Mesothelioma is caused by a material called asbestos. In the past, it was used extensively in manufacturing and other industries. Many workers inhaled the hazardous material without being aware of it or being given any sort of warning as to the dangers of asbestos exposure. Due to this, many are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma as a direct result of their exposure. Patients are facing not only a tough diagnosis and daunting medical expenses for treatment, but also the choice as to whether or not to file a lawsuit against the employers who allowed them to be exposed without warning them. Asbestos lawsuit settlements are turning into large reparations for patients, victims and their families.
One of the questions many mesothelioma patients have is not only whether or not to file an asbestos lawsuit, but what amount of settlement, if anything, they can expect to get from doing so. With their medical expenses for treatment looming, patients want to know if filing a lawsuit can benefit them, as well as their families and loved ones.
Because of a slue of recent cases, there are now some examples available of settlements reached between mesothelioma patients and their former employers. A 70-year-old worker of a major steel company for example was awarded $250 million. A patient with pleural mesothelioma was awarded $34.1 million from an oil company. A wrongful death lawsuit ended in $33.7 million from an fabrication plant.
Other settlements have ranged from $2 million for a man diagnosed with asbestosis while working as a contractor to $6.3 million for a woman that was exposed to asbestos as a child via her parents’ clothing to $20 million for a woman exposed to asbestos-filled flooring. An auto mechanic was exposed to asbestos from clutch facings and received $1 million from the manufacturer of those products. In another case, seven foundry workers with asbestosis were awarded more than $17 million from their employer. Previously, eight of their coworkers were awarded $9 million.
These amounts are very high. The first every mesothelioma lawsuit took place in 1966 in the United States. The plaintiff in this original case lost, but a second lawsuit filed for the patient’s coworker resulted in an award of $80,000. Since then the number of cases has increased. The steepest rise has taken place in the past 30 or so years, likely because the disease is only now starting to manifest in many of those exposed years ago.
In any mesothelioma lawsuit, the amount of compensation will depend on the patient’s individual case. Factors like the patient’s individual medical expenses and the wages they have lost by not being able to work will be considered as part of the settlement. Individual laws for different countries can also factor into the settlement amount, as can the pain and suffering of the individual and the company or companies being held responsible.
Many times, a mesothelioma case will not need to go to court and can be settled outside it instead. This may happen in order to avoid an extremely high ruling. But it can also help the patient by allowing them to avoid the time and hassle of going through a full trial in court.