Mesothelioma compensation from legal claims may come from asbestos trust funds, settlements and jury verdicts. Compensation averages from $1 million to $2.4 million for lawsuits, while trust funds routinely pay in six figures. Mesothelioma plaintiffs may receive compensation from multiple types of claims.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma compensation differs for each type of claim. According to a 2016 Mealey’s Litigation Report, the average mesothelioma trial award is about $2.4 million. The average settlement ranges from $1 million to $1.4 million. If a mesothelioma claim goes to trial, a settlement could be reached or a jury could determine the amount of compensation, if the defendant is found guilty for the asbestos exposure.
If you or your loved one is not filing a legal claim, there may be other types of financial assistance available. We understand that filing a lawsuit feels overwhelming and stressful. There are other options for compensation, and it’s important to weigh all your options to decide what is best for your family.
How Long Will It Take to Get Compensation?
How long it takes to get compensation depends upon the type of claim you file:
A verdict from a jury trial could take years, but defendants may offer to settle quickly, possibly within several months.
Money from asbestos trusts can come within a few months.
Deciding whether to file a lawsuit is an important decision in any situation, especially if you are coping with the stress of a terminal illness. A mesothelioma lawyer can provide the most accurate estimate of how long it might take to get compensation for your unique case.
Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
Asbestos Trust Funds
Many companies that manufactured products with asbestos declared bankruptcy because of the large number of mesothelioma lawsuits filed against them.
This does not mean these companies have escaped liability. In bankruptcy protection, asbestos manufacturers are ordered to set up funds with enough money to compensate future asbestos victims. Most trust funds contain hundreds of millions of dollars, and some even contain billions.
If you develop mesothelioma as a result of exposure to an asbestos product made by a company that went bankrupt, your legal claim is processed through the bankrupt company’s trust fund rather than the court system.
Trust fund claims are processed quicker than mesothelioma lawsuits because they don’t have to be processed by the court system. Claimants typically receive compensation within a couple months.
A mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit is the best type of claim to file if your family needs compensation to pay for medical bills and other expenses. If a person dies of mesothelioma, their estate may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
There are two types of mesothelioma lawsuits:
Personal Injury Claims: These lawsuits are filed by people diagnosed with mesothelioma seeking compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages and other financial matters.
Wrongful Death Claims: These lawsuits are usually filed by the estate of a deceased loved one who died of mesothelioma.
If the defendants do not settle and your case goes to trial, a jury will rule them liable or not liable. If the defendant is found liable, the trial verdict will include monetary compensation. Each mesothelioma case is unique, and there are no set guidelines for compensation.
If you win, the amount owed to you depends on the facts of your case and other factors such as medical costs and lost income.
A settlement happens when a defendant offers compensation to a mesothelioma plaintiff to drop the lawsuit.
Many mesothelioma lawsuits are settled out of court and never reach a jury trial. A qualified asbestos law firm will negotiate settlements on your behalf and advise you on whether to take the compensation or pursue a trial.
Several factors affect whether your mesothelioma lawsuit may reach a settlement:
Some defendants decide settling a claim is cheaper than racking up more legal fees and risking a loss at trial.
Other defendants are willing to risk a trial because they can opt to negotiate a settlement at any point, particularly if the case seems to be favoring you.
Eligibility and How to File for Asbestos Compensation
Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma that was exposed to asbestos can file a claim for compensation. An experienced asbestos attorney can help gauge your eligibility and case value.
Consider the following steps to get mesothelioma compensation:
Step 1: Find out what compensation you’re eligible for by speaking with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who can help determine what’s best for you and your family
Step 2: Work with your attorney to help them discover all about your asbestos exposure history
Step 3: Consider all options for compensation that your attorney presents, which may include trust funds and lawsuits
Step 4: If you decide to file a lawsuit, you may have to consider settlement offers from defendants
The most important step is finding an attorney with the right experience. You want to select an attorney who exclusively handles mesothelioma lawsuits. They will have the experience necessary to handle your case and maximize your compensation.
Remembering Your Exposure
No one is expected to remember everything about their work, health, life and exposure history. It’s simply too much information, and the time between exposure and diagnosis is too long.
This is one of the reasons why people file lawsuits instead of workers’ compensation claims. Too much time has passed to even legally file this kind of claim.
That’s why the single most important action you can take when considering an asbestos claim is to speak with a qualified mesothelioma attorney. They have resources to trace your exposure history that other attorneys do not have, and those resources can help your case significantly.
Resources Exclusive to Mesothelioma Lawyers
Product Identification: Books featuring pictures of asbestos-containing products and their packaging help former asbestos workers identify the products they used. Knowledge of exposure to specific products or brands can significantly raise the value of your case.
Employment Records: These are accessible through the federal government with your approval. These documents prove you worked where asbestos products were used.
Eyewitnesses: Attorneys will also attempt to identify and locate co-workers, friends or other witnesses who can help confirm your exposure history.
Expertise: Experienced attorneys can compare your case to others they have handled and see how it stacks up. Case histories can be a good indicator of what can be expected in your case.
Tracking Your Expenses
It is important to track all of the expenses related to your mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment. If you are unsure of what to track, think about how your illness has changed your daily lifestyle and your budget.
Expenses can include:
Travel: Transportation to and from medical providers can become costly. Even if your doctor is nearby, the cost of frequent trips quickly adds up. Because a select number of doctors specialize in mesothelioma treatment, many patients have to travel long distances to see an expert. As a result, you and your loved ones may need to pay for temporary housing near your medical provider.
Hiring Home Health Aides: You may require help at home handling things such as cooking, cleaning, yard work, general maintenance and caring for yourself.
Health Insurance Premiums: You will need to maintain your health insurance. If you are unable to return to work, you may lose your job, and the cost of your insurance premium may increase.
Complementary Therapies: You may decide to take advantage of alternative therapies, such as massage therapy, to relieve your symptoms. Your health insurance may not cover these costs.
Other Types of Financial Assistance
In addition to compensation from a mesothelioma claim, you can take advantage of other types of financial assistance. These programs are designed to help anyone with a serious illness. Some of these programs can provide financial assistance in just a few weeks or months.
Military Veteran Claims
Many people who served in the U.S. armed forces – especially those who worked in shipyards – were exposed to asbestos.
Veterans have a right to file a VA claim seeking compensation for any illnesses that developed as a result of their military service. The paperwork can be confusing and complicated. A VA-Accredited Claims Agent can help.
VA-Accredited Claims Agents also recommend that veterans file a VA claim at the same time they file a legal claim. Waiting to file them separately will only delay things. Compensation received from one claim won’t impact the other, which means you’ll receive compensation quicker if you file these claims at the same time.
Private Health Insurance
Health insurance can help offset your expenses. If you already have insurance, review your out-of-pocket deductible and copay amounts as well as any limits on coverage.
If you receive benefits through your employer’s group health insurance plan and are unable to return to work, your employer will usually stop paying for your health insurance. You can continue your coverage for a limited period of time, but your premium will cost more.
Be sure to review your insurance documents, get more information from your insurer and talk with your human resources manager.
Medicare and Medicaid
You may be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid benefits. These government programs offer health care benefits for eligible senior citizens, people with disabilities and people with limited income.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
If you have long-term disability insurance, you may be able to receive a percentage of your salary.
Usually, this is only available if you will be away from work for more than several months. You have to submit paperwork so your insurer can determine if you are eligible for benefits. This includes documentation from your doctor verifying your disability.
It typically takes one to four months to start receiving benefits. Your policy may also limit how long you can receive benefits. Like health insurance, if you do not already have long-term disability coverage when you are diagnosed, you may not be eligible for a new policy.
Social Security Disability Payments
If you are unable to work because of your illness and you are still eligible, you can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.
You may qualify to receive a disability determination within days, but it usually takes several months to apply for and begin receiving benefits.
The Compassionate Allowances program allows patients with certain serious diseases to apply for benefits under a fast-track process. Pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients are eligible for this program.
Assistance may be available in your local community. Some organizations provide grants to help families with transportation, lodging, food and other out-of-pocket costs that arise during treatment.
There may also be volunteers in your community who can help you with errands, transportation and other caregiving duties. Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society or another cancer support group for more information.