A diagnosis of mesothelioma can completely shake your life, both emotionally and financially. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart, and the main reason behind it is asbestos exposure. Because mesothelioma has a long latency period, it is often not diagnosed until decades after asbestos exposure.
By the time mesothelioma is diagnosed, it is often at an advanced stage. Treatment options at this point are limited, and prognosis is poor, with most patients surviving 12-18 months after diagnosis. Understandably, receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis leads to shock, grief, and immense stress.
On top of the emotional toll, mesothelioma also brings tremendous financial strain. Treatment is expensive – the average patient spends over $14,000 on care. Most patients are unable to work, resulting in lost income.
This is where legal aid and mesothelioma settlements come in. Because mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure, patients have the right to pursue legal action against liable companies. On average, mesothelioma settlements award patients $1 million. While no amount of money can make up for the suffering caused by mesothelioma, settlements provide crucial financial support when patients need it most.
What You Need to Know About Mesothelioma Settlements
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, understanding your legal options is important. Here is what you need to know about pursuing a mesothelioma settlement.
1. Who is Eligible for a Settlement?
To be eligible for a settlement, you must have a mesothelioma diagnosis and be able to identify the asbestos exposure that caused your disease. This often means tracing your work and exposure history.
Veterans who were exposed to asbestos during service are also frequently eligible. Out of these, Navy veterans make up approximately 30% of mesothelioma patients due to asbestos exposures while serving on ships where asbestos was rampant during the 1980s. While the VA provides some assistance, it does not cover all costs; therefore, filing a lawsuit against asbestos manufacturers can help veterans gain additional financial support.
2. When Can You Receive a Settlement?
Settlement times depend on the complexity of each case as well. Therefore, it’s important to hire an experienced mesothelioma attorney who can help move the process along as quickly as possible.
3. How Much Can You Get from a Settlement?
The amount of your settlement depends on the circumstances of your asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis, as well as the number of companies found liable.
On average, the mesothelioma settlement amount ranges between $1 million to over $1.4 million. And through asbestos trust funds, you can get more than $150,000.
What Are the Benefits of a Settlement?
One of the biggest advantages of a mesothelioma settlement is that it allows patients to avoid going to trial, which can be lengthy and grueling, especially for someone already dealing with an aggressive cancer. Settlements allow patients to receive fair compensation more efficiently.
Settlements also give patients and families a sense of justice and closure. After being exposed to asbestos through no fault of their own, mesothelioma patients can hold accountable the companies responsible for their illness. Successful settlements bring a feeling of victory and relief.
In addition, mesothelioma settlements provide crucial financial support to cover medical bills, lost income, and other significant costs. Specific benefits include:
- Funds to pay for medical expenses like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, clinical trials, and pain medication. Mesothelioma treatment is extremely expensive.
- Replacement income for lost wages, both current and future. Most patients have to stop working during treatment.
- Compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering.
- Payment for travel and lodging costs related to treatment. Patients often travel long distances to receive care.
- Support for loved ones who take time off work to be caregivers.
- Assistance with home health aides, nursing care, and other medical support services.
- Financial security for family members in case of a patient’s death. Mesothelioma has a poor prognosis.
While no amount of money can make up for the harm caused by asbestos exposure, settlements do provide mesothelioma patients and families with the vital financial resources they desperately need.
What is the Process for Receiving a Settlement?
Here is an overview of the typical mesothelioma settlement process:
- Consult with a mesothelioma attorney – The first step is to meet with a lawyer experienced in these cases. They will investigate your exposure history.
- File a lawsuit – The attorney will identify liable companies and file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Defendants are notified.
- Gather evidence – Your lawyer will collect medical records, employment documentation, expert testimony, and other evidence to prove your case.
- Negotiate with companies – Once evidence is gathered, your lawyer will negotiate directly with the defendants to reach a settlement. This avoids trial.
- Receive settlement payment – If negotiations succeed, the defendants will pay the settlement amount. Your attorney will take their fee percentage, and you will receive the rest.
- Pay medical bills and costs – Use the settlement money to pay outstanding and ongoing medical bills related to your mesothelioma treatment.
An experienced mesothelioma attorney will handle all negotiations and legal proceedings for you. This allows patients to focus fully on their health and treatment during this difficult time. The litigation process can move slowly, but a lawyer works to expedite matters as much as possible. With legal guidance, many patients can receive compensation in 12-18 months after filing their lawsuit. Settlements provide the most efficient path to financial support.
A mesothelioma diagnosis makes it difficult to know where to turn next. Understanding your legal options for a settlement, with the help of a lawyer, can provide hope during this challenging time. Settlements allow patients to gain a sense of justice while receiving crucial financial support for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs. Although mesothelioma has turned your life upside-down, settlements offer a way to gain control and look toward the future.
Focus on your health, rely on your loved ones, and let a skilled attorney handle the legal process for you.