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Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

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There are currently about 3000 new cases of Mesothelioma diagnosed per year, mostly in men over the age of 40.

Filing a Mesothelima lawsuit is the means provided by our legal system for a person who believes that he or she has been injured by the misconduct of another person (or corporation) can seek compensation for those injuries from the person or corporation that committed the misconduct. The person seeking compensation is called the plaintiff - the person or company that compensation is being sought from is called the defendant.

The lawsuit begins when the plaintiff files a document called a complaint in court. The complaint will identify all the defendants and contain statements (called "allegations," because they have not yet been proven to be true in a court of law) of what the defendants did wrong, and how that wrongful conduct has harmed the plaintiff.

Mesothelioma - Statute of Limitations on Filing

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma , your case must be filed within the statute of limitations. This means that the case must be filed within a certain time period or you will be barred from receiving compensation. The statute of limitations is different for each state, but for mesothelioma lawsuits, the statute is generally one or two years from the day a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma . In a wrongful death suit, the statute is generally one or two years from the day of death. It is imperative that an asbestos lawyer is contacted before the statute of limitation passes.

Mesothelioma - Before You File

Before you can file a lawsuit for mesothelioma , your lawyer will inquire where and when you were exposed to asbestos products. He may show you pictures of asbestos related products or investigate the locations where you worked. Thorough documentation is needed to establish the asbestos exposure, along with as much testimony as possible. Then, he or she will file an individual mesothelioma lawsuit naming the offending companies as defendants.

Some companies have been granted protection under bankruptcy laws and cannot be sued. However, these companies have set aside large sums to pay for injuries from asbestos products. They might not be named in your suit, but settlements from these companies may be recovered as well.

Your lawyer may file your suit in a different state from where you or the company resides because the chances of receiving compensation may be better in another state. This will only heighten your chances of recovery and will not increase the cost to you.

Mesothelioma asbestos lawyers represent mesothelioma lawsuits on a contingency basis meaning lawyer is only paid an agreed percentage after there has been a settlement with an asbestos company. If there is no mesothelioma settlement, nothing is paid for legal services mesothelioma asbestos attorney.

Two Types of Mesothelioma Cases

Mesothelioma lawsuits are divided into two categories - one, where the individual suffering from mesothelioma is living and is bringing the mesothelioma lawsuit as a claimant in his or her own individual ability; the second, where the individual with mesothelioma has died, and the claimant is a spouse, relative and/or representative of the departed individual's estate. The first is called a personal injury lawsuit (a "living case"), the second is called wrongful death lawsuit (or "death case"), and the laws and procedures that apply to them can be rather different, depending on what authority the case is filed in.

Living Mesothelioma Case

In the case of the living claimant, the most important factor is time. The lawyer will come to the claimant's home and gather the information necessary to file the mesothelioma lawsuit and answer the interrogatories. This will probably take some time. Then, in most cases, there will be one or two depositions of the claimant, depending on what the local procedures are. Once the deposition(s) are done, the claimant's lawyer does the rest.

Deceased Mesothleioma Case

In the case where the individual who would normally be the claimant is deceased, a court-appointed individual (usually the spouse or a close relative) stands in as the claimant, and the injuries claimed include the loss of life itself. The most important part of a death case is finding individuals who remember working with the claimant, to provide the work history and product exposure testimony that the deceased individual (called the "decedent") would have provided were he or she still living. The interrogatory answers are done and signed by the actual claimant, and that individual may or may not have to give a deposition. Sometimes the co-workers must give depositions as well. As in the living case, at that point the lawyer takes over and prepares the case for trial.

Mesothelioma Trial

This is the end stage. Most cases settle before there is any actual trial testimony in court, but often a jury has to be picked and be ready to hear the case before there is a settlement (the composition of the jury can effect the settlement value of the case). Generally, where there are multiple defendants, different defendants will settle at different stages, and some will hold out to the end. Often, where there is trial, it will only be against one or two defendants.

If the case goes to trial and the jury renders a verdict, that is not the end of the line. Either side can file an appeal, claiming that the jury found against them because of a mistake made by the judge at the trial. Cases often settle while they are on appeal as well.

If the case goes to trial and the jury renders a verdict, that is not the end of the line. Either side can file an appeal, claiming that the jury found against them because of a mistake made by the judge at the trial. Cases often settle while they are on appeal as well.

Mesothelioma Resolution

In asbestos litigation, settlement payments often take place months after the settlement is agreed to. This is because the defendants or insurance companies that are writing the checks are also writing checks on thousands or tens of thousands of other cases. Also, settlements may need to be approved by underwriters at places like Lloyd's of London, where much of the world's commercial reinsurance is written (for more on this, see Asbestos Litigation History). Some payments come in several months after the settlement is reached, some payments will be more than a year later. Unfortunately, because of defendants filing for bankruptcy, some won't come in at all (at least until a bankruptcy trust starts paying out, which is sometimes years later). Some settlements can be in more than one payment.

Out of the gross amount of each settlement, the claimant's attorneys will deduct the attorneys' fee, which is usually 33-40% of the total. Out-of-pocket lawsuit expenses will also be deducted at this time. The remainder, sometimes described as the amount to which the claimant is entitled, goes to the claimant. Because the asbestos bankruptcies are so backlogged (especially with all the new ones, which have not even had claim procedures set up yet), the case will generally remain open for a number of years after the settlement of the case that was pending in court.

Mesothelioma Different Types of Compensation

  • Lost income and future lost income
  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages due to asbestos company conduct

Compensation varies significantly with the average case settling between $750,000 and $8 million. The amount of compensation depends on many factors including:

  • The length of exposure
  • The products exposed to
  • Dates of exposure
  • Locations of exposure
  • Lawyer or attorney resources
  • Amount of documentation

Amounts of settlements vary widely, not only from case to case but from region to region and state to state. Even different counties within the same state can have substantial differences in settlement values. It is very important to work with an attorney with mesothelioma case experience in your area. We can get you in contact with an experienced mesothelioma attorney in your area.

If you would like to have your case evaluated by an experienced Mesothelioma lawyer in your state, please take a moment to fill out our contact form and a Mesothelelioma lawyer will get back to you in 24-48 hours to help you with your Mesothelioma legal questions.

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