If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be wondering about your options, including whether you should file a lawsuit against the persons or businesses responsible for the asbestos exposure that triggered this disease. Although the vast majority of mesothelioma cases are settled out of court, mesothelioma cases can be complex. Even if you’re hoping for an out-of-court settlement, you and your legal team still need to proceed as though you’re going to trial.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions from clients regarding the details and logistics of mesothelioma settlements, as well as the factors you and your lawyer may want to consider when deciding whether to accept a settlement offer.

What is a mesothelioma settlement?

A mesothelioma settlement is a monetary amount, agreed upon by all parties, offered in settlement of a claim in lieu of trial. Litigation can be expensive and time-consuming, in cases where an adverse liability determination seems likely, a defendant may make a financial offer to the plaintiff in exchange for dismissal of the case. Due to the employer or manufacturer negligence inherent in asbestos exposure and the aggressiveness of this type of cancer, mesothelioma settlements can often be in the millions of dollars, including:

Settlements can often benefit both parties equally. The plaintiff will have the security of knowing exactly how much he or she will receive in settlement of claims rather than putting this decision in the jury’s hands ; plaintiffs will often be able to collect these funds far sooner than if the defendant was found liable in a trial ; and the plaintiffs can avoid the time spent in trial. Meanwhile, the defendant will also know its exact liability rather than rolling the dice with the jury, will avoid further attorney fees, and can put this case behind it for good..

How do I know if I am eligible to receive a mesothelioma settlement?

If you or an immediate family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to settle your claims without going to court. However, for a settlement to proceed, all named plaintiffs (injured person and immediate family) must agree to accept the offer.  The defendants will not be willing to pay out a guaranteed amount to a plaintiff if the risk of being found liable with regard to the other plaintiffs remains.

A settlement can be offered at any phase in the process — in fact, one of Baron & Budd’s largest settlements in the state of California, $10.7 million, was not offered and accepted until after the defendant had been adjudged liable (but before the court entered a judgment on the jury’s financial verdict).

Mesothelioma Settlement Amounts

Most lawsuits settle out of court before they go to trial, although settlements can be offered in most phases of a lawsuit before they go to trial. In cases that go to trial, the average mesothelioma payment varies tremendously depending on the individual circumstances of each case. For more specific information about dollar amounts, see Mealey’s Asbestos Litigation Report of 2015.

Will my mesothelioma lawsuit be a class action lawsuit?

No.  All private mesothelioma lawsuits are filed individually.

How is a settlement amount determined?

A number of factors are taken into account when negotiating a settlement in a mesothelioma case.  A few of those are :

In one case, Baron & Budd negotiated a settlement for surviving family totaling $3.5 million in a case in which a 60-year-old custodian passed away from mesothelioma complications after spending nearly his entire career working among asbestos-containing compounds in school construction.

What is a Mesothelioma Trust Fund?

Because mesothelioma can manifest itself decades after first exposure, some culpable companies may be long bankrupt before they’re ever called to answer for their negligence. As a result, with pressure applied by law firms like Baron & Budd, these companies with personal injury or wrongful death asbestos claims against them that filed for bankruptcy were forced to the negotiating table to establish an asbestos bankruptcy trusts. Those who are unable or do not wish to sue the specific defendants responsible for their asbestos exposure may instead be able to collect a payout from the various trust funds if they qualify.

Once I agree to a settlement offer, how long does it take to receive the money?

In most cases, funds can be distributed within 30 days from the date the proper paperwork is provided to the settling company.  It can be longer if there are issues with Medicare, Medicaid or Private Health Insurers remaining to be resolved.

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