Other Ways to Receive Compensation
Mesothelioma settlements are not the only legal option in which victims can receive financial compensation. Other forms of legal action may allow victims to receive more compensation than through a settlement or provide them with additional money.
Learn more about other compensation options below.
If both legal teams cannot agree on a settlement, the case will go to trial. During a mesothelioma trial, a judge and/or jury will hear both sides of the case and determine a winner.
While a successful mesothelioma verdict may award victims with more compensation than a settlement, most lawyers try to avoid them.
Negative aspects of a trial include:
- Added time: Trials can add months (or years) to an asbestos lawsuit, delaying compensation to victims who may only have a few years (or months) to live.
- Potential to lose: If a judge or jury sides with a manufacturer of asbestos-containing products, the victim won’t receive any compensation from that manufacturer unless they file an appeal.
- Cost: Trials can be more expensive than settling a case out of court. So, even if a trial awards a victim with more compensation, they might end up with less money after these extra expenses are accounted for.
- Appeals: Through an appeal, the losing side in a case requests that a higher-level court review the decision. This could turn a victim’s win into a loss or vice versa. In either case, appeals may extend the length of a trial even further.
Lawyers can recommend whether a mesothelioma settlement will be better than a trial in your specific situation. A vast majority — if not all — of the manufacturers named in a mesothelioma lawsuit will want to settle to avoid the risks.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos trust funds were established by manufacturers of asbestos-containing products to avoid the heavy influx of lawsuits that amassed after the dangers of asbestos were uncovered.
These manufacturers filed for bankruptcy and set aside large sums of money into asbestos trust funds. In exchange, bankruptcy courts prevented the manufacturers from being sued.
Did You Know?
Asbestos trust funds currently contain over $30 billion, according to the United States Government Accountability Office.
All asbestos trust funds have established rules that allow mesothelioma victims to access compensation. If a mesothelioma claim meets these rules, the victim will receive a payout.
However, most trust funds cannot pay trust fund claims in full without dissolving, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. Instead, trust funds pay percentages on the claims.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation allows employees to receive financial aid if they were injured or got sick on the job. Those who were exposed to asbestos at their job and developed mesothelioma may qualify for workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation claims are paid either by state funds or private insurance companies, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Mesothelioma patients should connect with an experienced lawyer before filing for workers’ compensation, since this payout may not be enough to cover all the costs of treatment. Other types of compensation may be better suited to help patients.
More than 30% of all mesothelioma victims are veterans, as all branches of the U.S. military relied on asbestos until the early 1980s. In light of this, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established a number of programs to compensate veterans with mesothelioma.
Benefits for veterans with mesothelioma include:
- Disability Compensation: Veterans with mesothelioma usually qualify for tax-free disability payments, as the VA considers the cancer to be totally disabling. Veterans may also be able to get disability compensation if they have other asbestos-related diseases tied to active-duty, including lung cancer and asbestosis.
- VA Health Care: Through the VA Health Care System, veterans may be able to receive medical treatment from mesothelioma specialists.
- VA Pension: Veterans may qualify for a pension if they meet the income limit set by Congress.
- Other benefits: Some veterans may qualify for Aid & Attendance (A&A), burial compensation, and other care services.
Veterans can apply for these benefits with the help of a VA-accredited mesothelioma lawyer or claims agent. Applying for VA benefits can otherwise be difficult since the process is rather complicated.