Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused due to exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was a darling material several decades ago and was used extensively for construction, industrial, heavy machinery and automobile industries, just to name a few. When the dangers of asbestos exposures came out in open, production and uses of asbestos was restricted but by then several thousand people have been exposed to asbestos above danger limits. As mesothelioma takes as much as 10-30 years to show symptoms, the people exposed to asbestos decades ago are diagnosed with mesothelioma today.
In most cases the exposure to mesothelioma is caused due to the negligence of the owners of the firms / mines / factories where there was high possibility of asbestos exposure. In such unfortunate cases, the patients should promptly file a lawsuit and demand compensation from the ones responsible.
Mesothelioma cases can take any of the two routes – 1) settlement 2) trial
In case of settlements, the defendants and claimants agree for a sum of money out of the court. In case the claimant is not happy with the offer made by the defendants, trial proceedings happen.
The outcome of most of the mesothelioma cases is through out of the court settlements. The reason for this being preferred choice are many:
It is a quicker way of settling a case which might otherwise take much of time and effort (and thus money) of their lawyers. It is important factor because while claimant lawyers work on success feel, the defendant's lawyers charge on time spent basis.
In several cases, the defendants might have fought and lost similar cases in past, thus would not like to spend any more money in doing the same. The defendants already know they made an asbestos product or caused harm, in most cases they already realize their mistake.
There are chances of settling the case with lower compensation as even the claimant would be pressed for time and agrees to a lower amount if paid quickly.
As the trial proceeds, discovery of new evidence against the defendants or a new witness can completely turn the case upside down and increase the compensation multi-fold.
In most cases mesothelioma patients and their family is in need of financial aid as mesothelioma treatment is expensive. Thus, rather than fighting a legal case which might even take several years, they go for a settlement through which they can afford better treatments.
Mesothelioma trials take long time for the results to come and no one can be sure what the result would be. Many mesothelioma patients go for a "certain" though smaller financial support as compared to large but "uncertain" one.
What is mesothelioma settlement process
As such there is no process for mesothelioma settlement. The settlement talks can start happening as soon as the claimant lawyers prepares the case to be presented before judge / jury. In fact most mesothelioma lawyers prepare the case for trials, settlement just happens in the process.
Settlement talks can start happening from very early stage even before the trial date. In most cases the initial settlement offers by the defendants are lower than what they may give out actually. This is just to start the process. An experienced mesothelioma attorney never falls in such traps.
It is usually observed that another settlement offer comes just before the trial starts, this one is higher than the previous and closer to expectations of the claimant. Several claimants settle for this offer if it is reasonably good. Just before trial offers are good as the defendants start feeling the pressure of the trial which can be expensive for them and generally would like not to go into the process. Good mesothelioma attorneys understand when to say no and when to negotiate more to get best deal for their client.
If the settlement is not reached even at this stage, it may take place while during the trial. This ends the trial process.
Details of settlement
Settlement clauses require the claimant to withdraw all changes against the claimant. The settlement terms have to be kept private too. While some terms and conditions of mesothelioma settlement are usual, there may be some tailor made for the case. In such cases an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can guide.
As the settlements details are kept private, there are no reliable details available on how much defendants actually settle for. It depends a lot on individual case.
The settlement money is given in several instalments. The exact details of the same are part of the settlement. Make sure you are happy and satisfied with it. This is important as a mesothelioma patient of his family member you will have your own cash requirements to be fulfilled. Those should be fully addressed by the time frame and payment frequency.