Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits: What to Expect

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If you think you have a claim for an illness that has been caused by exposure to asbestos, we can help you understand how to make a claim, how much compensation you may be entitled to, and how long your case may take.
If you are suffering from Mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure at work, you could be awarded compensation. There is a very good chance that you may be awarded quite substantial damages from an insurance company, the company you worked for or an Asbestos Victims Trust Fund that has taken on the liability for your old place of work.

When you can Sue
Mesothelioma develops approximately 10 to 35 or 40 years after you have been exposed to asbestos. Statutes of limitations give people 1 to 5 years to file a lawsuit from the moment you were diagnosed, or your condition was discovered. However, this can vary from state to state, but it’s vital that you contact a lawyer as soon as you can especially if you live in Louisiana, California, or Tennessee as the statute of limitations in these states is just 1 year from diagnosis.
If a victim of Mesothelioma has passed away their spouse or heirs have approximately 1 to 3 years from the date of their death to file a ‘Wrongful death’ action. A case such as this could result in the spouse or heirs receiving a substantial monetary award.
Mesothelioma cases need to be filed individually as they cannot join in or file class action lawsuits.

Typical Lengths of Cases

The majority of asbestos cases are settled out of court. If you have all of your medical details and proof of your employment history you may receive your compensation in less than a year. Some cases do end up in court, particularly if you cannot prove when or where you were exposed to asbestos, or if the company you worked for did not have insurance. In cases such as these, it can take at least 2 years before any compensation is received. In many states, the court realizes that the victim has a short life expectancy, and therefore fast-tracks their case.

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How much Compensation you Should Expect to Receive
It is not easy to estimate how much money you may receive. Some cases award a small amount of money whereas others award millions of dollars. Many companies that used to install or manufacture asbestos have closed or gone bankrupt. This has resulted in the courts needing to put aside funds that can compensate victims. A few of the funds can pay out a large amount, whereas others are unable to do so, in which case the amount of compensation victims received has had to be rationed.

Another factor that can determine how much money someone receives revolves around how the Mesothelioma has affected a victim’s life. Loss of earnings, medical bills, and the amount of pain the victim is in will be taken into consideration.

The Preparation of a Trial

When an asbestos/Mesothelioma case is settled quickly the amount of compensation you’ll receive will be less than if your lawyer wishes to take your case to court, and present it to a jury. However, this process can take years and as Mesothelioma is a life-threatening condition a quick settlement is usually preferred.
Please note that if your case is taken to court you will have to pay court costs, attorney’s fees, and other costs. Therefore, you may receive approximately 60-66% of the monetary award once these fees have been deducted.

Disability Benefits
Most types of Mesothelioma qualify for disability benefits, and in cases such as these the Social Security Administration will expedite them so they are received quickly.

How your Lawyer is Paid
Your lawyer will not charge you any upfront fees, instead, they will receive a percentage of the damages you are awarded. They will also receive expenses that you would have agreed to pay. A typical lawyer’s fee (Known as a ‘Contingency fee’) is approximately 25 to 40% of the damages you’ll receive. The fees will depend on:

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How much you bargain before you sign the agreement
If there is a cap on the fees
If you go to trial
If you settle out of court and
If the lawyer is keen to take your case

How to find a Lawyer

Not every lawyer will work on a Mesothelioma case, however, lawyers in your local area are likely to know someone who will. When you find a lawyer who is willing to work on your case ask them about their experience and fees, so you can find the right lawyer to work with you.

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