Types of Mesothelioma Case Values
The amount of money that a victim may receive from a mesothelioma case depends on what type of case they pursue. Not every mesothelioma case type awards the same amount of compensation.
Learn more about mesothelioma case types below.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Mesothelioma case values from asbestos trust funds average around $180,000, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.
These trust funds were established by asbestos companies that filed for bankruptcy to avoid future lawsuits. By declaring bankruptcy and creating trust funds, the companies could pay current and future mesothelioma victims without ceasing operations.
That being said, payouts can vary greatly as each bankruptcy trust fund contains a different amount of money. A larger asbestos company may have over $1 Billion in its trust fund while a smaller one may only have a few million dollars.
Victims may also receive different amounts of money depending on how their claim is reviewed.
There are two ways that trust fund claims are reviewed:
- Expedited review: Expedited reviews will pay a fixed amount if a claim meets pre-set criteria. Most trust funds publish these criteria in their Trust Distribution Procedures, which can be found online.
- Individual review: Individual reviews take an in-depth look at a claim to see how much it is worth, making the process longer than an expedited review. Individually reviewed claims may be assigned a higher or lower value than they would through an expedited review.
A mesothelioma attorney can help decide which type of review will work best in a victim’s specific case.
If an asbestos company did not establish a trust fund, a victim may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Mesothelioma lawsuits award victims with compensation either through a settlement or a trial verdict.
Settlements occur when lawyers from an asbestos company agree to pay the victim a lump sum of money in order to end the lawsuit.
Did You Know?
Mesothelioma case values from settlements range around $1 Million to $1.4 Million, according to a recent Mealey’s Litigation Report.
Victims may receive more or less than this amount depending on the specifics of each case. For example, a man who worked as both a boilermaker and steelworker received a $6.5 Million settlement after developing mesothelioma.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial.
Trial verdicts are decided by a judge and jury, who hear arguments from both legal teams.
The average mesothelioma trial verdict is worth $2.4 Million, according to a 2016 Mealey’s Litigation Report.
While mesothelioma case values from trials may be higher than those from a settlement, there are drawbacks.
For example, there is a possibility that a victim will lose the trial. If this happens, the victim will receive no money at all. If the victim wins, the asbestos company’s legal team may try to appeal the jury verdict, potentially turning the win into a loss.
Further, trials involve a much longer process than settling out of court, meaning it may take years before a victim actually receives any money.
Since the average mesothelioma life expectancy is 12-21 months, lawyers will likely want to avoid a lengthy lawsuit so a victim can receive compensation as soon as possible.
Military and Workers’ Compensation
Some mesothelioma victims may also be able to seek compensation from the VA and workers’ compensation policies.
The military relied on asbestos from the 1930s to the early 1980s, so military veterans may qualify for compensation through the VA if they were exposed while they served.
Approximately 33% of all people diagnosed with mesothelioma are veterans.
The VA has several different programs available to veterans, and some of these programs award financial compensation. Mesothelioma case values for VA benefits depend on what programs a victim qualifies for.
Types of VA benefits include:
- Disability Compensation: The VA provides a monthly, tax-free payout to veterans who developed illnesses or injuries due to their military service. Veterans may receive $3,106.04 per month if they are unmarried or $3,279.22 if they are married since mesothelioma is considered a complete disability by the VA.
- Pensions: Veterans may qualify for a VA pension if their net worth is $129,094 or less, and if their income is below an established amount. Once on a pension plan, veterans may be able to access other benefits, such as Aid & Attendance or housebound benefits.
- VA Health Care: The VA employs a handful of mesothelioma specialists to treat veterans affected by this rare cancer. Through VA health care, veterans may receive treatment from these doctors at reduced rates.
- Burial Benefits: If a veteran dies from mesothelioma, the VA may cover some of their burial expenses. The VA pays up to $2,000 if their death was related to military service and around $1,000 if it was not.
A VA-accredited mesothelioma lawyer can help veterans determine which benefits they qualify for and apply for them.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance put in place by companies to help employees who are injured in the workplace. If a worker developed mesothelioma from their job, they may qualify for workers’ compensation.
Mesothelioma case values for workers’ compensation can vary, and there are limitations to consider before filing.
Workers’ compensation limits include:
- Who can file: a worker may only be able to file a claim if they were a full-time employee with the company. They may still be able to file a claim even if they no longer work for the company since mesothelioma takes 20-50 years to develop.
- Who is responsible: A worker will only receive compensation from their employer, even though multiple companies may have made and distributed the asbestos products that caused their illness.
- Future legal action: If a worker decides to file for workers’ compensation, they will not be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against their employer. The worker may be able to take legal action against other companies that manufactured or sold asbestos products, however.
Since workers’ compensation may not be enough to cover all mesothelioma-related expenses, workers should explore other options with an experienced lawyer.