Value of a mesothelioma case in simple terms means the total compensation a claimant can expect either though settlement of through court verdict.
Mesothelioma has no cure and thus very unfortunate for both the patient and their family, emotionally and financially. Further, the medical expenses for mesothelioma can also be very high. In such situation, compensation can provide great support. While all mesothelioma patients want maximum / high compensations, but in reality the compensations vary a lot from case to case. Mesothelioma compensation vary based on several parameters and in most cases it is too complex to identify a number. In such situations an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help provide a range of expected compensation.
Irrespective of the compensation projected, a mesothelioma patient should always go for filing a case. This is because most mesothelioma lawyers work on success fee and thus, there is little downside financially for any claimant.
Factors determining mesothelioma case value
Some of the most important factors which determine the value of mesothelioma case are:
Patients medical condition : This is first important factor. This involves identifying the stage of mesothelioma and also what is patient's prognosis. As mentioned in other articles, a full record of medical expenses, tests, etc. should be kept. How the disease has affected the ability to work should also be properly documented.
Work history : Second important point is about clearly establishing relation between former employer / employers and asbestos exposure. Clearer the relation, stronger the case, higher the case value. If the patient has worked only in a single firm and the work clearly involved getting exposure to asbestos, the case becomes very strong and in such situations, a higher compensation can be demanded.
Blue collar workers such as plumbers, miners, shipyard workers, insulation workers, etc. are most affected by mesothelioma as their work typically involved dealing with asbestos day in and day out.
Details of exposure : In many cases, the work does not involve asbestos exposure but it takes place through products used. For example, Joan Mahoney was exposed to asbestos while she was helping part time in family business and was exposed to asbestos product. The product was made Georgia Pacific and it had knowledge of its dangers. This clear case helped the court in awarding USD 20 mn as compensation to Joan Mahoney.
But in most cases the details of exposure may not be as clear but this should not be considered a big issue as with evidence collection an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can trace back the origins of the exposure.
- Mesothelioma attorneys will analyse your past medical records to establish certain facts
- Patient's employment history can also be analysed
- Lawyers also use pictures or products which you might have worked on or were part of typical establishments and contained asbestos. For example, if you were using certain material for insulation – pictures might be shown and then asbestos content in them can be found out using info database.
Age: How old the patient is. This is important to establish the financial loss the family will have to bear because of mesothelioma
Exposure in the family : One rather dangerous thing regarding asbestos is that it can cling to clothes, boots, hair and come to one's house from work place. So a worker in asbestos mine will bring back asbestos to his house so will be a mechanic working on asbestos brakes / gaskets. Thus several members of the family may get affected due to secondary exposure of asbestos.
The above are some of the key points considered while calculating the case value.
Other methods : There are a few more methods an experience mesothelioma lawyer can use to establish case value:
- Identifying a similar case against the same defendants and for how much that was settled. If the case is closely related than it may give a fair estimation of value
- Past experience of mesothelioma lawyer of such law suits (may not be against the same defendants).
Compensation through Settlement or Trial?
Most defendants would like to settle the cases even before they go for trial and that does happen too. This is where having an approximate value of the compensation may help negotiate. There are other defendants who believe they can defend and go for trials. In such cases, the compensation can be very large because the court can award punitive damages too.