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Mesothelioma Lawsuit

There are two main types of mesothelioma lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death. Lawsuits may help victims and their families receive compensation from asbestos-containing product manufacturers. Most mesothelioma lawsuits settle out of court for $1 Million on average. Trial verdicts award $2.4 Million on average.

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What Is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

A mesothelioma lawsuit is a form of legal action that is taken by those who have developed this rare form of cancer.

Through a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, victims request a financial payout from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products that may be responsible for their illnesses.

Successful mesothelioma lawsuits must prove:

  • When, where, and how the victim was exposed to asbestos
  • That exposure to asbestos caused the victim to develop mesothelioma
  • Which manufacturers of asbestos-containing products are responsible for exposing the victim to this deadly material
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Payouts
According to recent industry reports, mesothelioma lawsuits that reach out-of-court settlements typically award $1 Million to $1.4 Million. In the rare case that a mesothelioma lawsuit goes to trial, victims may win an average of $2.4 Million.

Through a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, victims can rest easier knowing that their family will be provided for after their passing and that manufacturers will be held accountable for their harmful actions.

Anyone looking to file a lawsuit should work with a mesothelioma lawyer. These lawyers, who have handled previous mesothelioma cases before, may make the legal process easier for families.

Quick Facts About Mesothelioma Lawsuits

  • A person who files a mesothelioma lawsuit is known as a plaintiff. Those being sued (the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products) are known as defendants.
  • Over 2,000 mesothelioma lawsuits were filed in 2018 alone, according to a report from the consulting firm KCIC.
  • Most mesothelioma lawsuits conclude through an out-of-court settlement or a trial verdict. Less than 5% of mesothelioma lawsuits go to trial.

Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits

There are different types of legal options available to families affected by mesothelioma. Get a breakdown of each type of mesothelioma lawsuit below.

Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuit

Through a mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit, the person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma takes legal action with help from a lawyer.

Personal injury lawsuits award compensation based on a few different factors.

These factors include:

  • Age of the victim
  • Number of dependents (such as a spouse and children)
  • Cost of medical treatments
  • Lost wages if the victim can no longer work
  • Number of defendants named in the lawsuit
  • Travel expenses
  • Pain and suffering

An experienced lawyer can help determine the potential case value of a personal injury lawsuit based on these factors.

Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If someone dies from mesothelioma, the representatives of their estate may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This representative can be anybody appointed by the court system, but it is often a family member.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be pursued in one of two ways. Learn more about each below.

  • Filing the lawsuit after a death

    A mesothelioma lawsuit after death should show that the victim would still be alive had they not developed this deadly cancer.

  • Continuing an existing lawsuit

    If a person with mesothelioma files a lawsuit while they are still alive — and then dies before the case is concluded — their estate representative can typically continue the lawsuit.

Laws surrounding wrongful death lawsuits vary by state, so victims should contact a mesothelioma lawyer to determine if they have a case.

Mesothelioma Class-Action Lawsuit

Many mesothelioma victims filed class-action lawsuits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Class-action lawsuits allow groups of people affected by the same problem to file lawsuits against the parties that may be responsible.

Did You Know?

While class-action lawsuits allowed the courts to resolve many cases at once, they typically awarded mesothelioma victims with much less compensation than a personal injury lawsuit would.

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that class-action mesothelioma lawsuits could not be heard at a federal level.

Today, class-action mesothelioma lawsuits are almost never heard, but victims can file a personal injury lawsuit to possibly receive compensation.

Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)

An MDL allowed one appointed judge to hear mesothelioma and asbestos lawsuits that were filed in federal court.

However, like class-action lawsuits, an MDL is no longer used to handle mesothelioma cases in the present day.

Other Types of Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits

Those with other diseases caused by asbestos exposure can also file lawsuits.

Much like a mesothelioma lawsuit, an asbestos lawsuit may allow families to receive financial compensation for their illnesses and afford medical treatment and seek justice.

Should You File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

You should quickly file a mesothelioma lawsuit if would like a chance to offset the cost of your medical treatment, protect your family’s future, and bring the manufacturers responsible to justice.

If the manufacturers that caused your cancer are still in business, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against them.

Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

On average, successful lawsuits have awarded families with $1 Million or more in mesothelioma compensation.

Compensation can help you:

  • Afford medical treatment: According to a recent price estimate, mesothelioma treatment can cost over $500,000 since the cancer is so rare and requires specialized medical care.
  • Hold manufacturers accountable: The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew the mineral was dangerous, but used it anyway and put people in needless danger for decades.
  • Protect your family’s interests: If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you and/or your family members have to quit your job to focus on your medical treatment, losing sources of income in the process. Compensation from a lawsuit can help keep your family financially secure while you seek treatments and years later.

Who Can File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

A victim’s unique situation will dictate if they will be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit or have someone else do it on their behalf.

The following people may be able to file a lawsuit.

  • Victims

    Those diagnosed with mesothelioma can file a personal injury lawsuit and hopefully receive compensation while they are still alive.

  • Family Members

    Spouses, adult children, or other designated family members may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit on the victim’s behalf if they are too sick. These family members may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim has died.

  • Estates

    A victim’s estate representative may also be able to file a lawsuit. These representatives can be anyone appointed by the court system but are usually spouses or children.

Victims and their families should consult with an experienced lawyer to learn how to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Alternatives to Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Sometimes, mesothelioma lawsuits may not be the best option for victims looking to receive compensation. Fortunately, there are other options available.

Learn about these other options.

  • Asbestos Trust Funds

    Larger manufacturers of asbestos trust funds established trust funds by declaring bankruptcy. Asbestos trust funds allowed these manufacturers to stay in business and still pay out financial compensation to those they harmed.

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Claims

    The U.S. military relied on asbestos-containing products for decades. For this reason, one in three people affected by mesothelioma are veterans. These mesothelioma veterans benefits can help victims access financial compensation and medical care.

  • Health Insurance Claims

    Mesothelioma victims may be able to access financial compensation through their own health insurance plans, such as Medicare or Medicaid.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

    Anyone who worked long enough in a job covered by Social Security or are of retirement age may qualify for SSDI benefits.

An experienced lawyer can recommend which of the options above will work best depending on the circumstances.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Compensation Amounts

Mesothelioma lawsuit compensation amounts vary with each case.

Factors that affect compensation include:

  • If the lawsuit settles out of court or goes to trial
  • The victim’s age, diagnosis, and overall health
  • Where and when the case was filed

Mesothelioma lawyers can help victims determine how these factors may impact the amount of compensation they receive.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Through a mesothelioma settlement, both legal teams come to an agreement in which the plaintiff receives a sum of money from the defendant. All further legal proceedings then stop.

The plaintiff’s lawyer will try to reach settlements with each of the defendants named in the lawsuit.

Mesothelioma Settlement Amounts
When combined, all mesothelioma lawsuit settlements are valued between $1 Million and $1.4 Million on average.

Most lawyers favor settlements because they allow mesothelioma victims to receive financial compensation faster and avoid a time-consuming, risky trial phase.

Trial Verdict Compensation Amounts

Through a trial, a judge and/or jury hear both sides of the case and determine whether the defendant should be held accountable for the plaintiff’s illness or injuries.

Mesothelioma Trial Verdict Amounts
Successful mesothelioma verdicts force a single defendant to pay $2.4 million on average, according to a 2016 report.

That said, most mesothelioma lawsuits do not go to trial because they are very risky for both the plaintiff and the defendant.

There is no way to guarantee a win through a trial, as judges or juries can side with either the victim or the manufacturer of asbestos-containing products.

A mesothelioma lawyer can determine if a trial may be the best option for a victim’s case.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Timeline

Generally speaking, most mesothelioma lawsuits follow a similar timeline. Get a step-by-step breakdown of the process below.

1. Case Evaluation

Before filing a lawsuit, your legal team will conduct a case evaluation, which determines when, where, and how you were exposed to asbestos and which manufacturers may be responsible.

Evidence gathered during this process may include:

  • Employment history and related documents
  • Medical records that confirm your mesothelioma diagnosis
  • Military service records
  • Which asbestos-containing products you used
  • Witness statements

This preliminary evidence is strong enough, then it may be possible to file a lawsuit.

2. Filing the Lawsuit

After your lawyer has collected the evidence they need, they will start to take action against the manufacturers that may have harmed you.

In some cases, they may send the manufacturers a demand letter, which requests compensation without formally filing a lawsuit.

Did You Know?

If the demand letter is rejected, your lawyer will file the lawsuit in a court system that best suits your case.

Some courts may be more favorable to mesothelioma lawsuits than others, allowing victims to maximize their case’s value and receive compensation quicker.

The complaint explains how the defendants may have exposed you to asbestos and why you need compensation.

3. Defendant Response

Once the lawsuit is received by the court and processed, the defendants will be notified. The defendants then have a set time limit — generally 30 days or less — to respond.

Once the defendants have responded, they can either agree to pay the victims or refuse.

If the defendants refuse, both legal teams will start or continue gathering evidence to build their cases.

4. Discovery Phase

The discovery process allows both legal teams to build the strongest cases they can with the evidence available.

During the discovery process, legal teams collect documents, photos, and historical records from the opposing side. The plaintiff’s team will want to prove that the defendants had asbestos in their products.

Lawyers may also call witnesses to give testimony under oath through depositions. The victims must provide answers to written interrogatories (questions).

5. Pre-Trial Settlements

As a lawsuit progresses, the lawyers representing both sides may try to reach an out-of-court settlement to avoid a trial.

Each defendant named in a lawsuit will communicate with your lawyer to settle the case brought against them individually.

Most Mesothelioma Lawsuits Settle
Over 95% of mesothelioma lawsuits reach a negotiated settlement instead of going to trial, as most lawyers prefer settlements to trials.

Settlements are typically preferred because they allow the lawsuit to come to a quick and definitive end. Once you receive compensation, the case is over.

Another benefit of settlements is that they award money faster. In most cases, you can expect to start receiving money from a settlement in under a year’s time.

Settlements can happen at almost any stage of a mesothelioma lawsuit. Yet while some defendants may decide to settle early on, most will settle right before a trial is set to begin.

6. Motion Phase

If a settlement is not reached, the lawyers for both parties can file motions to take action on the case.

Lawyers can file motions for a number of different reasons, including to dismiss the case or to reach a conclusion through summary judgment.

Through a motion for summary judgment, the judge decides the case without having it go to trial.

If the summary judgment fails, the case then goes to trial unless both parties can reach a settlement.

7. Trial Process

During an asbestos trial, both legal teams present their cases before a judge and jury. The jury then decides the winner.

Although a jury trial could get you more compensation, trials are often unfavorable when compared to settlements for a number of reasons.

Learn more about these reasons below.

  • Risk

    Unless you have received money from other defendants already, trials are nothing but risk. If you lose at a trial, you won’t receive compensation unless you take further legal action.

  • Time and Energy

    If you’re healthy enough, you may have to appear in court during a trial when you could be recuperating at home or in a hospital or spending time with family.

  • Extra Costs

    Trials can add more legal fees to your case, and money from a trial will be used to pay them. You may wind up with less money from a trial than through a settlement due to these added expenses.

Even worse, many trials don’t end with a verdict. Even if you win the case, the defendant may file a “motion of reconsideration” to re-examine the case or reduce the overall verdict amount.

8. Appeals

After a trial verdict has been reached, the losing side may be able to appeal the decision. Through a mesothelioma lawsuit verdict appeal, a higher court is asked to review the decision and issue a new verdict.

Did You Know?

While an appeal may turn your loss into a win, it can also do the opposite. Appeals can also add more time to a case and prevent you from quickly receiving compensation.

Another drawback of the appeals process is that it is very expensive.

For example, just getting an official transcript of the original trial can cost tens of thousands of dollars, which may come out of the overall verdict award.

For these reasons, most lawyers will work to settle a mesothelioma lawsuit before a trial can take place.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

Mesothelioma lawsuits are affected by laws known as statutes of limitations, which limit the amount of time someone has to file a lawsuit.

Did You Know?

Once the statute of limitations has passed for your case, you will never be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Statute of limitations vary by state and case type. In some instances, the statute of limitations for a mesothelioma case can be as short as one year after diagnosis.

The only way to get the most accurate and reliable information on statutes of limitations is by working with a mesothelioma lawyer.

See how a lawyer can help you right now.

Contact a lawyer even if you believe the statute of limitations has passed in your case, as there may be other ways to receive compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Between gathering evidence, knowing the statute of limitations, and determining how you were exposed to asbestos, filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can be confusing.

Get answers to common questions below.

How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?

The length of time it takes to file a mesothelioma lawsuit depends on how the case moves forward.

For example, mesothelioma lawsuits that settle out of court may start to award victims with compensation in under a year’s time.

Lawsuits that go to trial can take longer to award compensation, but it is likely that most defendants in your lawsuit will settle before going to trial.

Did You Know?

A mesothelioma lawyer can give you a better idea of how long your case will take as it moves forward.

No two cases are the same, so it may take one lawsuit longer than another to reach a conclusion.

How much does a mesothelioma lawyer cost?

Mesothelioma lawyers work on what is known as a contingency basis, meaning you do not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses to work with them.

The only time mesothelioma lawyers get paid is if they secure compensation for their clients.

Can I file a mesothelioma lawsuit on behalf of someone else?

Yes, if the person is too sick to file a lawsuit on their own or has died due to mesothelioma, you may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf.

A lawyer can help determine who should file a lawsuit, depending on the victim’s overall health.

Will I have to travel for my mesothelioma lawsuit?

Mesothelioma lawyers at national law firms can travel to you at your home or hospital room to gather evidence and testimonials.

If a case settles, you may not even have to step foot in a courtroom.

Experienced lawyers understand that mesothelioma requires intensive treatments and will not ask you to travel if you are not well enough to do so.

How many mesothelioma lawsuits are filed each year?

From 2016 to 2018, an average of 2,200 mesothelioma lawsuits were filed each year, according to data from the legal consulting firm KCIC.

In recent years, the number of mesothelioma lawsuits filed has slightly decreased. 2,326 mesothelioma lawsuits were filed in 2016, yet just 2,087 were filed in 2018.

Learn More About Your Mesothelioma Lawsuit Options

Mesothelioma lawsuits may award you with enough money to cover your medical expenses, protect your family, and hold the manufacturers who harmed you financially responsible.

If you are looking to file a lawsuit, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.

Mesothelioma lawyers will work to get the greatest amount of money for your case in the shortest amount of time. They can also recommend other ways to receive compensation.

Get a free legal case review today to learn more about mesothelioma lawsuits and other legal options.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Stephanie KiddWritten by:


Stephanie Kidd grew up in a family of civil servants, blue-collar workers, and medical caregivers. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from Stetson University, she began her career specializing in worker safety regulations and communications. Now, a proud member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and Editor-in-Chief of the Mesothelioma Justice Network, Stephanie serves as a voice for mesothelioma victims and their families.

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