A mesothelioma settlement can offer relief from the significant financial burdens that a positive diagnosis can quickly inflict on asbestos injury victims and their families. To receive a settlement, you’ll first have to hire a highly competent mesothelioma lawyer, who has experience in successfully negotiating substantial settlement amounts for past clients. Your lawyer will file a claim on your behalf, naming one or more liable parties that have been determined to have negligently caused your exposure to asbestos (the primary and predominant cause of mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer).
We will now address four of the most common questions that potential litigants have about mesothelioma settlement amounts:
Question #1: How much can I reasonably expect from a settlement?
It is difficult to predict the exact settlement amount of a pending lawsuit because amounts have varied greatly from one case to the next. The average settlement is between 1 and 1.5 million dollars, but there are obviously significant variations on either end of the midrange settlement. For instance, one of the larger settlement amounts awarded to a single claimant on record was $10 million. But this award, which was approved by a Missouri circuit court judge in 2011, is not the typical result of settlement negotiations in most cases.
Question #2: Will my attorney fees be included in this amount?
Sort of—attorney’s fees are not considered as part of compensatory damages necessarily, per se, but they are taken out of the final settlement amount (or judgment award, as it may be, in cases that go to trial). Asbestos injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that they do not bill clients during the course of litigation, but if successful in securing damages in the case receive payment of all accumulated legal fees all at once from the awarded amount. Contingency fee rates vary and can sometimes be negotiable upon entry into the initial attorney-client contract for representation—but they are typically upwards of 35-40 percent of the total award.
Question #3: What factors account for the variation in mesothelioma settlement amounts?
Several factors can determine how much a defendant is willing to settle for. The most important include the number of defendants named in the asbestos lawsuit, the severity or stage of the claimant’s illness and amount of associated medical costs incurred, as well as the degree of liability that can be against the defendant(s). Mental and emotional (as well as, physical) distress suffered by the claimant may also be taken into consideration.
Question #4: Which are usually larger—mesothelioma settlement amounts or awards made by the presiding court at trial?
It’s important to note that most mesothelioma cases settle out of court. This is to save both parties the expense and stress of a trial, as well to expedite the award funds being remitted to the claimant.
That being said, it is true that mesothelioma settlement amounts resulting from out-of-court negotiations are typically about a million dollars less than the average trial award.