Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was widely used until the late 20th century due to its heat-resistant and insulating properties. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious health problems, including mesothelioma. Because manufacturers who used asbestos knew about its toxicity, they can be held liable for the health consequences to employees.
Where is Asbestos Found?
Asbestos was used in a wide variety of industries. Going further, asbestos has been reported in many buildings over the years, including public schools, gas generation plants, auto mechanic garages, water treatment plants, shipyards, and more. If you worked in any of the industries or buildings, you could be at risk. If you do end up developing mesothelioma, you could file a lawsuit and receive a settlement.
What is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Mesothelioma lawsuits are often filed by individuals who have been diagnosed with this disease as a result of asbestos exposure. A mesothelioma settlement is a legal agreement between the plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit) and the defendant (the company or companies responsible for the asbestos exposure) to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries and losses. Once a diagnosis is obtained, it is important to act quickly. Because medical expenses will pile up, you will want to reach a settlement as soon as possible.
How Do We Reach a Settlement?
A mesothelioma settlement typically includes compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Settlement amounts can vary widely depending on the severity of the disease, the age of the plaintiff, and other factors. It is vital to contact a trusted and experienced attorney, such as Cooney & Conway, to walk you through the process. Your focus should be on your health and recovery, so let us at Cooney & Conway fight the legal battle for you.
How Long Does the Legal Process Take?
The length of time it takes to reach a mesothelioma settlement can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Some settlements may be reached relatively quickly, while others may take years to resolve. In general, the more complex a case is, the longer it may take to reach a settlement. Factors that can contribute to a longer settlement process include the number of defendants involved, the amount of evidence that needs to be collected and analyzed, and the availability of expert witnesses.
One important consideration is the statute of limitations. This is the amount of time that a mesothelioma victim has to file a claim. Symptoms of mesothelioma usually won’t appear until over ten years after the exposure itself. Because of this, the statute of limitations clock starts ticking once your doctor diagnoses you with mesothelioma, not once you are actually exposed. Different states have different statutes of limitation, so be sure to contact your attorney as soon as you or a loved one are diagnosed.
How Much are Settlements?
The average settlement for mesothelioma cases can be difficult to determine because each case is unique. Settlement amounts can range from tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some circumstances include:
- The economic burden to the victim. Treating mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases is incredibly expensive. If the victim is the primary worker or breadwinner in the home, or if a working adult has to take FMLA to care for the victim, settlements can be much larger.
- The amount of noneconomic damages being claimed. Experienced lawyers know how to file for mental and physical pain and suffering damages.
- The age of the victim. If a person is diagnosed before they reach retirement, they can claim lost wages as well as medical expenses.
- Whether the case goes to trial or is settled outside of court. In general, settlements reached outside of court tend to be lower than those awarded by a judge or jury after a trial.
- The defendant's ability to pay. If the defendant is a large corporation with significant financial resources, it may be more likely to offer a larger settlement amount.
Are Mesothelioma Settlements Taxable?
Mesothelioma settlements are generally not taxable. According to the IRS, compensation for personal injury or sickness is not considered taxable income. Any mesothelioma settlement for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, or emotional distress is not taxable.
Mesothelioma defendants are not usually required to pay punitive damages, but in cases that they are, that compensation is taxed. Further, if you earn interest on your payout, the interest amount could also be taxed. This usually occurs when the victim does not choose a lump-sum payment.
Another scenario that could lead to compensation being taxed is if there are multiple compensation channels. For example, imagine a case goes to a jury trial, but the defendant settles before the trial ends. There will be the settlement payout, but there could also be a jury verdict of punitive damages. This will complicate the tax implications, so it is vital to work with a tax professional or experienced attorney to fully understand your compensation amount.
Are all Lawsuits Successful?
Unfortunately, not all mesothelioma lawsuits receive settlements. Some cases may be dismissed, while others may go to trial. In some cases, a settlement may not be reached because the plaintiff and defendant cannot agree on the terms.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Asbestos litigation and mesothelioma settlements are intricately complex legal battles. Thankfully, experienced attorneys have been immensely successful in these cases. Attorneys, specifically here at Cooney & Conway, have a library of legal research. Cooney & Conway is a personal injury law firm based out of Chicago. We have two dozen trusted attorneys with years of combined successful litigation experience, specializing in mesothelioma cases.
Here at Cooney & Conway, we know the precedents that have been set, and we are familiar with the defenses that asbestos companies are likely to use. At Cooney & Conway, we know how to gather the needed evidence, including, but not limited to medical records, dates, witness statements, and employment records. Further, in some cases, there are multiple companies or employers responsible for asbestos exposure. We are experienced and skilled in tracking down every possible defendant.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney at Cooney & Conway to discuss your legal options. We offer a free consultation to anyone in need. Simply fill out this free case evaluation form, and let us do the rest!