Mesothelioma Lung Cancer Lawsuit
Can I Sue for Asbestos Exposure?
You can sue the company that manufactured the asbestos product for their negligence in exposing you to dangerous levels of asbestos. In some cases, you might be able to pursue your employer for workers’ compensation benefits. By pursuing damages from the at-fault party, you could receive compensation for your medical expenses, income loss, and pain and suffering.
An asbestos lawsuit attorney can show you how to prove the connection between your work environment and your recent health care diagnosis. While pursuing a financial settlement, they can also represent family members of men and women who worked in asbestos environments and suffered due to second-hand exposure.
Dangers and risks of asbestos exposure
According to American Cancer Society (ACS) research, we have known about the dangers of asbestos as early as the 1900s. Asbestos damages the lungs and can create cancer cells when its particles are either inhaled or swallowed by people who handle products that contain it.
If asbestos exposure harmed you, it may also take a toll on your family and on your finances. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the danger of exposure to asbestos. Its research cites the following adverse health conditions that are the result of such exposure:
- Asbestosis: A scarring of the lungs that leads to difficulty breathing
- Pleural disease: A thickening of the membranes around the lungs and chest cavity
- Lung cancer: A cancerous tumor that invade the lungs and make breathing difficult
- Mesothelioma: A rare cancer that surrounds the lungs, chest cavity, and abdominal cavity
- Other forms of cancer: Including larynx, ovarian, pharynx, stomach, and colorectal
Being exposed to asbestos and its dangers often affects people who work in demolition, construction, home maintenance, home repair, shipyard, and property remodeling. If you or someone you love was injured in these or any other industry where you came into contact with asbestos-containing products or their airborne asbestos fibers, you may have the basis of a civil lawsuit.
Filing a mesothelioma and asbestos lawsuit
When you file a lawsuit, the mass tort attorney who represents you will investigate your allegation and collect evidence that substantiates it. The evidence that makes up your individual or collective lawsuit can include:
- Medical history
- Medical bills
- Employment records
- Witness statements and affidavits
- Asbestos expert observations
In addition to building your case file, your attorney will also identify the at-fault party and conduct interrogatories, depositions, and discovery sessions. He will organize and present your evidence to the at-fault party’s legal and insurance representatives.
Your lawyer will work toward reaching a settlement agreement that allows you to avoid a prolonged and emotionally trying trial and resolve your case with a favorable financial settlement.
Recoverable damages in mesothelioma lawsuits
As with any civil lawsuit, once you prove the at-fault party’s negligence and the connection between their negligence and your injuries, you can pursue them for financial compensation. You can request the following three types of recoverable damages:
- Economic damages are tangible and fixed expenses. They can include your emergency, ongoing, and long-term medical bills, any assistive medical devices you require, medication costs, and short- and long-term losses of income. Economic damages will also include funeral and burial expenses, where applicable.
- Non-economic damages are intangible and harder to calculate on your own. They are usually based on the extent of your injury, its length, and your prognosis. They can include physical disabilities, impairments, disfigurement, mental and emotional trauma, and pain and suffering.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, you could also be awarded punitive damages. These losses are additional monetary compensation you receive if the at-fault party’s actions are found to be intentional or egregious. Your lawyer will inform you if you qualify for punitive damages.
Individual and class action lawsuits for mesothelioma
When you file a lawsuit for the health hazards caused by asbestos exposure, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. If you are the survivor of an employee who became ill or lost their life because of exposure to asbestos that led to a diagnosis of several types of cancers known to be caused by asbestos, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits both have their basis in negligence.
In addition to personal injury and wrongful death cases, there can be two additional types of asbestos lawsuits. If you choose to file an individual lawsuit, you take on the task of identifying the cause of your mesothelioma, assigning financial liability to the at-fault party, and building a case for compensation. An individual lawsuit means you fight back against the identified defendant with no other plaintiffs.
You can also file a class action lawsuit. When you start such a case, you include others in your pursuit of financial compensation who were injured in a similar fashion and seek damages from the same at-fault party. An attorney will help you determine whether you are eligible to start or join a class action lawsuit with other injured parties.
Filing an individual lawsuit for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma
If you became ill or were diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or any other form of cancer as the result of asbestos exposure, you may consider filing an individual lawsuit against the at-fault party. When you do so, you bear the full burden of proving your lawsuit.
Your attorney will guide you through the process of drafting and sending a demand letter with details on your allegations against the defendant and the anticipated value of your lawsuit.
They can also:
- Investigate your allegations
- Assign a value to your case
- Comply with the statute of limitations
- Negotiate a financial settlement
- Represent you in court, if necessary
In addition, when you file an individual lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to obtain the evidence that supports your case. You also pay the costs associated with the filing of your lawsuit alone. That can include attorney’s fees, which can mean flat rates, billable hours, contingency fees, and/or other expenses.
Class action lawsuits involving mesothelioma
Because so many people suffer from asbestos-related types of cancers and other illnesses, they might have been injured by the same entity you cite for your injuries. If that happens, you have the option of starting or joining a class action lawsuit. In accordance with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 23 guidelines, a class action lawsuit must meet the following pre-qualifying criteria:
- The number of plaintiffs in the case makes individual lawsuits impractical.
- All plaintiffs in the case have common “questions of law or fact.”
- All plaintiffs in the case have similar claims against the at-fault party.
- All plaintiffs will be fairly represented, and their interests will be fairly protected.
Discovering that a large number of people have the same physical, financial, and legal complaint you have means you can band together to seek monetary compensation from the at-fault party. When multiple plaintiffs unite in a class action case, an attorney can help you understand the process, how each party shares the costs of the lawsuit, and how you can recover financial compensation.
Wrongful death lawsuits for mesothelioma
You have the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit if negligence led to the loss of a family member. The at-fault party’s negligence means they did not provide your loved one with the degree of protection they were due. So, you or other family members may be entitled to financial recovery. To prove you are entitled to compensation in an asbestos lawsuit, you must be able to:
- Prove an asbestos-related medical condition caused your loved one’s demise
- Identify which family members are eligible to seek compensation (eligibility may vary by state)
- Identify and assign financial liability to the correct at-fault party
When a lawyer represents you in your wrongful death case, he will explain each step involved in the compensation process and help you identify the company that negligently manufactured, sold, or installed products that contained asbestos.
When building your lawsuit, mesothelioma lawyers will also help you draft a complaint, conduct discovery sessions, hold depositions, and weigh settlement offers. If your case cannot be settled out of court, your lawyer will prepare your case for court.
Eligibility to file a mesothelioma lawsuit
Anyone who was in contact with asbestos without being warned about its dangers or without being informed that products they handled contained asbestos can seek financial compensation. According to Mayo Clinic, your personal exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers can lead to adverse health. Asbestos can cause your cells to mutate, multiply, and form cancer cells and tumors.
Similarly, sharing a home with someone who was exposed to asbestos can also lead to adverse health. You may be eligible to file a lawsuit if you are a:
- Man or woman who was exposed to asbestos and asbestos fibers at work
- U.S. veteran who was exposed to asbestos during your military service
- Person who was injured as the result of second-hand contact with asbestos
You may have been vulnerable to asbestos as a construction worker, home remodeler, general contractor, subcontractor, or in a host of additional careers. If you believe your asbestos exposure led to your being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a mesothelioma lawsuit lawyer can help you prove it and show you how to file an individual or class action case against the asbestos company.
Deadline to file a mesothelioma and asbestos lawsuit
The lawsuit you file for asbestos-related mesothelioma can be a personal injury or wrongful death case. It can also be a single or multiple plaintiff lawsuit. Whichever type of lawsuit you file, you will have a mandatory filing deadline. Every type of civil lawsuit has a time limit commonly called the statute of limitations.
In general, one of the following statutory filing deadlines will apply to your lawsuit:
- A personal injury statute of limitations will define the filing deadline for individuals suffering from asbestos exposure and subsequently diagnosed with mesothelioma.
- A wrongful death statute of limitations will define the filing deadline for family members who lost a loved one due to asbestos-related mesothelioma.
Once the relevant statute of limitations for your state has been determined, it can still vary according to:
- The date you were diagnosed with mesothelioma
- The date of a loved one’s asbestos-related demise
- The age of the injured party
Failing to have your lawsuit filed in time to comply with the statute of limitations could mean you inadvertently relinquish the ability to file at all and you could be left with no legal avenue to compel the at-fault party to compensate you or your family.
When you work with a network of attorneys, they will explain the many different factors that could potentially alter the statute of limitations in your case.
Working with a mesothelioma lawyer
Filing mesothelioma lawsuits for financial compensation after you are diagnosed with mesothelioma or after a loved one succumbs to it can be a complex and arduous process.
On your own, the legal parameters and complexities can be daunting. When a lawyer represents you in your pursuit of compensation, he will:
- Clarify your legal position
- Identify the at-fault party
- Organize and submit your evidence
- Comply with the statute of limitations
- Build a compelling case file
- Negotiate a favorable settlement
- Review the compensation process step by step
- Explain the merits of individual and class action lawsuits
When you decide to pursue the at-fault party for monetary recovery, the lawyer you choose to handle your case is important. Because mesothelioma lawsuits can be emotionally charged, look for an attorney who serves his clients with kindness and compassion. Some additional factors to consider when choosing an attorney to represent you include:
- Their area of specialization
- Their professional reputation
- Their client communication efforts
Your attorney should provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case. Look for a law firm that offers free reviews and consultations on your case and will accept your case on a contingency-fee basis. This type of fee agreement means you don’t pay out of pocket for attorney’s fees because your lawyer is only paid after your case is settled.
Steps involved in filing a mesothelioma lawsuit
Organizing and preparing your case can be an elaborate and involved process. It can include long periods of investigation, mountains of paperwork and documentation, numerous interviews and consultations, and assessing the potential value of your case.
In an asbestos lawsuit, you—and others if yours is a class action case—are the plaintiff, and the company from whom you seek monetary compensation is the defendant. When you pursue an asbestos manufacturer, your attorney will draft a letter of complaint and send it to the defendant. The defendant, then, has a limited amount of time — typically 30 days—to respond to the letter.
Additional steps in building your case can include:
- Investigating your mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer
- Reading and reviewing your medical evidence
- Identifying and consulting expert witnesses
- Filing a formal complaint against the at-fault party
- Conducting discovery sessions and taking depositions
The discovery process is an important part of your case because it allows your attorney to question the defendant in writing. It also means they can request documentation, evidence, and witness lists that may aid them in building your case.
Will a mesothelioma lawsuit go to trial?
The outcome of your personal injury, wrongful death, individual, or class action lawsuit varies depending on whether or not an agreeable financial settlement can be reached. Your case can be resolved with a financial settlement from the at-fault party or their insurance provider.
A settlement means you agree to accept a specified amount of money to conclude your case instead of proceeding to trial. A settlement is usually the preferred case resolution. Because you, not your attorney, make the final decision to accept or reject a settlement offer, the timeline of settling your case is often up to you.
If a settlement cannot be reached, your case will proceed to trial. At trial, attorneys for each side will present their case to a judge or jury who will decide which side prevails.
If your case is successful, the judge or jury will then decide on the financial damages you receive. Often, the defendant will appeal your victory, which can delay payment of your financial award.
If your initial lawsuit is unsuccessful, part of preparing your case can also involve filing an appeal. When you pursue the at-fault party for compensation, the lawyer that handles your case will walk you through each step of the preparation process. He will provide explanations and clarity around legal principles and statutes as well as their specific applications to your case.
Examples of verdicts in mesothelioma lawsuits
According to RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ) research, asbestos litigation is the longest-running mass tort litigation in the history of the country. This long history of asbestos litigation causes concern among many recent victims of asbestos exposure. Their concerns include worries that asbestos companies may file for bankruptcy or that funds will otherwise not be available to future claimants.
ICJ’s study of asbestos litigation goes back to the early 1980s and continues into the 2000s. Their research indicates that the number of claims continues to increase for asbestos-related cancer cases and for non-malignant cases. They also cite mesothelioma as a “signature disease” of asbestos exposure.
Attorneys can fight for the financial compensation you deserve. Some notable asbestos lawsuit verdicts include:
- $137 million awarded in the first class-action asbestos-related lawsuit
- $250 million to a former employee of U.S. Steel Corporation
- $18.6 million award for the family of a deceased tire builder
- $16.67 million verdict for the family of a past paper mill employee
Further research from Reuters cites the average payout in asbestos lawsuits. The average payout for:
- 2009 was $6.3 million
- 2010 was $17.6 million
- 2011 was $10.5 million
As the number of individual and mass tort asbestos injury lawsuits continued to increase over the years, asbestos companies opted to settle cases rather than go to court. Your attorneys should work to settle your mass tort case so that you can get the compensation you and your family deserve.
Just as people injured by asbestos exposure will experience a wide range of symptoms and illnesses, they will also have a wide range of financial damages. Calculating your recoverable damages on your own can be difficult. Your attorneys will help you understand how to assign a monetary value to your case.
Get help from an asbestos lawsuit lawyer
If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma or other forms of cancer due to dangerous asbestos exposure, complete our contact form for help getting started with your asbestos lawsuit.