If you live in the United States, the sad truth is you may have to rely on a lawsuit to get the funds you need to cover your mesothelioma treatments and related expenses. If someone else was responsible for exposing you to asbestos, there’s no reason you should struggle to cover the expenses alone.
How much you can get in a mesothelioma lawsuit depends on whether you settle or go to trial. According to one report, the average mesothelioma settlement is between $1 million and $1.4 million. According to the same report, the average award in a jury trial is $2.4 million.
This is an average, and you could get less or more. In 2005, one victim of asbestos exposure who was diagnosed with mesothelioma was awarded an astounding $250 million, making this the largest mesothelioma award to date.
What Are Mesothelioma Trust Funds?
Another option you may be able to pursue is a mesothelioma trust fund. This is a fund a negligent company establishes to pay off the legal claims that have been made against them. At this time in the United States there are more than 65 of these trust funds totaling $30 billion. The average payout from a mesothelioma trust fund is $180,000.
Although a court award is more than a trust fund payment or a settlement, keep in mind that a court battle will be a more expensive endeavor. It will also be more time-consuming, so it will delay your payout.
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Claim?
Your typical personal injury lawsuit will have a set time limit from the date of your accident in which you are allowed to file a claim. Mesothelioma can take decades to develop after your initial exposure to asbestos, so the statute of limitations is different in these cases.
In a mesothelioma lawsuit, in many states you will have one to two years from the time of your diagnosis to file a claim rather than from the time of your injury. This can vary depending on your location as these laws are made at the state level.
Once you’ve been diagnosed it’s important to contact an attorney to seek mesothelioma compensation as soon as possible. This is a fatal condition, and most patients will only have a few months to a year to live by the time their mesothelioma is discovered. This means time is of the essence in these cases.
How Do I File a Mesothelioma Claim?
These are the steps you’ll need to take to file the correct type of claim if you want your case to be successful.
Gather Your Documentation
The first step in putting your claim together is gathering any evidence that will prove your claim. This could be your medical records, a doctor’s statement, or the death certificate of a loved one who died after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. You’ll also want to find evidence that proves how often and for how long you were exposed to asbestos.
Determining Who to File Your Claim Against
To determine who is legally liable for your mesothelioma, you will need to prove that any defendant or defendants you are filing against:
- Was legally required to keep you safe
- Violated their duty of care toward you
- This violation constituted negligence
- The negligence caused your illness
The most difficult aspect to prove is that your exposure to asbestos caused your mesothelioma. Your attorney may have to call upon expert witnesses who can explain exactly how and why you’d develop the condition given your circumstances and medical record.
Filing Your Claim
Your attorney can give you more information about which type of mesothelioma claim is appropriate in your situation. You may end up deciding to file:
- A personal injury lawsuit
- A wrongful death lawsuit
- A trust fund claim
- A claim for government benefits
- A claim against a mesothelioma trust fund
Because every mesothelioma case is unique, the timeline of each case may differ significantly. In most cases, the plaintiff will receive their compensation in one month to one year.