mesothelioma lawsuits 2023
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History of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Asbestos is a name used for six types of minerals made up of thin fibers. These minerals make lightweight and very good insulators and are extremely flame and chemical resistant. Asbestos was, therefore, widely used in building and construction as well as fireproofing. It was especially useful in situations where fire safety was essential and weight had to be carefully regulated in military ships, for example.
How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?
Asbestos was used throughout the 20th century, with asbestos mining peaking in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
However, a link between asbestos and certain types of cancers was known or suspected by the companies that manufactured and sold asbestos products as early as the 1920s. Lawsuits claiming a connection between asbestos exposure and cancer have been filed since the 20s.
Evidence of the correlation between lung and other cancers and asbestos exposure continued to accumulate through the 50s and 60s. The floodgates for asbestos litigation opened in the 70s. By the early 80s, asbestos companies were declaring bankruptcy and the use of asbestos was dropping off significantly.
By that time, it was known that asbestos exposure was the primary cause of mesothelioma and that it could be as much as 50 years between asbestos exposure and the first symptoms appearing. As a term of declaring bankruptcy, asbestos companies had to contribute to trust funds that would pay for damages unrealized at the time.
Since that time, asbestos has been more definitively linked to certain cancers and litigation has continued. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds.
Current State of Asbestos Litigation
Since many of the companies that were responsible for asbestos products have been bankrupt or otherwise gone out of business since the 90s, you might expect that there aren t that many mesothelioma lawsuits. Two facts contribute to ongoing mesothelioma litigation, however:
Should I join a class action lawsuit over mesothelioma?
Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma
Mesothelioma has a latency period of up to 50 years before symptoms first appear
This means that whenever anyone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it suggests the potential for a lawsuit. Until there is evidence of another cause of the disease, a mesothelioma diagnosis means the patient was exposed to asbestos. Someone other than the patient is responsible for that exposure, so its just a matter of investigating and finding the party responsible.
Asbestos Product Liability
Product liability suits argue that someone was using a product as instructed or intended and they were injured anyway. The injury occurred because the product was poorly designed, poorly made, or there was an inherent danger about the product that the manufacturer had a duty to warn the public about.
Asbestos products are inherently dangerous. Exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma; lung, throat and stomach cancer; asbestosis and scarring of the lungs and throat.
Can You File or Join a Class Action Lawsuit for Mesothelioma?
The companies that made and sold products containing asbestos knew or should have known that their product was dangerous had a duty to warn users and did not. Therefore, these companies (and the trust funds) have to pay for the harm that everyone suffered due to asbestos exposure. That’s essentially the argument of every mesothelioma case since the 1930s until now.
Mesothelioma Personal Injury Lawsuits
Most asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits are framed as personal injury suits. While you may have heard of class action lawsuits involving asbestos, those were almost always individual cases handled at once in what’s called a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
An MDL combines several cases that are against the same defendant in the name of efficiency, but each claim is still handled individually.
Recently, however, most mesothelioma cases have been handled through settlements with asbestos trust funds. Many can be settled in just a few weeks or months the mesothelioma law firms have been specializing for decades now, and there s virtually no defense that can be raised when someone has been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Who is eligible for mesothelioma compensation?
Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Another fact about mesothelioma aside from it being caused by asbestos is that there is no known cure. While it can take decades for symptoms to arise, the disease can sometimes prove fatal in mere months.
Just because someone has died from mesothelioma doesn’t mean that their right to compensation from those exposed has disappeared, though. The family or estate can file a wrongful death claim and try to recover something for the loss of their loved one.
Steps in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
A mesothelioma lawsuit follows the same steps as every other lawsuit. The basic steps of a lawsuit are:
Preparing and gathering information
Filing the claim
Pretrial and discovery
Verdict or settlement
Once a mesothelioma firm takes on a case, its team will dig into databases and other resources to figure out when and how the client was exposed to asbestos. This knowledge will inform where to file and which company or, more likely, trust fund to file against.
The vast majority of mesothelioma cases next move into a negotiation between the trust fund and legal team to reach a settlement.
Settlement or Verdict
The average mesothelioma settlement is more than $1 million. Verdicts are much less common, but also tend to be higher. The average verdict amount is more than $5 million.