbestos cancer cases. We have amassed an extensive database of asbestos worksites and documents, and understand the ins and outs of the process for such cases.
If you or a loved one were injured or affected by asbestos exposure, contact our law firm at (412) 652-9300 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal rights. Your family’s health and well-being are our top priority, and we provide you and your case with the full attention you deserve.