Understanding what to reasonably expect from mesothelioma compensation—including how to go about collecting it and just how much can be plausibly sought—is important for anyone considering filing an asbestos injury claim. The following Q & A is designed to answer some common and basic questions that many potential claimants have, even before making the decision to retain a mesothelioma lawyer.
1. How can I receive mesothelioma compensation through the U.S. legal system?
Compensatory damages may be awarded by a judge or jury after the conclusion of a trial that results in a judgment in your favor. Or the defendant in your case can choose to settle with you out of court, by negotiating a settlement amount that is acceptable to both sides. The latter occurs more often than not.
In order for either to occur, you must first file a personal injury claim with the jurisdictionally appropriate civil court.
2. How much is the average asbestos settlement?
There have been record settlements in the multi-millions, but the average settlement is somewhere around $1 to $2 million. Several details specific to your case—including the severity of your injury and resulting illness, as well as several possible mitigating factors related to the type and nature of your asbestos exposure—will all play a role in determining the final amount of your mesothelioma compensation.
3. Will I receive the total of that sum, or will there be deductions applied?
The primary deduction applied to your award or settlement is the payment of your attorney fees. Attorneys in mesothelioma cases agree to work on a contingency basis—meaning that they are paid at the conclusion of a successful claim via what is called a contingency fee. The exact rate of this fee varies by attorney and firm but is generally around 40 percent.
That means that 40 percent (or whatever percentage has been previously agreed to in your attorney-client contract) will be taken out of your compensatory funds before they are allocated to you or any designated beneficiaries.
4. Are the funds awarded to me for mesothelioma compensation taxable by the Internal Revenue Service?
No, compensatory awards for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are designated as tax-exempt by the IRS.
5. My doctor says my condition is terminal and that the prognosis is not promising. Can my dependents collect on a mesothelioma claim filed in my name, should I pass away before the case reaches completion?
Yes, family members or other designated dependents can collect a settlement or award of damages on behalf of a deceased claimant. If this is a significant possibility from the start of the case, the attorney representing you will take the necessary preliminary steps to ensure that this process is as smooth and streamlined as possible.