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Mesothelioma Settlements

Because of the overriding evidence against the role of asbestos in the development of mesothelioma, individuals diagnosed with the cancer have been filing for personal injury claims against people, companies, or organizations who may have been partly or wholly responsible for their asbestos exposure. It is suggested that the earliest recognition of the relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure was in 1898. However, asbestos manufacturers and employers did not institute corrective measures in their safety protocols such that by 1929, people began filing lawsuits against business organizations involved in the mining of asbestos and the manufacture of asbestos products.

To Settle or To Go to Trial?

There are typically two fundamental legal solutions for individuals with mesothelioma to seek justice for their condition. The first is through an out-of-court settlement while the other is through trial by jury.

Individuals who may wish for a speedier process as well as a less stressful legal course of action may opt for a settlement where parties will have to agree on the amount of the settlement. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then the individual’s lawyer can file for a trial in court. In cases where the mesothelioma was indeed proven to be directly caused by the negligence of the other party, damages can be in the form of both compensatory and punitive damages which can readily amount to millions of dollars in some cases.

Choosing to enter into a settlement or go into a trial is best made with the advice of a lawyer, especially someone who has the experience in handling mesothelioma cases. As such it is always a lot better to consult with a mesothelioma lawyer first if you are seriously considering legal remedies for your mesothelioma.

Understanding the Process of Settlement

If you would like to enter into an out-of-court settlement, the very first thing you have to do is to talk to an experienced and highly qualified mesothelioma lawyer who will prepare the case to be presented to a judge and jury. It is very important that all of the relevant documents are gathered, carefully organized, and dutifully analyzed in order to establish negligence on the part of the defendant or defendants. This increases the likelihood that they will be willing to enter into settlement with you. If the defendants know that you have a very compelling deposition that works in your favor and that they clearly don’t have the necessary evidence to refute your claims, they will be more than willing to enter into settlement.

However, defendants will not always agree to the amount that you are demanding from the settlement. Most of the time their counter-offer will be so low that many plaintiffs would rather go to a trial. Talk with your mesothelioma lawyer on what to do. Typically, the closer you are towards the date of the trial, the greater is the chance that the defendants will be willing to settle especially if the odds are stacked up against them. A well-experienced mesothelioma lawyer knows exactly the correct tactics to employ in such cases.

Factors that Can Affect the Amount of Settlement

While successful mesothelioma settlements have run in the millions of dollars, the actual amount of settlement can vary from one case to another. Typically, this is affected by the following factors:

Going to Trial

If an agreement is not reached during the settlement meetings, the case will proceed to a jury trial. The mesothelioma verdict will depend on whether or not the jury thinks the mesothelioma condition is directly caused by the negligent actions of the defendant. It is therefore the duty of your mesothelioma lawyer to prove that the defendants should be held responsible for damages. The jury will then have to decide on the amount of money that the defendant should pay you.

When talking about damages, the jury will consider both compensatory and punitive damages. The former are closely related to actual economic losses as a direct effect of the mesothelioma. The latter is more a matter of deterrence so that the defendant will not harm other people again and is only awardable in Louisiana where one’s exposure occurred over certain years. You can look at the compensatory damages as the amount of money you will receive to compensate for all of your sufferings. Punitive damages, on the other hand, can be considered as a form of punishment and is usually larger than compensatory damages.

One Final Word – Attorney Fees

It is customary that mesothelioma lawyers will charge you a certain percentage of either your settlement or your award. Therefore, it is often important to discuss this matter even before you enter into a settlement so that you will also be able to consider this in the determination of the minimum settlement amount that you are willing to take.

Seeking redress for your suffering because of the negligence of some people or organizations is your inherent right. Legal proceedings often take a psychological toll on certain individuals. If you get a well-experienced and truly dedicated mesothelioma lawyer, at the very least, this psychological and emotional burden will be a lot easier to bear.