Determining Case Value
For many patients diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, one of the most important questions that need answers to before pursuing legal action against the asbestos companies is, “How much is my case worth?” Determining the value of a mesothelioma or asbestos case is a complex calculation because it depends on so many variables. To help you understand how a mesothelioma attorney arrives at the value they estimate that your case is worth, here is an explanation of the different factors that need to be weighed.
Deciding to proceed with a mesothelioma lawsuit is a decision that we know you don’t take lightly. We want to make sure that you have all of the information that you need to help you arrive at the right choice for you, so we have prepared a free Financial Compensation Packet that explains the different types of compensation available, as well as how to choose a mesothelioma attorney. Contact us today for this free information, or to set up a convenient free consultation.
The Factors That Determine the Value of Your Mesothelioma and Asbestos Case
People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma are well aware of the fact that their condition was caused by exposure to asbestos, and that the asbestos companies that exposed them to this toxic substance can be held legally responsible for the damages that they have suffered. What they don’t know is what a big difference filing a lawsuit can make. The average mesothelioma lawsuit that goes to trial and is decided by a jury wins around $6 million for the mesothelioma victim, and those suits that are settled out of court generally end with the victim receiving between $1 million and $2 million. These sums are determined by the following factors:
- Cost of Medical Care and Treatment The medical costs that accompany a diagnosis as dire as mesothelioma, asbestosis or any other asbestos-related disease are extremely high. Though they can differ depending upon what kind of treatment you choose and what medical center provides your care, the average costs remain the same: roughly $30,000 in total for chemotherapy alone, and if you need lung surgery it is fair to expect that the total bill will exceed $40,000. The cost of medical care includes everything from doctors’ appointments and the cost of prescriptions to the money you spend out of pocket traveling to and from appointments. If you are a mesothelioma patient or are a family member helping them manage their care, be sure to keep receipts for every expense: a mesothelioma attorney would prefer to throw away receipts that are not applicable then to miss including an expense that can be compensated.
- Lost Wages Though most mesothelioma patients are older at the time of diagnosis, there are many who have not yet reached retirement age and who would be able to continue working if not for the ravages of the disease. Any income that is lost as a result of not being able to work, as well as earnings that could have reasonably been anticipated in the future, can be included in a mesothelioma claim. Similarly, if a loved one is forced to leave their work or lose wages in order to provide care or to take the mesothelioma patient to and from medical appointments, those economic losses should also be included in your claim.
- Severity of Illness Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases all have a tremendous toll on the quality of the patient’s life. They cause great suffering and pain. As a result, those lawsuits that are filed by victims who are in later stages of their disease are likely to be awarded larger damage amounts.
- Amount of Asbestos Exposure One of the most important questions that will be answered during the course of gathering documentation for your mesothelioma lawsuit is about the asbestos exposure that you experienced. Though it is generally accepted that any amount of asbestos can trigger mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, when there is evidence of large or extended asbestos exposure the victim’s case is likely to merit a higher value.
- Pain and Suffering Though it is difficult to quantify pain and suffering, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will be able to tell a compelling story of the impact that your illness has had on you and those in your immediate circle. The more clearly they are able to convey the strain of your illness, the higher your compensation is likely to be.
- Dependents If you have people in your family who rely upon you for economic or emotional support, the impact of your loss will be included in the consideration of your case’s value. Dependents can include a spouse, a child (adult or juvenile), or anybody else that lives with you or relies upon you for financial support.
- Other Factors An experienced mesothelioma attorney will take great care in putting together all of the pertinent elements of your personal story to ensure that you get the maximum compensation that you deserve. Other elements that may be weighed when establishing the value of your case can include your age, the degree of negligence or malice that was shown by the asbestos company, and the specific laws of the state where your case is filed.
How Accepting a Settlement Impacts Your Case Value
In most cases, when a person diagnosed with mesothelioma decides to pursue compensation from the asbestos companies, the case ends up being resolved in an out-of-court settlement rather than going to trial. There are advantages and disadvantages to both jury trials and settlements, and it is important that you understand the different likely outcomes of each. In both cases, your mesothelioma attorney will prepare all of the documentation necessary to prove your case and win you the maximum compensation for your case. The stronger your case is, the more likely it is that you will be offered a settlement, as the asbestos company attorneys will be interested in avoiding the expense and publicity of a trial. Though a settlement agreement provides you with a guaranteed outcome and a much shorter timeline for resolving your case, it generally does so at a reduced damages amount. The other disadvantage of opting for a settlement is that it precludes you from the satisfaction of being able to ‘have your day in court’ and speaking directly to those responsible about the way that they have harmed you.
You and your mesothelioma attorney can discuss the merits of opting for a lower amount of cash in hand quickly vs. pursuing the more time consuming and expensive court proceedings for an uncertain but potentially higher jury award.
Asbestos Trust Funds
Another option that is available to victims of asbestos exposure, that avoids the time and uncertainty of either a mesothelioma lawsuit or a settlement, is filing a claim with the asbestos trust funds. These are funds that have been set aside by the asbestos companies specifically for the benefit of those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Filing a claim with these trusts provides a predetermined compensation amount based upon the value of the fund itself and specifics of your case. For more information on how these trusts work, visit our page on Mesothelioma Trust Funds.
Need Help Determining Your Asbestos Case Value?
Calculating the approximate value of your asbestos case requires years of experience, and our mesothelioma lawyers are here to help. Call us at to set up a free consultation to discuss the compensation that may be available to you.