There are three main types of compensation: asbestos trust fund claims, settlements and lawsuit verdicts.
Mesothelioma compensation varies depending on case type. Compensation may be available from asbestos trust funds, settlements or jury verdicts. Settlements average around $1 million and lawsuit verdicts average $2.4 million. Compensation from trust funds may take less than one year. The time frame for payouts from trials or settlements varies based on the specific case.
Mesothelioma compensation averages from $1 million to $2.4 million. Financial compensation for mesothelioma may come from asbestos trust funds, settlements or jury verdicts. It typically takes less than one year to receive mesothelioma compensation from trust funds and settlements. It may take years to receive compensation from trial verdicts.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma compensation differs for each type of claim. According to a 2016 Mealey’s Litigation Report, the average mesothelioma trial payout is about $2.4 million. The average settlement ranges from $1 million to $1.4 million.
If a mesothelioma claim goes to trial, a settlement could be reached or a jury could determine the amount of compensation, if the defendant is found guilty of the asbestos exposure. Most cases settle before trial.
If a loved one dies from mesothelioma, compensation may be available to family members, spouses or dependents through a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the loved one’s estate.
Mesothelioma compensation helps cover medical expenses, lost wages, travel costs and other losses. It also provides financial security for families when a loved one can no longer work.
There may also be other types of financial assistance available. It’s important to weigh all of your available options for compensation to decide what is best for you and your family.
How Long Will It Take to Get Compensation?
Reaching a verdict from a jury trial and then receiving compensation could take years, but defendants may offer to settle quickly, possibly within several months. The amount of time it takes to receive compensation also depends upon the type of claim that you file.
Money from asbestos trusts may be received within a few months.
Deciding whether to file a lawsuit is an important decision in any situation, especially if you are coping with the stress of a terminal illness. A mesothelioma lawyer can provide the most accurate estimate of how long it might take to receive compensation for your unique case.
Types of Mesothelioma Compensation
Sources of mesothelioma compensation include asbestos trust funds, as well as verdicts or settlements obtained through lawsuits.
Legal claims directed to asbestos trust funds outnumber mesothelioma lawsuits because many asbestos companies have gone bankrupt. This does not necessarily mean that those companies have escaped liability.
In bankruptcy proceedings, many asbestos manufacturers have been ordered to set up trust funds with enough money to compensate future asbestos victims. Most trust funds contain hundreds of millions of dollars, and some even contain billions.
A mesothelioma lawyer may recommend that you file both a trust fund claim and a lawsuit depending upon which asbestos products are relevant to your case.
Asbestos Trust Funds
If you develop mesothelioma as a result of exposure to an asbestos product made by a company that went bankrupt, your legal claim for damages may be processed through the bankrupt company’s trust fund rather than the court system.
Trust fund claims generally are processed quicker than mesothelioma lawsuits because they don’t have to be handled by the court system. Claimants typically receive compensation within a couple of months.
A mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit frequently is the best type of claim to file if your family wishes to receive compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. A mesothelioma attorney can walk you through the process and handle every legal detail while you focus on treatment and recovery.
Another option is filing a wrongful death claim when a person dies of mesothelioma. Surviving family members often represent the estate when filing this type of claim.
- Personal Injury Claims: These lawsuits are filed by people diagnosed with mesothelioma seeking compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.
- Wrongful Death Claims: These lawsuits are usually filed by the estate of a deceased loved one who died of mesothelioma.
If the defendants do not settle and your case goes to trial, a court or jury will decide your case. If the defendant is found liable, the trial verdict will include monetary compensation. Each mesothelioma case is unique, and there are no set guidelines for compensation.
If you win, the amount owed to you depends on the facts of your case and other factors such as medical costs and lost income.
According to a 2021 leading industry report, more than 3,600 mesothelioma lawsuits seeking compensation were filed in the U.S. in 2020.
A settlement happens when a defendant offers to pay compensation to a mesothelioma plaintiff in exchange for discontinuation of the lawsuit.
Many mesothelioma lawsuits are settled before trial. A qualified asbestos law firm will negotiate settlements on your behalf and advise you on whether to take the compensation or pursue a trial.
Several factors affect whether your mesothelioma lawsuit reaches a settlement. Some defendants decide settling a claim is cheaper than incurring more legal fees and affords certainty of the amount of payment rather than risking a loss at trial, along with an uncertain amount of damages.
Other defendants are willing to risk a trial because they can opt to negotiate a settlement at any point, particularly if the evidence in the case seems to favor the defendent.
Who Is Eligible for Compensation from Asbestos Exposure?
Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma who was exposed to asbestos can file a claim for compensation. An experienced asbestos attorney can help gauge your eligibility, as well as the value of your case.
You also may be eligible to receive compensation if you lost a loved one to mesothelioma. Close family members such as spouses and children who lost their loved one to mesothelioma may qualify for compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Proving the mesothelioma diagnosis and evidence of asbestos exposure is vital, whether filing a claim as a patient or as the survivor of a loved one.
Are Family Members Eligible for Compensation?
Yes, surviving family members who lost a loved one to mesothelioma may be eligible for mesothelioma compensation. Family members may represent the estate of the loved one who died by filing a wrongful death lawsuit or trust fund claim.
A qualified mesothelioma lawyer can review your case and advise you on whether you are eligible to file a claim, as well as the best claim to file depending upon the circumstances of your case. In certain cases, surviving family members may be eligible to receive compensation through multiple legal options.
How to File for Compensation for Mesothelioma
The most important step is finding an attorney with the right experience. In particular, it is beneficial to select an attorney with deep experience handling mesothelioma lawsuits. They will have the experience necessary to handle your case and maximize compensation that may be available to you.
The right mesothelioma attorney will help you understand your options and won’t promise a certain amount of compensation.
- Get an Attorney: Find out what compensation you may be eligible to receive by speaking with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer who can help determine what’s best for you and your family.
- Discovery Period: Work with your attorney to help them discover the facts concerning your asbestos exposure history. This process generally focuses on the places you’ve worked and which products you were exposed to.
- Weigh Your Options: Consider all options for compensation that your attorney presents, which may include trust funds and lawsuits.
- Accept or Reject Settlement Offers: If you decide to file a lawsuit, you may have to consider settlement offers from defendants. Your attorney will counsel you on whether to settle your claim or whether to move forward to trial.
If you decide to accept a settlement offer from a defendant, your lawyer will manage the settlement process. Both your lawyer and the defense attorney will report the settlement agreement to the court, which will issue an order of settlement. The defense will prepare a document called the Release. Once agreed upon, your lawyer will send it to you to sign and have notarized.
Any personal liens, whether medical (typically health care providers) or governmental (for example, Medicare, Medicaid or child support agencies), will need to be paid from the settlement amount before your lawyer can disburse the remainder of the settlement to you.
Before accepting a settlement amount, consider and track all the expenses related to your mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment. Account for cancer treatment, traveling for treatment, hiring help and affording complementary therapies.
Transportation can become costly, as can hiring a home health aide to help with cooking, cleaning, yardwork, general maintenance and your care. Your health insurance may not cover complementary therapies, such as massage therapy, so it’s important to note these costs as well.
Documenting Your Exposure
No one is expected to remember everything about their work, health, life and asbestos exposure history. It’s simply too much information, and the time between exposure and diagnosis is too long.
This is one of the reasons why people file lawsuits instead of workers’ compensation claims. Additionally, often the time has expired legally to file a workers’ compensation claim in many cases.
Your attorney will help you document your asbestos exposure by asking questions about your work history to determine your exposure to products containing asbestos. They’ve done extensive investigations into thousands of job sites to reveal exactly which asbestos products were used and when they were used. They can also conduct new investigations into workplaces to determine whether asbestos was used. This can include reviewing purchase order histories and other historical records.
Resources Exclusive to Mesothelioma Lawyers
The single most important action you can take when considering an asbestos claim is to speak with a qualified mesothelioma attorney. They have resources to trace your exposure history that other attorneys do not have, and those resources can help your case significantly.
- Product Identification: Books featuring pictures of asbestos-containing products and their packaging help former asbestos workers identify the products they used. Knowledge of exposure to specific products or brands can significantly raise the value of your case.
- Employment Records: These are accessible through the federal government with your approval. These documents prove you worked where asbestos products were used.
- Eyewitnesses: Attorneys will also attempt to identify and locate coworkers, friends or other witnesses who can help confirm your exposure history.
- Expertise: Experienced attorneys can compare your case to others they have handled and see how it stacks up. Case histories from other claims can be a good indicator of what can be expected in your case.
The nation’s top mesothelioma law firms offer free consultations and case reviews. This gives you an opportunity to ask important questions and learn more about the firm and its history of success.
Average Mesothelioma Compensation Amounts
Average mesothelioma payouts vary depending on the type of compensation pursued and several other factors. The annual Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos states average mesothelioma compensation amounts, including:
- Average mesothelioma lawsuit verdicts are about $2.4 million.
- Average mesothelioma settlement payouts vary from $1 million – $1.4 million.
- Trust fund payouts vary greatly. High-paying trusts may award $125,000 or more. Individuals may seek compensation from more than one trust.
Mesothelioma patients and their families should discuss claim options with an experienced lawyer. Many factors may impact the amount of compensation awarded. For example, though lawsuits often have higher average payouts, some individuals may wish to avoid a trial.
Factors Affecting Mesothelioma Payouts
The amount of mesothelioma financial compensation awarded varies based on several factors, including:
- Type of asbestos claim filed
- Venue, or location, of where you file your mesothelioma claim
- Occupational history, including any military service
- Asbestos exposure history (type of asbestos, location and amount of exposure)
Your mesothelioma law firm can help you determine which option is best suited to your situation.
Other Types of Financial Assistance
In addition to compensation from a mesothelioma claim, you can take advantage of other types of financial assistance, such as: military veteran claims, private health insurance, medicare and medicaid, long-term disability insurance, social security disability payments and community assistance.
These programs are designed to help anyone with a serious illness. Some of these programs can provide financial assistance in just a few weeks or months, and certain programs provide ongoing monthly compensation.
Military Veteran Claims
Many people who served in the U.S. armed forces – especially those who worked in shipyards – were exposed to asbestos.
Veterans have a right to file a VA claim seeking compensation for any illnesses that developed as a result of their military service. The paperwork can be confusing and complicated. A VA-accredited claims agent can help.
VA-accredited claims agents often recommend that veterans file a VA claim at the same time they file a legal claim. Waiting to file these claims separately will only delay things. Compensation received from one claim generally won’t impact the other, which means you’ll receive compensation more quickly if you file these claims at the same time.
Private Health Insurance
Health insurance can help offset your expenses. If you already have insurance, review your out-of-pocket deductible and copay amounts as well as any limits on coverage.
If you receive benefits through your employer’s group health insurance plan and are unable to return to work, your employer will usually stop paying for your health insurance. You can continue your coverage for a limited period of time, but your premium generally will increase.
Be sure to review your insurance documents, get more information from your insurer and talk with your human resources manager.
Medicare and Medicaid
You may be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid benefits. These government programs offer health care benefits for eligible senior citizens, people with disabilities and those with limited income.
These health insurance options provide coverage for all forms of mesothelioma treatment. Copays in these programs tend to be more affordable than certain forms of private insurance. This financial assistance helps families afford cancer care but generally does not cover 100% of treatment costs.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
If you have long-term disability insurance, you may be able to receive a percentage of your salary.
Usually, this is only available if you will be away from work for more than several months. You must submit paperwork so your insurer can determine if you are eligible for benefits. This includes documentation from your doctor verifying your disability.
It typically takes one to four months to start receiving benefits. Your policy may also limit how long you can receive benefits. If you do not already have long-term disability coverage when you are diagnosed, you may not be eligible for a new policy.
Social Security Disability Payments
If you are unable to work because of your illness and you are still eligible, you can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.
You may qualify to receive a disability determination within days, but it usually takes several months to apply for and begin receiving benefits.
The Social Security Compassionate Allowances program allows patients with certain serious diseases to apply for benefits under a fast-track process. Pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients are eligible for this program.
Assistance may be available in your local community. Some organizations provide grants to help families with transportation, lodging, food and other out-of-pocket costs that arise during treatment.
There may also be volunteers in your community who can help you with errands, transportation and other caregiving duties. Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society or another cancer support group for more information.