The aftermath of asbestos usage in the United States has left an often tragic and even devastating path of destruction for exposure victims. For close to 100 years, between the late 1800s and mid- to late-1900s, millions of people were unknowingly exposed to a toxic and potentially fatal material. Many were exposed at work, while others came into contact with asbestos in their own homes-either from building components used during construction or through a process called secondary exposure.
Life after asbestos goes on with no detectable consequences for many people. But for the small and unfortunate portion that develops an asbestos-linked illness-such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or other forms of cancer-life is never the same again. All of these chronic and pervasive conditions cause significant physical and emotional distress for the victim-and in the case of mesothelioma cancers, death.
There is much information available about asbestos, its consequences and options for legal recourses. To offer victims of asbestos an easy and straightforward guide that is designed to cover a myriad of topics-from veteran exposure and cutting-edge treatment options to choosing a legal representative and taking your personal injury case to court.
PART XII: WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A MESOTHELIOMA SETTLEMENT
Most lawsuits today end with a mesothelioma settlement, which is an agreement between the two parties named in the suit for an amount that is paid to the claimant. Some asbestos-injury cases do still proceed to trial, when no agreement can be reached through out-of-court negotiations, but this is a far less common event than it was in the early days of mesothelioma litigation.
How a Mesothelioma Settlement is Reached
Both sides of a lawsuit must agree upon a settlement amount. To reach this point, a negotiation process generally occurs and is handled largely by the respective attorneys for each side. Settlement negotiations typically begin after the discovery phase, with an initial offer being made by the defendant(s), but settlement offers can also be submitted earlier or later in the process as well.
Pros and Cons of a Mesothelioma Settlement
There are several reasons that a settlement is advantageous over going to trial, for both sides. Settling a case means saving substantially on legal fees, court costs and-perhaps most importantly-time. Settled cases can be resolved in a matter of months and paid directly from asbestos trusts, getting compensation for claimants in a timely manner. For many mesothelioma victims and their families, having money in the bank sooner rather than later is vital as they may have easily find themselves struggling to pay exorbitant medical bills for chronic care and cancer treatment.
One disadvantage of settling a case over proceeding to trial is the actual payout amount. On average trial awards for mesothelioma claims tend to be about twice that of settlement awards. But it’s important to keep in mind that with the higher payout will also come a bigger cut off the top for paying your attorney’s fees.