A mesothelioma case process has several stages:
- Finalizing type of trial – bench trial or in front of judge and jury
- Taking up trial date
- Documentation and evidence collection
- Jury selection (in case of selection of jury trial)
- Trial proceedings
- Compensation payment (in case claimant wins)
But most mesothelioma cases never actually reach trial stage. They are settled even before the trial starts. But there are instances where either the defendants are confident of their case or the settlement offered is not sufficient, then the case goes for a trial.
Judge or a jury along with judge (based on trial chosen) hears the points made by attorneys of both sides and give a verdict. The verdict depends upon the finding if the defendant is indeed liable for the medical condition of the claimant.
Verdict also decides how much money would be paid by the defendants based on compensatory and punitive damages.
Types of damages paid
There are two types of damages paid as compensation in mesothelioma trial:
Compensatory damages : These are simply the economic harm, mesothelioma will cause of the defendant. These are also called actual damages. This may include economic harm due to loss of pay, medical expenses, etc.
Punitive damages : These damages are also called exemplarily damages and not awarded with the aim to compensate the claimant but to set an example for others to refrain from doing similar damage to people in future.
Punitive damages play an important part of mesothelioma compensation as compensatory damages are often capped in several US states. Also compensatory damages are small and may not act as deterrent for large firms with deep pockets. This is why there are several cases where the compensation awarded for mesothelioma cases reach millions of dollars. By awarded such high compensation courts point out the glaring incidences of negligence by firms even though they knew very well of the dangers associated.
Mesothelioma verdict : things to know
It is tough to judge when to settle and when to continue the trial and wait for a verdict. While punitive damages awarded by courts can be huge, but it should be remembered that there is no assurance of the verdict going claimant way. Further, even if the verdict goes in favour of the claimant, the defendants may also file case in higher court leading to delay. Thus, it is an important decision – weather to take the money given as compensation or wait for the trial to get over.
In such situations, claimant should seriously listen to the advice of their experienced mesothelioma lawyer. Based on their experience they can always guide on the right path based on the situation.
Mesothelioma compensation through verdicts : some examples
As already mentioned above, compensation granted through court trials in mesothelioma cases can run into millions of dollars. Here are some examples of the most highly awarded cases:
- Susan M. Buttitta of New Jersey was awarded compensation verdict of USD 30.3 mn against a supplier of asbestos.
- USD 10 Million is awarded to a US Air Force veteran, William Rhodes against defendant Universal Supply Group, Inc
- Bernard Mayer and Noah Pride were awarded USD 22 mn against defendant John Crane, Inc.
- USD 7.1 mn awarded to Joan Mahoney in 2008.
It should be remembered that not all mesothelioma trials end up with such huge compensation packages and thus decision between settling or pursuing the trial should be made carefully.