Getting Money After Your Asbestos Cancer Claim Case
Asbestos exposure can cause serious illness, including mesothelioma and several other types of cancer. Today, workers who need to work with or near asbestos use special safety equipment to decrease exposure and prevent them from facing those illnesses.
Unfortunately, many construction workers, miners, and manufacturing workers faced asbestos exposure long before the information came to light about the potential hazards of these minerals. Others may have faced exposure due to inadequate safety precautions taken by their companies, even after companies learned more about the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Do you have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness? You may have grounds for an asbestos claim.
Asbestos Claims Payouts
Many companies now recognize the hazards they exposed workers to and have taken steps to set aside compensation for those workers. In other cases, the law forces companies to pay out the money patients with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses deserve for their injuries.
On average, a mesothelioma settlement payout for asbestos exposure totals between $1 million and $1.4 million. If the claim must go to court, the victim generally acquires an average of $2.4 million. That does not necessarily mean, however, that everyone who receives a settlement or court award for asbestos exposure will receive that amount. An attorney cannot guarantee your claim results but can help give you a better idea of how much you should expect for an asbestos-related claim.
Past plaintiffs who filed asbestos claims have also received higher settlements due to extenuating circumstances. For example, in 2005, a court-mandated a $250 million payout for an asbestos claim.
The compensation you receive for an asbestos claim will depend on several factors. An attorney can help evaluate the factors that can contribute to your claim.
How Many Companies May Be Liable for Your Asbestos-Related IIllness
To pursue an asbestos claim, you will start by identifying the companies that exposed you to asbestos.
Most often, these include:
- Mining companies
- Construction companies
- Companies that manufactured or repaired brakes
- Plumbing companies
- Demolition companies
If you worked in more than one of these companies or professions, you may need to file a claim against each one to receive the compensation you deserve for an asbestos claim. Seeking compensation from multiple companies can help increase the compensation you ultimately receive.
Keep in mind that asbestos fibers often cling to the worker’s clothing or possessions after he or she returns home, which can expose family members to those fibers. The fibers can then irritate the lungs that can lead to asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma and many types of cancer. If a loved one in your household worked in one of those facilities, you could have symptoms of asbestos-related diseases even if you did not work with them yourself, and you may deserve compensation from the company that your family member worked for.
Your Diagnosis and Medical Difficulties Related to Asbestos Exposure
In most personal injury claims, including claims related to asbestos exposure, the basis for the damages claim relies on the extent of your medical bills. Treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses can leave patients with substantial medical bills, many of which may continue to grow throughout your treatment.
By tracking medical bills from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses, you can provide a more accurate picture of your medical costs related to your illness. Treatment for mesothelioma, for example, may cost between $11,000 and $12,000 per month of treatment.
Medical costs may include:
You may also have costs from oxygen tanks to use in the home or physical or occupational therapy. In some cases, you may need multiple procedures to help resolve asbestos-related illnesses. Many victims with mesothelioma, for example, aim to improve the quality and duration of life as much as possible through their treatments. Unfortunately, these treatments may primarily extend life, rather than eliminating mesothelioma, which spreads aggressively through the body in many cases.
Keep track of all of your mesothelioma-related medical bills. You may, in some cases, receive more than one bill for the same procedure: for example, if you had surgery, you might receive a bill from the hospital, a bill from the surgeon who performed the procedure, and a separate bill from the anesthesiologist, depending on the way the hospital sets up its billing.
If you lose a loved one to mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you should keep track of your loved one’s medical bills. Often, you will still need to cover those bills even after the death of your loved one, and providing proof of those expenses can make it easier to obtain the settlement you need.
What Lost Wages You Faced as a Result of Asbestos-Related Diseases
Asbestos-related diseases can lead to substantial lost wages, especially for people like construction workers and miners, who work in highly physical professions. Many of the diseases and disorders related to asbestos exposure, including everything from pleural thickening to mesothelioma, can cause shortness of breath that worsens with exertion. As a result, many workers with these diseases may miss time at work or even lose the ability to work in that profession due to their illness.
Workers with mesothelioma or cancers related to asbestos exposure, including lung and laryngeal cancers, may also need to miss work during cancer treatments, since the therapies can drain them. Some patients may suffer from such severe illness that they must leave the workforce altogether during this recovery time.
An asbestos claim payout can help many patients recover some of those funds, making it possible for you to take care of your bills, including both medical bills and regular expenses, despite your lost time at work.
Where You File the Asbestos Claim
Some states have better provision for mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases than others. Where you file the claim can have a huge impact on the compensation you ultimately receive for your losses. For example, in New York, a judge awarded $190 million to five plaintiffs, one of the largest payouts received by patients with asbestos-related diseases. A New York jury also awarded a single plaintiff the largest historical mesothelioma payout in New York for a single patient: $75 million.
Whether You Settle or Go to Trial Over Asbestos Caused Illness
Historically, choosing to settle out of court, rather than taking your claim before a jury, results in lower payouts for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related claims. However, that does not necessarily mean that you want to take your claim to trial. Keep in mind that those numbers represent the averages, and may not always determine how much compensation you deserve.
While going to trial can sometimes increase the settlement amount a patient with an asbestos-related disease receives, many victims choose not to go to trial for several reasons. First, accepting a settlement ends the process and helps get those funds in your hand faster. Many patients need those funds to help cover their medical expenses or provide for their families. Mounting legal fees can also make it difficult for patients who have suffered asbestos-related illnesses to continue pursuing a trial.
An attorney may also advise settling based on evidence or witness testimony that could favor the defendant in a claim.
What Proof You Have of Exposure to Asbestos
Years ago, no one knew about the potential dangers of asbestos. Not until the 1970s did it come out that exposure to asbestos fibers could lead to the development of mesothelioma or substantially increase the risk of developing certain cancers.
Once employers knew about those potential dangers, they took steps to decrease exposure in their employees: not using those materials, for example, or using special safety equipment that helps reduce exposure to asbestos and prevent workers from breathing it in.
These safety protocols also ensure that workers who must deal with asbestos do not collect fibers on their clothing that they then take home to their family members.
Asbestos exposure occurs through fibers in the air: fibers too small to see with the naked eye. As a result, you may need to investigate to discover the extent of your asbestos exposure and when it occurred. If you have mesothelioma, which only occurs with asbestos exposure, you know you faced exposure at some point, but you will need to document when it occurred to file your lawsuit.
It can take between 20 and 50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos for victims to start to develop symptoms of mesothelioma, which can make it even more difficult to prove exactly when exposure occurred.
Key Factors in Asbestos Lawsuits
Your attorney may investigate these key factors.
Did the company you worked for deal deliberately in asbestos?
Until the 1970s, asbestos commonly ended up used in insulation. It offers an inexpensive solution commonly used in many homes. Likewise, mining workers may have deliberately worked with asbestos. In this case, company records will clearly show asbestos use and exposure. If you can prove employment by that company during that time period, you can likely show the evidence you need to win your case.
Did your company take inadequate safety precautions even after information about asbestos-related illnesses started to emerge?
Once information emerged about the dangers of working with asbestos, the government regulated how companies had to deal with it and what precautions they had to offer their workers. As modern technology improves, restrictions on working with this dangerous material become even stricter. Companies must offer adequate protection and safety gear for their workers.
Did your company fail to provide you with adequate safety protection?
Did you face exposure, despite the known risks, because of inadequate safety equipment? You might not have the ability to check the specific equipment that you used, but you may have evidence that shows that a specific company failed to take adequate precautions regularly. You may also have photographs or other evidence that may display inadequate safety gear used during a specific time frame. An attorney can help you better understand what evidence you can present to show how your company handled safety protocols when dealing with asbestos.
Does the company have a compelling testimony or evidence that could work in its favor?
In addition to the other factors involved in the claim, your attorney will investigate the company you worked for and its evidence. Sometimes, the company may have compelling testimony or evidence that indicates that the company had no knowledge of the risks or that the company offered adequate safety precautions, but you faced exposure to asbestos anyway.
In other cases, the company may offer compelling evidence that your exposure did not occur in that location, even if you worked with asbestos while working for that company.
The Duration of an Asbestos Claim
The amount of time it takes to settle an asbestos claim varies for each individual. Sometimes, you can settle relatively quickly, especially if you have compelling evidence and accept a settlement offer early in the process. Other times, however, you may go through multiple rounds of negotiation before reaching an agreement with the company.
Once you reach a settlement agreement, payments will begin sometime later. Keep in mind that most asbestos claim payouts do not arrive in a lump sum. Rather, you will likely receive payments steadily over time, whether you file a claim for yourself or file a claim after losing a loved one to mesothelioma or an asbestos-related illness. Discuss your options for structuring your payments with an attorney to get a better idea of what options you have and how they will work for your current needs.
If you faced a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, an experienced asbestos injury attorney can be an invaluable resource. While you have some time after you receive a diagnosis, you still need to file your personal injury claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you better understand your options, gather evidence, find witnesses, and improve the strength of your claim. This can greatly expedite the outcome of an asbestos claim, and help ensure you and your loved ones are made whole as soon as possible.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
(833) 700-MESO