Understanding Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuits

October 23, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Understanding Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuits

Mesothelioma Lawyer Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PAFlorida Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuits

In a class-action lawsuit, the law firm that files the suit often represents multiple individuals who have suffered similar damages due to the same company's negligence. Product liability claims, for example, often involve multiple individuals who have suffered injuries from the same product. In a mesothelioma class action claim, multiple individuals who have suffered asbestos-related damages can file a claim against the company that caused their illness by exposing them to asbestos. Although some companies purposefully withheld asbestos risks from their workers, most exposures occurred because of a lack of knowledge. Many companies operating before the 1970s were unaware of the risks of asbestos exposure. It wasn't until after the 70s when information about the dangers of asbestos became more well known. Even after the risks of asbestos came to light, many companies failed their workers through a lack of adequate safety precautions.

Are Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuits the Best Choice?

Historically, especially when the dangers of asbestos first came to light, many workers chose to file class-action lawsuits against the companies that caused the asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma class action lawsuits offer several advantages. First, by working with multiple other workers to file a class-action lawsuit, you can often increase the evidence you have available. Together, you may have a more compelling case than you might apart. Mesothelioma class action lawsuits also, in many cases, reduce legal fees and make it easier for victims who must already deal with mesothelioma bills or bills for cancer treatment to afford legal assistance. Not only that, theses type of mesothelioma lawsuits attract strong legal teams that will work together to accomplish the best outcome for everyone that participates in the claim. That does not necessarily mean, however, that a class action lawsuit offers the best options for everyone with mesothelioma or asbestos-related illness claim. Each person faces different obstacles as a result of asbestos exposure, and considering those factors individually can make a big difference in the amount each individual involved in the claim ultimately receives.

Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuits Differ From Personal Injury Claims

In a personal injury claim, including a claim for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, you will work directly with an attorney on your specific case. The attorney will focus on your needs and your desires related to the claim. When you file a personal lawsuit for damages faced as a result of asbestos exposure, you control many of the factors related to the claim.

You decide when to accept a mesothelioma settlement.

In some cases, as when filing a claim for a mesothelioma trust fund, you may have less room to negotiate. Dealing directly with the company that caused your asbestos exposure, on the other hand, gives you some room to negotiate for the funds that you feel you deserve as a result of your suffering due to asbestos-related diseases. You get to discuss your actual expenses and your suffering with your attorney and determine for what amount you would be willing to settle. If the company or its insurance company issues a settlement that does not meet your needs, you have the right to decide to continue to negotiate or to take your claim to court. In a mesothelioma class-action suit, on the other hand, the attorneys will decide on behalf of the claimants when to accept an offer and when to continue to negotiate. That means that even if you disagree with the amount that you ultimately will receive, you cannot push for further negotiation.

You get the mesothelioma compensation awarded to you, specifically.

In a mesothelioma class-action lawsuit, the award, after you pay your legal fees, gets split up among the claimants. Everyone receives equal compensation, regardless of the damages that they've suffered as a result of their asbestos exposure. While that may benefit a patient who suffered relatively minor medical complications as a result of asbestos exposure, for someone who faced a mesothelioma or cancer diagnosis, that might not reflect the compensation you really need to cover your medical expenses or to help provide for your family. When you file a mesothelioma personal claim, on the other hand, the compensation you receive depends on the specific injuries and damages that you suffered as a result of asbestos exposure. A mesothelioma attorney will calculate your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and include them as a direct part of your claim.

Your mesothelioma attorney will focus on your needs, not on the needs of the group.

In a mesothelioma class-action lawsuit, the attorney must consider the needs of the entire group of claimants. In some cases, those needs can vary dramatically from one person to another. For example, if you have advanced mesothelioma, you may need to reach a settlement and payment agreement quickly to pay off your medical expenses or to ensure that your family has the funds necessary to handle funeral and burial expenses. On the other hand, a patient who suffered from ovarian cancer but recovered might focus more on obtaining as much compensation as possible. Filing a personal injury claim in a mesothelioma or asbestos-related disease case, on the other hand, will allow your attorney to focus entirely on you and your needs.

Should I File a Class Action Lawsuit for a Mesothelioma Claim?

Most of the time, especially now, victims who have suffered from mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases choose to file a mesothelioma personal claim, rather than filing a claim through a class action lawsuit. In the early days, after the dangers of asbestos exposure came to light, many people did choose to file class-action lawsuits. Unfortunately, these had several disadvantages, including the fact that many victims could not yet know how their asbestos exposure would impact them long-term, or how high their medical expenses would rise during treatment. Now, most victims choose to file personal claims related to asbestos exposure. A mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit or claim can ensure that you get the money you deserve. This compensation is personal and unique to your situation and suffering. Your mesothelioma attorney can make sure that any mesothelioma settlement or award includes money for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits Can Help Pay for Medical Expenses

Asbestos-related diseases can range in severity. A patient who suffers from pleural plaques, which occur frequently after asbestos exposure, for example, may not even recognize those symptoms for quite some time. As a result, they might face relatively low medical expenses related to such an illness. Individuals with serious diagnoses, including mesothelioma or cancer, may have much more substantial medical expenses. These individuals may need their settlements to cover the cost of radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and long-term hospitalization or in-home care. Those who have lost loved ones to mesothelioma may also need to cover the cost of final medical expenses or the financial losses associated with losing one of the primary caregivers in the family.

Mesothelioma Causes Pain and Suffering

Like medical expenses, the suffering experienced by patients with asbestos-related disorders can vary. Some patients with pleural plaques or mild pleural effusion, for example, might not experience substantial symptoms: some shortness of breath, for example, or occasional mild chest pain. Others, especially cancer patients, may experience significantly more intense physical symptoms or increased suffering as a result of their illnesses. Mesothelioma patients may have a high risk of death as well as substantial physical limitations during treatment. Calculating this by individual expense can make it easier for patients to receive compensation that covers the full cost of their suffering.

Mesothelioma Limits Your Ability to Work

Many asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, cause shortness of breath or chest pain, particularly with exertion. For someone who works in a highly physical profession, like construction or the mining industry, that shortness of breath or chest pain could substantially reduce one's ability to work. Likewise, many people undergoing cancer treatment or treatment for mesothelioma may miss substantial amounts of work. On the other hand, some people shift industries or move to a position that does not require them to engage in highly physical activities. For example, a construction worker might choose to become a supervisor or to take on estimating projects, rather than constructing them. In many cases, this allows people to continue to work despite asbestos-related limitations. The lost wages suffered as a result of an inability to work because of asbestos-related illness varies by the individual when it comes time to seek compensation. Like other elements of the claim, it makes more sense to calculate these lost wages individually to increase the odds of a fair settlement for all parties.

What Do You Need to File a Mesothelioma Personal Injury Claim?

To file your mesothelioma personal injury claim or an asbestos disease claim, you will need to show evidence. You would need to present the same evidence for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit, though you will provide more detail as you file a personal claim.

Proof of Asbestos Exposure and When It Occurred

Your medical records will show proof of your mesothelioma diagnosis. You can only contract mesothelioma through asbestos exposure, though it can occur either directly or indirectly. Working directly with asbestos represents the highest risk, but some people have also suffered from asbestos-related diseases due to secondhand exposure when a family member came home with asbestos fibers on their clothing, and they inhaled it regularly. Your medical records, however, do not prove when you faced asbestos exposure. You may need to show how and when that exposure took place. If you worked for several employers who exposed you to asbestos, you may need to show which ones actually put you in a situation where you faced asbestos exposure, or you may need to consider the likelihood that you suffered exposure in a particular location. For example, people who currently work in demolition must take care to avoid asbestos exposure when demolishing old buildings that contain asbestos insulation or tile. Often, the symptoms of asbestos exposure do not arise until many years after the initial exposure. Mesothelioma, for example, may start developing between ten and fifty years. Most often, it takes at least twenty years for symptoms to arise. As a result, it can prove difficult to establish exactly when exposure occurred, especially if you worked for several different companies or on several different properties during that window. A mesothelioma attorney will go over employment records, old pictures, company records, and any evidence you have that indicates when you worked for the company to help prove that you worked for the company during a period when the company would have exposed you to asbestos.

Your Mesothelioma Medical Records

Your medical records do not just prove that, at some point along the way, you faced exposure to asbestos. They also serve as valuable confirmation of the difficulties you face as a result of your asbestos-related diagnosis and the extent of the medical bills you have faced in dealing with those problems. Your medical bills may serve as the foundation for your asbestos claim, so identifying the extent of your bills could prove critical.

A Statement From Your Physician

You may need a statement from the physician who treats your asbestos-related illness to help establish your claim. This statement will establish your diagnosis, your prognosis, and how your asbestos-related disease impacts your life. A physician's statement can provide much more personalized information about how the diagnosis has impacted your life. Often, patients face vastly different complications and outcomes related to even the same diagnosis, and the same symptoms on paper may look dramatically different in real life. Through this statement, you can establish more fully how your diagnosis has impacted your family and your life, specifically. This statement proves much more valuable in a personal claim, rather than a class-action lawsuit since the statement has little impact on the overall value of a mesothelioma class action settlement.

Do You Need to File a Mesothelioma Claim?

If you need to file a claim for mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, having an attorney on your side can make a big difference. You should consult an experienced mesothelioma attorney regarding your specific circumstances to determine your eligibility to file a claim. An attorney can provide you with more information about mesothelioma trust funds, give you a better understanding of the compensation you deserve for your suffering, and advise you about how to manage your claim. Contact an experienced asbestos attorney as soon after your diagnosis as possible to prevent the statute of limitations from impacting your ability to file a claim. You can reach our office at (833) 700-MESO [6376] or fill out a contact form online. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (833) 700-MESO [6376] https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/mesothelioma-practice-attorneys/


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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