What Makes Mesothelioma Lawyers Unique?
Mesothelioma lawyers are different from other attorneys because they specialize in mesothelioma lawsuits, which are much more complicated than other lawsuits, require a lot more specific asbestos-related legal knowledge and are time sensitive.
The best mesothelioma lawyers have access to databases that contain information about companies that used asbestos, manufacturers of asbestos, asbestos products, state asbestos laws and other tools not available to other types of attorneys.
Mesothelioma lawyers who are well-versed in asbestos-exposure cases offer you the best chance of winning enough compensation to cover treatment and provide for your family.
How to Hire a Qualified Mesothelioma Lawyer
The first step in hiring an experienced lawyer for your mesothelioma case is looking at the law firm’s credentials. A successful mesothelioma law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation will have attorneys who know the intricacies of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or asbestos trust fund claim.
Qualities of a Great Mesothelioma Attorney
- Expertise with Asbestos Litigation: A good mesothelioma lawyer is familiar with the state and federal laws specific to these cases.
- Understanding: They take time to listen and understand your situation to advise you on the best solution.
- Accessibility: A great mesothelioma lawyer will travel across the country to meet with you and respond to your inquiries.
- Resourcefulness: Mesothelioma lawyers have the materials and resources to build a solid case.
- Respect: A top mesothelioma lawyer is recognized as an industry leader by their peers and clients.
Make sure your lawyer has a proven track record of success winning both out-of-court settlements and trial verdicts.
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Does Location Matter When Choosing a Lawyer?
Most established mesothelioma law firms serve clients nationwide, no matter where they live. Many lawyers will travel to advise you in your home, so you can stay comfortable.
Don’t feel discouraged from filing a lawsuit if you live in a remote area — you have the same legal rights as anyone else.
Can I Afford a Mesothelioma Attorney?
In asbestos lawsuits, attorneys typically work on a contingency-fee basis. This usually means you pay nothing until you receive compensation and nothing at all if your case is not successful.
Contingency fees protect you because they usually are based on a percentage of any compensation you receive. Be sure to discuss this percentage with your mesothelioma lawyers during your first meeting.
Joe Lahav Legal Advisor at The Mesothelioma Center
“You should think about choosing a mesothelioma attorney the same way you would choose a mesothelioma doctor. You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist if you needed treatment for mesothelioma in your lungs. Likewise, you shouldn’t just assume any attorney is capable of handling a mesothelioma claim.”
What Expenses Can Be Covered by Legal Compensation?
A trustworthy mesothelioma attorney will never guarantee a settlement or a successful jury verdict. However, finding a mesothelioma lawyer who can offer a high probability of success will make it easier to obtain compensation.
Common Expenses for Mesothelioma Patients
- Treatment costs
- Lost wages
- Caregiver costs
- Travel expenses
- Therapy and grief support
- Funeral expenses
Punitive Damages in Mesothelioma Lawsuits
In addition to compensation to cover expenses (compensatory damages), mesothelioma trial verdicts may include punitive damages. These aim to punish the defendant and compensate the plaintiff for their pain and suffering.
For example, a New Jersey state court jury in 2018 awarded $80 million in punitive damages to a man who said he developed mesothelioma after using asbestos-contaminated talcum powder sold by Johnson & Johnson. Total damages for the case was $117 million.
What Claims Do Asbestos Lawyers Handle?
A qualified asbestos lawyer will help you decide the best way to pursue compensation, whether it’s through a mesothelioma lawsuit, trust-fund filing, VA claim or a combination of these.
There are two types of asbestos lawsuits: Personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.
- Personal Injury Claim: A person diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease files a lawsuit against one or more companies that may be responsible for their illness.
- Wrongful Death Claim: The estate of a person who died from the asbestos-related disease files a wrongful death lawsuit.
The vast majority of mesothelioma lawsuits never go to trial. Although a jury verdict may result in a larger reward, mesothelioma settlements are guaranteed compensation and typically a quicker resolution to a case.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts
Bankrupt companies that produced asbestos-containing products have set aside billions to compensate people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Qualified mesothelioma lawyers are well versed in the asbestos trust fund claims process.
VA Benefits and Legal Claims for Veterans
Some of the top mesothelioma law firms have on-staff military veterans who help other veterans receive compensation for asbestos-related illnesses through VA claims and legal claims.
These mesothelioma law firms have resources, such as a database of Navy ships that used the toxic mineral, that help veterans identify when and where they were exposed to asbestos in the military.
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Mesothelioma lawsuits have helped thousands of people receive compensation from companies that negligently exposed them to asbestos.
- $117 Million Awarded to Retired Banker
Retired banker Stephen Lanzo III and his wife won $117 million in 2018 against consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson and talc supplier Imerys Talc America. Lanzo claimed he developed mesothelioma after using asbestos-contaminated talcum powder products from 1979 to 2003.
- $75 Million Awarded to Wife of Race Car Driver
In 2017, the wife of a race car driver won a mesothelioma lawsuit in New York against a group of auto-part manufacturers. For years, she had swept the garage where her husband worked with asbestos-containing gaskets, which carried no warnings about health risks from asbestos exposure.
- $22 Million Awarded to Paint Maker
A California jury in 2017 awarded $22 million to the estate of a man exposed to asbestos-contaminated talc used in paint manufacturing. The award included $17.57 million for malice on the part of Vanderbilt Minerals and Imerys Talc America, along with $4.6 million in punitive damages.
- $18.6 Million Awarded to Family of Tire Factory Worker
In 2014, a Dallas County jury awarded $18.6 million to the family of a tire builder who died of mesothelioma. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employee was repeatedly exposed to asbestos over 30 years while working with Goodyear tire machines at a plant in Tyler, Texas.
Mesothelioma Legal Information by State
Laws, procedures and rules relating to asbestos claims vary from state to state. Some state courts are considered more lenient to businesses, while other courts tend to be more sympathetic to people harmed by asbestos exposure.
Experienced mesothelioma attorneys understand the differences between jurisdictions, including the filing deadline for each state.
Key states for asbestos litigation include:
Legal FAQ About Mesothelioma
We answer frequently asked questions about getting compensation for mesothelioma because it’s a complex process. Don’t let misconceptions prevent you from seeking important legal help from specialized mesothelioma lawyers.
When Should I Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
The sooner you seek legal help, the sooner you may be able to receive compensation to cover medical expenses. Mesothelioma lawsuits are time sensitive because of statutes of limitations. State laws may prevent you from filing a claim one or two years after learning about your diagnosis.
How Do I Choose a High-Value Asbestos Attorney?
Most mesothelioma attorneys offer free consultations. It’s possible to discuss your case with a qualified lawyer with no obligations, giving you a chance to find someone you are comfortable with at no cost. If you decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer only gets paid if you receive an award from a settlement or trial verdict.
Do I Sue the Military or the Government?
Mesothelioma lawsuits are filed against companies that produced and sold asbestos, not the government. If you were exposed to asbestos during military service, you may have the option to sue a company that supplied asbestos-containing products to the armed forces. If you don’t feel comfortable filing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover funds by filing a VA claim.
Couldn’t Any Lawyer Help Me File a Mesothelioma Claim?
Because mesothelioma lawsuits are complicated, you want to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Attorneys who are well-versed in asbestos-exposure cases offer you the best chance of winning enough compensation to cover treatment and provide for your family. Make sure your lawyer has a proven track record of success winning both out-of-court settlements and trial verdicts.
12 Cited Article Sources
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Christensen, J. (2018, April 11). Does talcum powder cause cancer? A legal and scientific battle rages.
Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/health/talc-ovarian-cancer-cases/index.html
Christensen, J. (2018, April 6). New Jersey couple awarded $37 million in talcum powder case.
Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/06/health/talc-mesothelioma-asbestos-damages/index.html
Talcum Powder Litigation Report. (2017, December 13). Calif Jury Awards $22.17 Million at Conclusion of Asbestos Talc Trial Against Imerys Talc, Vanderbilt Minerals.
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Halleman, L. (2017, March 13). Dana Cos. set to appeal $75 million asbestos verdict in New York court.
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Myers, J. (2016, December 2). Record-setting $18 million award could set precedent for future talcum powder cases.
Retrieved from: https://norcalrecord.com/stories/511042178-record-setting-18-million-award-could-set-precedent-for-future-talcum-powder-cases
Pass, H., Metula, S. and Vento, S. 100 Questions & Answers About Mesothelioma. New York: Jones and Bartlett, 2010.
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Cornell University Law School. (n.d.) 42 U.S. Code § 7412. Hazardous air pollutants.
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Last Modified July 27, 2019