Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor
Linda Molinari Editor in Chief
A mesothelioma lawsuit can provide families with compensation to pay for expenses related to a mesothelioma diagnosis or death. There are two primary types of mesothelioma lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death. A mesothelioma lawyer can advise patients and their families throughout the compensation process.
Mesothelioma survivor Heather Von St. James discusses what to expect when filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.
There are two main types of asbestos lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death. In addition to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, mesothelioma and asbestos cases may be handled as class action lawsuits or through multidistrict litigation.
The type of lawsuit filed will differ based on several factors, including who is filing and what kind of damages they wish to pursue.
Personal injury lawsuits are filed by the mesothelioma patient after diagnosis. Compensation from personal injury lawsuits allows the patient to recover money for treatment, travel, lost income, pain, suffering and related costs.
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by family members after the death of a loved one from mesothelioma. These lawsuits are different from personal injury cases.
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit after death allows the family to recover compensation related to outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income potential, loss of consortium and related costs.
In addition to individual lawsuits, there are also class action mesothelioma lawsuits and multidistrict litigations.
Your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be handled individually. In some cases, lawsuits may be combined with other similar claims through a mesothelioma class action lawsuit or multidistrict litigation.
Ultimately, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to provide you with information regarding all filing options and advise what is best for you.
A mesothelioma lawsuit may result in compensation to cover expenses. A mesothelioma diagnosis can cost families thousands of dollars in medical expenses, lost wages and other related costs.
Average award amounts vary from $1 – $1.4 million for asbestos settlements and around $2.4 million for verdicts.
Filing a lawsuit can be a solution for mesothelioma patients and families to cover long-term expenses, such as treatment and follow-up care. Although health insurance may cover health-related costs, it typically doesn’t compensate for financial losses. When determining compensation awards, historical and expected future expenses will be considered.
Mesothelioma lawsuits may provide compensation for:
In addition to compensating victims, mesothelioma lawsuits also hold companies and other defendants accountable for their negligence. Filing a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit may set a precedent to ensure future claimants receive the compensation they deserve.
Ultimately, the decision to file a lawsuit is yours. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you decide the best legal option for your case.
If you choose to pursue a lawsuit, you will need to meet a set of requirements. Criteria may differ depending on the type of lawsuit you file.
You may be eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit if:
Finding all of this information may be a long process, but the correct legal representation can make the process easier.
The statute of limitations is a state-specific time limit in which you are able to file a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death. Typically, these time periods begin after a mesothelioma diagnosis or the death of a loved one.
Most states have a one- to four-year timeline after these events to file a mesothelioma claim. Where to file may depend on the state you reside in, the state where the defendant is located or the state where the exposure took place. A legal representative can help you determine if you are within the appropriate time frame.
The mesothelioma lawsuit process begins with consulting an attorney and gathering information. Lawyers will assist you throughout the process, providing guidance and representation.
By filing a lawsuit, plaintiffs may be able to receive compensation.
Before filing a lawsuit, a mesothelioma law firm typically provides a free consultation to talk about the process. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns you may have.
The consultation also gives your law firm the opportunity to understand more about how you or your loved one might have been exposed to asbestos. You’ll then discuss your medical history, including your diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.
Once the initial consultation is completed, your mesothelioma lawyer will start collecting data. This information will help build your case to make it as strong as possible. To build a strong mesothelioma lawsuit, you will need:
Before filing a complaint, it is also important to choose the most appropriate venue to file. A venue is the state where your case will be handled. Factors that can impact which venue is best for your lawsuit include:
Claimants may file a mesothelioma lawsuit where they have lived, worked or served in the military. There are also “open forum” states that may allow filing if no other suitable venue is available.
Once you’ve decided to move forward with a case, your asbestos attorneys will investigate different possibilities for compensation. In addition to lawsuit verdict awards, compensation may be available through asbestos trusts, settlements or veterans’ claims.
Your lawyers will investigate the possibility of filing a claim with an asbestos trust fund. For a trust claim, you file a claim against the asbestos company responsible for your exposure. Trust funds are set up to provide compensation for current and future claimants. If you meet the trust’s criteria, you may be able to receive mesothelioma compensation quickly.
Your mesothelioma attorney will also assess other opportunities. Often, successful cases can be built against companies that have not yet established trust funds. Your legal team will provide guidance about the best course of action for your case.
After conducting research and determining a venue, your lawyer will file a formal complaint on your behalf. This complaint will detail legal causes of action against the defendants. The number of defendants named in the complaint will depend on your asbestos exposure history. Some individuals may have come into contact with various types of asbestos at several jobs and will name all of these employers in a lawsuit.
Upon filing the lawsuit, the legal process will move to the discovery phase. In this phase, your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will present information to support each side of the case. Both sides will file various motions, often with the intent of reaching a financial settlement before the case goes to trial.
Some complaints will be settled before going to trial. If the mesothelioma lawsuit does go to trial, your attorney can guide you through the process.
Get help identifying and contacting a top mesothelioma lawyer near you.
Every lawsuit is different. Patients and loved ones should talk to an attorney to get a better idea of what to expect.
Mesothelioma patients often ask how long they can expect a mesothelioma lawsuit to last. A number of factors can influence a mesothelioma lawsuit timeline, including:
According to New York City data, asbestos trials can range anywhere from 11 to 113 days, with an average of 11 to 38 days per plaintiff. Those averages also don’t include the consultation, research and discovery phases that happen before the trial.
Lawsuits settled without going to trial may be shorter, but the duration can still vary.
The defendant may try to defend their case by making counterclaims and disputing a claim’s validity. Counterclaims can occur before or during the trial. Asbestos companies may try to assert your diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos cancer was caused by other factors, including:
They may also challenge the accuracy of your medical diagnosis or the qualifications of the medical professional who gave your diagnosis. Although disconcerting, an experienced asbestos attorney can address these counterclaims on your behalf.
When faced with an asbestos exposure lawsuit, the defendant may also challenge how you filed your complaint. Some possible claims defendants may make include:
When handled by an established law firm that has spent time researching and building all aspects of your case, these types of counterclaims are rarely successful.
Each state has rules and regulations for mesothelioma lawsuits and other types of asbestos litigation. State regulations may also provide limits for compensation awards based on the type of lawsuit.
For state-specific information about mesothelioma and asbestos laws, choose your state from the list below:
Mesothelioma lawsuit verdicts may result in more compensation for the plaintiff than a trust fund claim or settlement. The amounts won in these cases vary based on a number of details, such as disease severity and exposure history. Many patients and families receive millions of dollars through favorable verdicts.
For trial verdicts, jurors will determine the amount of compensation awarded. Trial verdicts can also be appealed or overturned.
Some notable mesothelioma and asbestos lawsuit verdicts include:
Verdict amounts can vary widely based on the details of specific cases.
Even individuals exposed at home, school or in other ways are often able to find data to support a claim. Based on these details and documents, your lawyer can determine where and how you were exposed to asbestos.
If an asbestos company has been acquired by another company, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against the parent company.
Ableman PL. The Time Has Come For Courts To Respond To The Manipulation Of Exposure Evidence In Asbestos Cases: A Call For The Adoption Of Uniform Case Management Orders Across The Country. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. April 2015.
Ableman PL, Kelso PR and Scarcella MC. The Consolidation Effect: New York City Asbestos Verdicts, Due Process And Judicial Efficiency. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. May 2015.
Bates CE and Mullin CH. Show Me The Money. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. December 2007.
Redding B. Los Angeles Jury Awards $200 Million in Punitive Damages for Secondhand Asbestos Exposure. Lexis Nexis. April 2010.
Van Gelder SE and Linton AM. Non-Traditional Asbestos Litigation: New Products And Industries In The Crosshairs. Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos. November 2014.
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Legal Advisor and Contributor
Jennifer Lucarelli is a partner at the law firm of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, specializing in asbestos litigation. She is a Legal Advisor and Contributor for Mesothelioma.com.
Legal Advisor and Contributor
Editor in Chief
Linda Molinari has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and advocate for mesothelioma patients and a ban on asbestos.
Editor in Chief
Mesothelioma.com is dedicated to providing the latest medical information on mesothelioma, spreading awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and providing victims with free resources.
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Page last modified on September 16, 2021.