Why Seek Justice for Asbestos Illnesses?
Many people were exposed to asbestos without even knowing about it. Companies that produced, distributed, and used asbestos have been held accountable for exposing workers without warning them of the risks. If you were one of these people, you can seek justice through a lawsuit for the harm caused to you.
Asbestos is a natural mineral and a human carcinogen. It is made up of tiny, sharp fibers that when disturbed may cause exposure. Inhaling or ingesting these fibers can lead to internal damage and illnesses. Mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly cancer is one of these illnesses. And asbestosis is a non-cancerous disease resulting in scarring of the lung tissues, caused by chronic inhalation of asbestos. These are preventable diseases and it is important to hold accountable those companies that caused the exposure that led to diagnoses.
Not only does filing a lawsuit lead to justice for victims, it also can provide financial security. With a disease like mesothelioma you will face high medical bills and likely the loss of your income. The right lawyer can help you succeed in a lawsuit to recovery damages from the responsible companies.
Types of Asbestos or Mesothelioma Lawsuits
The type of lawsuit you can file over asbestos exposure and mesothelioma depends on whether you were injured or you lost a family member to the disease.
- Personal Injury Lawsuits. This lawsuit is filed against the company or companies responsible for causing the exposure. If found liable for your exposure you can expect to receive compensation from the defendants.
- Wrongful Death Lawsuits. Unfortunately, victims of asbestos exposure don’t always live long enough to see a lawsuit finish. In these cases, the surviving families may file a wrongful death asbestos lawsuit or continue with the ongoing claim.
A wrongful death suit is a claim that a loved one’s death was caused by negligence. This type of lawsuit can provide compensation to cover medical bills and funeral expenses as well as for pain and suffering and loss of companionship.
What is the Filing Process Timeline of a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
The process of filing and winning a mesothelioma lawsuit can be complicated and time-consuming. Rely on an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to take most of these steps for you and to help you make the right decisions along the way.
Finding an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Lawyer
For the best chance of winning your case, you need a lawyer or law firm with relevant experience and asbestos knowledge. The laws governing asbestos and personal injury are different in each state. Your legal team should understand the laws and have access to information about companies that used asbestos.
Preparation and Filing
Once a law firm takes your case, they will begin gathering information. They will begin an investigation to determine what company caused the exposure that triggered your illness. They will also need your input. Be prepared to provide medical and other types of information.
With all the information in place and preparatory work done, your legal team will be ready to file a complaint against one or more defendants.
The defendant will have a chance respond to your claims once the lawsuit has been filed. Defendants get a certain amount of time to respond, typically 30 days from when they learn of the lawsuit. They may deny liability and may even allege that you were to blame, for example for smoking. They may deny that your illness is related to asbestos. Your lawyer will know how to handle these allegations.
If the defendant does not respond, you win your case by default. In most cases the defendant will respond and trigger the discovery period. During this period both sides continue gathering information.
Most mesothelioma and asbestos cases never go to trial. Lawyers on each side are usually able to reach a settlement agreement. It takes 18 months on average to reach a settlement, with both sides agreeing on a fair amount of compensation for the victim.
Trials usually take longer than out-of-court settlements. It’s impossible to predict what the jury’s decision will be, but there are some benefits of trials. One is that the company or companies who caused your illness can be exposed publicly. Also, if successful, the award amount is usually higher.
Asbestos trials can take several years. If you’re extremely ill, a judge may choose to accelerate the process. Most victims of mesothelioma try to avoid a trial because it is in their best interest to get a resolution quickly.
Both sides have the right to appeal after a trial. This can delay your access to compensation, but an experienced asbestos attorney understands the process and will work for the best outcome.
What Compensation Can Be Claimed in a Lawsuit?
Getting justice and acknowledgement from the person or company that made you sick is important. But the financial costs of this disease are big. Winning compensation means money doesn’t have to be a worry and that you can focus on treatment. You may be entitled to recovery damages for:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Travel costs for treatment
- Lost wages and inability to work
- Emotional suffering
- Physical pain
What Can I Expect from a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Payout?
The average mesothelioma lawsuit settles for about $1 million. However, there have been many examples of lawsuits reaching much higher numbers:
- $17 million was awarded by a jury to the family of a retired civilian worker in the U.S. Navy. He developed mesothelioma and died after working in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
- A jury awarded the wife of a race car driver $75 million after she developed mesothelioma from being around the dust in his engine gaskets.
- A construction worker’s family received $48 million after he died from exposure to asbestos in building materials.
- $250 million was awarded to a steel worker who was exposed to asbestos in insulation products.
By filing an asbestos lawsuit you are making a point to get justice and to hold companies accountable for harming their workers. A lawsuit is also important for collecting the damages you deserve and need to cope with your illness. Be sure that you start your lawsuit with an expert by your side and in a timely manner. Statutes of limitations vary by state but all limit the time you have to make your case.
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.