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How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article
Meirowitz, S. (2024, February 2). Mesothelioma Lawsuit. Asbestos.com. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma-lawyer/lawsuit/
Meirowitz, Samuel. "Mesothelioma Lawsuit." Asbestos.com, 2 Feb 2024, https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma-lawyer/lawsuit/.
Meirowitz, Samuel. "Mesothelioma Lawsuit." Asbestos.com. Last modified February 2, 2024. https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma-lawyer/lawsuit/.
- Mesothelioma lawsuits are filed against those responsible for asbestos exposure such as manufacturers, mining companies and employers who failed to protect workers.
- Both those with primary or secondary asbestos exposure can file mesothelioma lawsuits.
- At the midpoint of 2023, mesothelioma lawsuits filings were 8% higher compared to the previous year, according to the consulting firm KCIC.
Latest Mesothelioma Lawsuit Updates
When comparing the asbestos lawsuit filings from January through July 2023, mesothelioma cases made up 54% of the asbestos litigation compared to 51% for the same timeframe in 2022, according to the consulting firm KCIC. Overall in 2022, patients or their family members filed roughly 3,550 asbestos lawsuits seeking justice for asbestos-related illnesses that could have been prevented.
- January 2024: Johnson & Johnson reached a tentative settlement as part of the company’s efforts to resolve an investigation 40 states had launched into allegations of misleading the public about the safety of its talc-based baby powder. This possible agreement doesn’t settle ongoing consumer lawsuits.
- December 2023: Hess Corporation will pay approximately $187 million to settle asbestos lawsuits related to an oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The funds are intended to cover more than 900 asbestos-related disease lawsuits.
- November 2023: The Delaware Supreme Court absolved Bayer AG of liability for lawsuits related to talc-based foot powders that the company acquired from Merck & Co. a decade ago. The court ruled that Merck is responsible for the lawsuits involving asbestos-contaminated talc products produced before the acquisition.
- October 2023: As of this month, reportedly more than 50,000 women are actively suing J&J over allegations of asbestos-contaminated talc in its baby powder.
Asbestos lawsuits serve a dual purpose. First, they hold companies accountable for exposing workers and consumers to asbestos. Second, they help mesothelioma patients take care of medical bills and other expenses related to their cancer.
Can You Sue for Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure?
You’re eligible to file an asbestos lawsuit if you can provide documentation of your asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis or other asbestos-related disease. Documentation examples include employment records, coworker testimony and medical reports from the medical center where you received the diagnosis.
A lawyer who specializes in asbestos litigation can help you collect documentation. Evidence to help prove your case is gathered during what’s called the discovery phase.
Expert Take | Joe Lahav: Do I need to know the exact details of my asbestos exposure to qualify for a mesothelioma legal case?
You may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit if you’ve lost a loved one to mesothelioma. You would need to be appointed as the representative or administrator of your loved one’s estate to file this type of lawsuit.
What Could Affect My Eligibility to File an Asbestos Lawsuit?
Timing can affect eligibility for both asbestos personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Each state has a different mesothelioma statute of limitations, which sets a time limit of typically around two or three years for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit.
In personal injury cases, the statute of limitations usually begins to run after the date a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma. In wrongful death cases, it begins to run after the date of the patient’s death. While it’s best to begin your case as early as possible, there are a number of factors that can impact the statute of limitations for an individual case. Speak with a mesothelioma lawyer about your specific options.
Another factor that may impact your eligibility is evidence of past asbestos exposure. Some people didn’t know they held jobs that involved asbestos products. Skilled law firms have investigators that research your work history and look into other places where you may have experienced asbestos exposure.
About 30% of the people who reach out to The Mesothelioma Center for legal assistance have a statute of limitation that has expired. It’s important to start your case as early as possible.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
The type of lawsuit your attorney files will depend on whether you’re a mesothelioma patient or a family member who lost a loved one to the disease. Attorneys file personal injury lawsuits for patients and wrongful death lawsuits for those who lost a loved one. Both are considered product injury lawsuits because they involve exposure to asbestos-containing products.
I think it’s important for patients to know that it’s a group decision as to how a case is handled. We provide the legal advice, but we also put together a range of different options depending upon what a client is physically capable of doing.
Speaking with patient advocates and legal experts to help you get started on your journey, exploring your legal options can help. They can share a unique perspective on options and top law firms to speak with for initial consultations.
As a survivor or family member facing significant health care costs, an asbestos lawsuit may be right for you. There are options available for seeking damages.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Mesothelioma patients may file a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit can name various asbestos companies that are responsible for exposing them to the carcinogenic mineral.
- Plaintiffs can include the mesothelioma patient and their spouse.
- The process may be expedited if the plaintiff is in poor health.
- The damages sought typically include medical and care expenses, travel costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and a loss of consortium for spouses.
A company’s failure to warn employees and consumers about the hazards of asbestos is the basis for liability in a lawsuit. If the lawsuit is successful, the mesothelioma patient receives compensation for their injury.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The estate of a deceased mesothelioma patient may file a wrongful death claim. Money awarded is for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost financial support, loss of companionship and past pain and suffering.
If a mesothelioma patient files a personal injury lawsuit but dies before resolution, it can be converted to a wrongful death lawsuit. The estate can then continue pursuing the lawsuit. The estate is the recipient of any funds awarded in wrongful death lawsuits.
Product Liability Lawsuit
Mesothelioma lawsuits are considered product liability claims because they allege an asbestos-containing product caused a personal injury or wrongful death. The areas of product liability law involved in asbestos lawsuits include negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty.
Once exposure to an asbestos product has caused an asbestos-related disease or death, the injured party or surviving loved ones may file a lawsuit. The steps for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit vary depending on the type filed.
Why File an Asbestos Lawsuit?
The financial benefits of a successful asbestos lawsuit include help with the significant costs of mesothelioma treatment for you and your family. Mesothelioma lawsuits can also compensate you for pain and suffering.
Beyond covering steep medical bills, successful mesothelioma litigation can also help families with related expenses such as caregiving and travel. Lost wages or loss of future income can also be covered.
Patient Story | Tamron Little: Should mesothelioma patients seek compensation for their exposure?
Pursuing legal action also holds companies accountable for their negligence. Many asbestos manufacturers were aware of the health risks but failed to protect workers and consumers. A lawsuit becomes a powerful tool in seeking justice.
A qualified asbestos attorney can help you decide whether to pursue a lawsuit and can guide you through the process. Their expertise can help you receive monetary damages that can help you build a more secure financial future for your loved ones.
Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
First, you must find an attorney who will prepare and file a written complaint with a court. Your attorney will work with you, discussing the best options for your case and communicating throughout the asbestos litigation process.
The litigation process may take several months. If you’re very sick, your attorney may ask the court to speed the process along. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf throughout each step.
1. Choose an Attorney
The first step in a successful filing process is choosing an attorney experienced in asbestos cases. Top mesothelioma law firms will provide you with a free consultation to talk about your case and address your legal options.
You can prepare for an initial consultation with a law firm, gathering relevant information about your diagnosis and asbestos exposure. Don’t worry about recalling all the details now or being able to answer every question. A good mesothelioma law firm will help investigate your asbestos exposure history to aid your lawsuit.
2. Case Review and Preparation
A case review is also called a case evaluation. This is an opportunity for you and the law firm to learn about each other. How the firm handles the case review process will tell you a lot about how it operates and communicates with clients.
The first steps of a mesothelioma case review can take place virtually or in person. Often, the review begins with a phone conversation between the patient and asbestos attorney. The attorney will ask broad questions to learn more about the patient’s diagnosis and asbestos exposure.
3. File Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Your attorney will research what lawsuit and asbestos compensation options best fit your individual needs. A skilled attorney will help you prepare all the documentation needed to support your lawsuit. They will handle everything when you file a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit or a claim with a mesothelioma trust fund.
It’s so important for mesothelioma patients to go through the litigation process. They can tell their story in front of a jury of their peers to say it’s not right that a corporation knew or should have known about a poison they were putting into their products and did it anyway.
After gathering relevant information, your attorney will file the lawsuit on your behalf. They will manage the legal proceedings and recommend when to take a settlement offer or negotiate for more compensation.
Connect with a Top Mesothelioma Attorney
Only a qualified attorney can determine if you are eligible and help you seek the mesothelioma compensation you deserve.
4. Responses and Discovery
Each defendant in your lawsuit will receive a copy of your complaint. They will have a certain amount of time, usually 30 days, to respond. Defendants rarely admit fault. They often deny allegations and argue against your complaint’s validity. Defendants may contend that someone else is to blame. Your attorney will respond and argue on your behalf.
Lawyers on both sides will gather information about your allegations. Plaintiffs and defendants answer questions, produce documents and take part in depositions. Some of the information may become evidence used at trial. During a deposition, questions are answered under oath. This is often done from the comfort of your own home and always under the guidance of your attorney.
5. Settlement or Trial
Before a trial starts, defendants may offer you money to resolve the case. Mesothelioma settlements depend on multiple factors and can influence your decision about whether to go to trial. If you decline a settlement offer, it’s possible the defendant will make another offer. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf.
Going to trial is rare. Even if a case does go to court, you may not be required to appear. The trial process varies depending on where you file a lawsuit.
Results depend on factors such as your history of asbestos exposure, the state where the lawsuit is filed and your medical history. If you win and the defendant doesn’t appeal, you’ll usually start receiving payments a few months after the verdict.
If you win the trial, defendants may decide to file an appeal. There is a limited amount of time to file an appeal, usually between 30 and 180 days after the verdict. This will delay any monetary award, but defendants will need to post a “bond” for the amount awarded while the appeal proceeds.
If the defendants lose their appeal, you’ll receive payment. If the appeal is successful, defendants may end up paying a smaller amount or nothing at all. If you win at trial and the defendant doesn’t choose to appeal, you’ll typically receive payments within a few months after the verdict.
Notable Asbestos Lawsuit Verdicts
Some of the most notable mesothelioma verdicts have reached and exceeded tens of millions of dollars. If your case proceeds to trial, there is a possibility of reaching a settlement. Most cases are resolved through settlements before reaching the trial stage. The following notable asbestos lawsuit verdicts represent recent outcomes and historically significant cases.
- $250 million: Awarded to a retired steelworker in 2003 over asbestos exposure in insulation.
- $75 million: Awarded to the wife of a race car driver in 2017 over exposure to asbestos-containing engine gaskets.
- $48 million: Awarded to the family of a construction worker in 2012 over asbestos exposure in building materials.
- $43 million: Awarded to a woman in 2022 over exposure to asbestos fire doors.
- $29.4 million: Awarded in a talc lawsuit to a long-time talcum powder user in 2019 over exposure to talcum powder contaminated with asbestos.
- $18.6 million: Awarded to the family of a factory worker in 2014 over asbestos exposure at a tire plant.
- $18 million: Awarded to a barber’s son in 2016 over exposure to asbestos-contaminated talcum powder.
Verdict amounts have historically varied widely depending on the specific circumstances of each case. You and your lawyer can discuss average verdict amounts, typical settlements and the details in your individual case as you navigate the litigation process together.
Key States for Asbestos Litigation
More asbestos lawsuits are filed in states where asbestos exposure is more prevalent. Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania rank among the top states with the most asbestos-related legal lawsuits.
According to KCIC’s report, in the first half of 2023, New York saw the biggest increase in filings with a 31% rise. The filing of more than 3,500 asbestos lawsuits occurred throughout the U.S. in 2022.
Asbestos exposure in these states commonly traces back to manufacturing plants, automobile factories, power plants and construction sites. Exposure most often occurred at commercial and industrial job sites. Secondary exposure also occurred when workers brought asbestos fibers home on clothing.
You may be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit outside of the state in which you live depending upon where you were exposed to asbestos or where the responsible company is located. Plaintiffs from abroad can also file lawsuits in the U.S. state where they were exposed. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you and your family decide the best jurisdiction in which to file your asbestos claim.
History of Asbestos Litigation
Asbestos litigation dates back to as early as the 1960s and the link between asbestos and cancer was confirmed in the 1960s as well. Throughout the history of mesothelioma lawsuits, there have been significant precedents that have helped set the stage for historic verdicts and successful settlement negotiations that help patients and their families.
Lawsuits continue to be filed today and courts are actively hearing asbestos cases. Recent developments in mesothelioma lawyers’ approaches to working with their clients benefits patients as they navigate litigation, particularly during treatment.
2020 – Present
Asbestos Litigation Shifts to Online Practices
Beginning in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, mesothelioma lawyers transitioned to virtual and teleconferencing services to protect clients from infection risks. Asbestos attorneys continue to provide remote virtual consultations to help clients file mesothelioma lawsuits without missing deadlines because of restricted travel or health issues.
Roby Whittington is Awarded $250M
A landmark verdict of $250 million was awarded to 30-year United States Steel Corp. worker Roby Whittington. The largest asbestos verdict against a single defendant, the verdict awarded $50 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages.
Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products
Attorney Ward Stephenson filed what has become a historic mesothelioma lawsuit for Clarence Borel who had worked in shipyards and oil refineries. Stephenson sought $1 million in damages for Borel, naming several asbestos manufacturers as defendants and arguing the companies knew about asbestos dangers and should have warned workers. Borel died before the jury’s verdict. His widow was awarded $79,436.
First Asbestos Lawsuit Filed
Clarence Borel’s co-worker Claude Tomplait was diagnosed with asbestosis in 1966. Ward Stephenson filed the first asbestos products lawsuit on Tomplait’s behalf in December 1966. The defendants were 11 asbestos insulation product manufacturers, including Johns Manville, Fibreboard Paper Products and Owens-Corning Fiberglas. The case went to trial in 1969 and the verdict was in favor of the defendants.
Tort Laws Pave Way for Asbestos Litigation
The American Law Institute published “The Restatement of the Law of Torts.” It said that anyone “who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is liable for the harm caused by that product to the consumer or end user.” It also explained this would not include unsafe products as long as they were “accompanied by proper directions and warning.” Courts decided asbestos manufacturers knew the dangers of asbestos exposure but failed to appropriately warn asbestos workers and consumers. This opened the floodgates for asbestos-related lawsuits.
Research Shows Asbestos Causes Cancer
Dr. Irving J. Selikoff, Dr. Jacob Churg and Dr. E. Cuyler Hammond’s research showed people who worked with asbestos were more likely to be diagnosed with lung damage or disease. There had been evidence among asbestos workers for decades, but the asbestos industry had denied the validity of the claims.
Dozens of companies have filed for bankruptcy under the weight of asbestos lawsuits. They established asbestos trust funds to compensate future victims and their families. Your attorney can advise you if you should file a trust fund claim.
Time to File a Mesothelioma Claim is Limited
Connect with a mesothelioma attorney to determine if you are eligible to receive compensation after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Lawsuits
- What are mesothelioma lawsuits?
Mesothelioma lawsuits are legal claims patients and family members file against asbestos manufacturers. Types of mesothelioma legal lawsuits include personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, which are product liability claims.
- How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?
The legal process for an asbestos-related lawsuit depends on the health of the plaintiff. The process can take several months or even longer, however, it can be expedited depending on your health.
In either scenario, the defendants may try to delay the progress of your case. Your attorney will work to resolve your case as soon as possible. They will handle each step so you can focus on your wellbeing and spend time with your loved ones.
- Should I join a mesothelioma class-action lawsuit?
In general, mesothelioma class-action lawsuits are uncommon. Patients with mesothelioma and their families usually have a better chance of receiving compensation through an individual personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. You may be able to join a multidistrict litigation, where many individual lawsuits get grouped and processed together without lumping plaintiffs into a single class. For example, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania manages the largest multidistrict litigation for mesothelioma cases.
- How much do mesothelioma lawyers charge?
A mesothelioma patient does not need to pay an attorney up front. Any costs associated with the lawsuit are taken from any settlements or reimbursements the patient may receive down the road. Someone going through the worst time in their life doesn’t have to worry about the added costs of hiring a lawyer.
Answered By: Jim Kramer, Mesothelioma Attorney, Simmons Hanly Conroy Law Firm
- What should you expect from a mesothelioma lawsuit?
The next thing that happens is talking to the person you want to represent you, learning about all the types of exposures that may have occurred 20, 30, 40 years in the past. Once that occurs, the lawyer takes over, files the case, and does the due diligence of which companies might be responsible for the asbestos exposure for this individual.
From there, depositions may occur if the client wants to go in that direction, or there’s also the option of filing with certain bankruptcy trusts. Eventually, depending on how the case progresses, the case may go to trial, in which case, we provide the best possible trial
advocacy to compensate the victim.
Answered By: Jim Kramer, Mesothelioma Attorney, Simmons Hanly Conroy Law Firm
- Will I need to travel?
You may not need to travel. Mesothelioma attorneys can often handle the entire case process from their office and travel to you when necessary.
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