What to Expect When Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Mesothelioma is a tumor of the tissue surrounding the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs. This type of cancer is most commonly caused by the asbestos, which is a mineral that can be found in the environment, home insulation, as well as some household items. Because asbestos causes this cancer, you may have the chance to file a lawsuit to receive money for the damages your family has suffered. These funds can be used to pay off medical bills, make up for lost time at work, and much more, but it isn’t an easy task. Here are some things you should prepare for when you file a mesothelioma lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
The first thing you need to look up is if you are still within the statute of limitations for your state. Every state has a different number of years that you are able to pursue a lawsuit for mesothelioma. You can find all of the statute of limitations time periods on the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance website. The period usually begins from the date of diagnosis or the time of death if you’re filing for a family member or spouse who has passed away.
Because every case is different, the amount of time you’ll spend involved with the case may vary greatly from other similar lawsuits. Mesothelioma cases rarely make it to a jury, because they are usually settled out of court. If you have all of your facts, papers, and evidence readily available, then the claim moves much faster than if you still needed to obtain all of the necessary documents. It is possible to receive your damage payments in just a few months, but it could also take up to two years to complete.
The average mesothelioma settlement is tough to calculate. There are many factors involved in this type of lawsuit, including how many victims are involved, the cost of medical expenses, distress incurred, lost wages, and other bills you may have accrued. It’s possible to receive hundreds of millions of dollars, although the average case settles anywhere from $1 million to $1.4 million.
There are usually multiple defendants that are required to pay and most individuals involved in mesothelioma lawsuits will receive payment installments over a period of time rather than one large lump sum. However, it’s also possible that your attorney could fight for the latter. Additionally, your lawyer’s fees are taken from your damage settlement amount in the form of a percentage, though this amount is also negotiable.
Beginning the Lawsuit
To start a mesothelioma lawsuit, you first need to find an attorney. This step is the most critical of the process as a good attorney can increase the amount you are able to recover. You should choose someone who specializes in your type of case because they will have much more knowledge. For example, companies set aside funds to pay for medical expenses for mesothelioma patients, and an experienced lawyer knows how to have access to these resources. A good attorney can also take you through the process, step-by-step.
Be prepared that the defendants, or who you’re suing, will fight tooth and nail to decrease the payout as far as possible. Because of this fact, anything you have in your history can be used as evidence against you, including:
- Smoking, drinking, or drug use
- Family history of health problems, especially cancer
- Working in other places where asbestos may have been a problem
- Failure to be properly diagnosed by a medical professional
- Failure to properly file the petition and all paperwork
- Possibility that your health condition is related to something else
Your attorney will properly defend you against any accusation that the defendants throw at you, although it will be very stressful. Having a good lawyer also assists your case during this step, as they may have had experience with the accused and their defenses used in the past.