Last modified: August 30, 2021
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 payout 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 of the asbestos exposure.
If a loved one dies from mesothelioma, compensation may be available to family members, spouses or dependents through a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate.
Mesothelioma compensation helps cover travel costs, treatment expenses and lost wages. It also provides financial security for families when a loved one can no longer work.
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 receive compensation for your unique case.
Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
Sources of mesothelioma compensation include asbestos trust funds and verdicts or settlements obtained through lawsuits.
Legal claims for asbestos trust funds outnumber claims for mesothelioma lawsuits because many asbestos companies have gone bankrupt. This does not mean those companies have escaped liability.
In bankruptcy proceedings, 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.
A mesothelioma lawyer may recommend that you file both a trust fund claim and a lawsuit depending on which asbestos products you were exposed to.
Asbestos Trust Funds
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 handled by the court system. Claimants typically receive compensation within a couple of 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. A mesothelioma attorney can walk you through the process and handle every legal detail while you focus on treatment and recovery.
Another option is filing a wrongful death claim when a person dies of mesothelioma. Surviving family members often represent the estate when filing this type of claim.
- 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.
According to a 2021 KCIC industry report, more than 3,600 mesothelioma lawsuits seeking compensation were filed in the U.S. in 2020.
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 reaches 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 them.
Who Is Eligible for Compensation from Asbestos Exposure?
Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma who was exposed to asbestos can file a claim for compensation. An experienced asbestos attorney can help gauge your eligibility and case value.
You may also be eligible if you lost a loved one to mesothelioma. Close family members such as spouses and children who lost their loved one to mesothelioma may qualify for compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Proving the mesothelioma diagnosis and evidence of asbestos exposure is vital, whether filing a claim as a patient or a loved one.
Are Family Members Eligible for Compensation?
Yes, surviving family members who lost a loved one to mesothelioma may be eligible for mesothelioma compensation. Family members may represent the estate of the loved one who died by filing a wrongful death lawsuit or trust fund claim.
A qualified mesothelioma lawyer can review your case and advise you on whether you are eligible to file a claim and which kind of claim you may file. In certain cases, surviving family members may be eligible to receive compensation through multiple legal options.
Learn About Your Mesothelioma Compensation Options
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Only a qualified attorney can determine if you are eligible and help you seek the mesothelioma compensation you deserve.
How to File for Compensation for Mesothelioma
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.
The right mesothelioma attorney will help you understand your options and won’t promise a certain amount of compensation.
- Get an Attorney: 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.
- Discovery Period: Work with your attorney to help them discover all about your asbestos exposure history. This will focus on the places you’ve worked and which products you were exposed to.
- Weigh Your Options: Consider all options for compensation that your attorney presents, which may include trust funds and lawsuits.
- Accept or Reject Settlement Offers: If you decide to file a lawsuit, you may have to consider settlement offers from defendants. Your attorney will counsel you on whether to settle or move forward with a jury trial.
It is important to track all 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 to accommodate cancer treatment, traveling for treatment, hiring help and affording complementary therapies.
Transportation to and from medical providers can become costly on top of what you’re paying for treatment and health insurance coverage. It is also costly to hire a home health aide to help with cooking, cleaning, yard work, general maintenance and your care.
Make sure to also track complementary therapies, such as massage therapy, which relieve your symptoms. Your health insurance may not cover these costs.
Documenting Your Exposure
No one is expected to remember everything about their work, health, life and asbestos 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 workers’ compensation claim in many cases.
Your attorney will help you document your asbestos exposure by asking questions about your work history to determine which products you were exposed to. They’ve done extensive investigations into thousands of job sites to reveal exactly which asbestos products were used, where they were used and for how long. They can also conduct new investigations into workplaces to determine whether asbestos was used. This can include reviewing purchase order histories and other historical records.
Resources Exclusive to Meso Lawyers
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.
- 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 coworkers, 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.
The nation’s top mesothelioma law firms offer free consultations and case reviews. This gives you an opportunity to ask important questions and learn more about the firm and its history of success.
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, and certain programs provide ongoing monthly compensation.
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 those with limited income.
These health insurance options provide coverage for all forms of mesothelioma treatment. Copays in these programs tend to be more affordable than certain forms of private insurance. This financial assistance helps families afford cancer care but will not cover 100% of treatment costs.
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 must 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 Social Security 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.
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Compensation
- Is compensation available for asbestos exposure?
Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure is eligible for compensation. Forms of compensation include settlements, which avoid trials. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in the event of a loved one’s death due to mesothelioma. Mesothelioma lawsuits usually provide the highest amount of compensation to family members, spouses or dependents.
- Who is eligible for mesothelioma compensation?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible to file a mesothelioma claim for compensation. If a loved one died of mesothelioma, a lawyer or firm that specializes in mesothelioma can help family members file an asbestos claim after death.
- Is compensation still available from asbestos trust funds?
Approximately 60 active asbestos trust funds remain open with an estimated $30 billion available for claimants. Since the late 1980s, these trust funds have paid out about $20 billion, including an estimated $15 billion paid between 2006 and 2012.
- How can I apply for asbestos compensation?
The first steps in applying for asbestos compensation include speaking with a mesothelioma lawyer and finding out what type of compensation is most appropriate for your case.
- How do I find an attorney who specializes in asbestos cases?
You can begin your search for a mesothelioma lawyer by asking the right questions of a law firm: Can you provide a free case review? What’s your track record of success? How many years have you practiced mesothelioma cases? Are you available across the nation? What databases can you access for asbestos information?
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