Asbestos Lawsuit Settlements
Most lawsuits involving asbestos diseases are resolved through settlements. A settlement provides asbestos victims and their families with the compensation they need to pay for treatment and plan for the future.
Finalizing a certain case ends the dispute between victims and the party(s) responsible for their exposure to asbestos. In exchange for an agreed-upon amount of money, asbestos disease victims release the at-fault party(s) from future liability.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an asbestos disease, you should discuss your legal options with one of our knowledgeable asbestos attorneys today. Asbestos settlements can often be reached within 30 days.
Our Skilled Attorneys Negotiate Maximum Asbestos Settlement Payouts
Belluck & Fox is an award-winning law firm with more than 25 years of experience representing clients with life-altering asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Our experienced legal team has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for victims and their family members. We can help you.
Our mission is to hold asbestos companies accountable for the harm that they have caused to millions of Americans who are now living with asbestos diseases. It’s not your fault that you were exposed to asbestos — and you shouldn’t have to worry about how to make ends meet while fighting your disease.
Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation. You will hear from our law firm within 24 hours. Don’t worry about traveling to meet us. Our lawyers can come to you if you are too sick for an office visit.
Asbestos Settlements Can Be a Quick Solution
Time becomes a primary concern for patients suffering from asbestos diseases. Mesothelioma ― the most aggressive of all asbestos illnesses — has no cure. Most patients are not diagnosed until they are in the late stages of the disease and are given two years or less to live. Yet as the days go by, medical bills keep accumulating. Obtaining compensation becomes an urgent need to help keep patients and their families out of debt.
A lawsuit can help victims find relief from the financial burdens that accompany an asbestos disease diagnosis. Our experienced attorneys can help you file a legal claim for the full and fair amount of compensation that you deserve.
The courts acknowledge the urgency of asbestos disease claims due to the high frequency of terminal cases. It is possible to fast-track cases so that patients can obtain compensation that will help them in the present as well as the future. Our lawyers strive to expedite cases so that patients with asbestos diseases can obtain settlements as quickly as possible.
Some asbestos claims can be settled in a month. Others may take longer if asbestos companies refuse to make acceptable settlement offers. Our legal team does not allow companies to bully our clients into accepting lowball settlements. We come prepared with the evidence necessary to prove that your claim is valid.
If your case does not completely settle, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial.
Other Advantages of Asbestos Settlements
Around 90 to 95 percent of asbestos lawsuits result in settlements. It’s true that settlements are a speedier alternative to trial, but there are other benefits as well:
- Trials are risky. Asbestos companies don’t want to risk losing at trial. Victims often receive larger awards from a jury verdict than what they would have gotten from a settlement. But asbestos victims need to be cautious when it comes to trial, too. Losing the case means walking away with nothing.
- The trial process is long. Preparing a case for trial is a lengthy process that involves collecting evidence, reviewing documents from the opposing side, consulting with experts, filing motions and legal research, among other things. A prompt settlement provides guaranteed funds within a shorter timeframe.
- Your privacy is protected. Trial proceedings are public. That means that your health history, employment history and any other personal information is considered public information once it is shared in the courtroom. Victims may prefer a settlement to maintain their privacy. Companies also value privacy. Being found liable in court puts a stain on their image. A settlement does not require asbestos companies to admit that they were negligent when you were exposed to asbestos.
- Settlements are less stressful. Suffering from an asbestos illness is hard enough without dealing with a drawn-out trial. A settlement provides compensation quickly so that patients can receive quality medical care and focus on spending time with loved ones.
As our lawyers work to negotiate your settlement, we will let you know whether we think an offer is fair or if moving to trial is the better choice. Asbestos companies are known to wait until right before a verdict is read before making an acceptable settlement offer. Our legal team can help you weigh the risks and benefits of settling before you make a final decision.
The Asbestos Lawsuit Settlement Process
You may need to file a lawsuit in order to pressure asbestos companies into making a fair settlement offer. Deciding to file suit is a big decision that should only be made after consulting with an attorney with a background in asbestos and mesothelioma claims.
- Research: Crafting a strong case for compensation involves a thorough evaluation of your medical records, employment history, military record (if you are a veteran), bills, receipts and other documents. That information will be the foundation of your claim and help your attorney put a fair value on your case. Our legal team takes care of all of the information gathering for you. That way, you can focus on your health.
- Filing the lawsuit: Once the lawsuit is filed, the asbestos company(s) will review your claim and decide whether they think it has merit. Sometimes the process stops here and you will receive a fair settlement offer. But oftentimes, your claim will be rejected and the case will continue.
- Discovery: In this phase, attorneys from both sides begin gathering more evidence to build their cases. At this stage, everyone gets a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s case. Settlement negotiations usually begin during discovery.
- A settlement is reached. Settlement negotiations can go back and forth until both parties agree on a fair amount of compensation.
Our attorneys are seasoned negotiators who will be with you through every step of the settlement process. We will advise you to settle only when we believe that you are truly getting the settlement offer that you deserve. Ultimately, it will be your choice to settle or to press on to trial. But you’ll never be alone when making that decision.
Types of Compensation
The cost of treating asbestos diseases is enormous. Asbestos cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer often require a multi-modal treatment plan that includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy ― and many times, patients must be prepared to pay for multiple rounds of treatment.
Diagnostic costs also add up. Because mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose, patients often spend thousands of dollars for imaging tests, biopsies, bloodwork and cytologic testing before treatment even really begins.
Victims face more than just expensive medical bills. Some patients can no longer work or must work fewer hours as a result of their illness. Missed or reduced wages can put a significant dent in a family’s income, particularly if the victim is the main breadwinner.
A good settlement will include compensation for the broad range of losses that victims of asbestos diseases suffer as a result of their conditions. These losses include but are not limited to:
- Current, past and future medical expenses
- Travel costs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Lost employment opportunities
- Pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
Asbestos companies may also pay punitive damages to asbestos disease victims. Punitive damages are awarded to victims to punish liable parties for their actions and deter future bad conduct.
Our attorneys push for the maximum amount of compensation possible for every client during settlement talks. We understand how debilitating asbestos diseases can be. We make sure that you are repaid for your out-of-pocket costs, but also for the opportunities you have lost as a result of your illness.
Asbestos Settlement Compensation for Family Members
Family members and dependents of a person who passed away due an asbestos disease can file a wrongful death claim for compensation. Money in a wrongful death settlement can be recouped for:
- Loss of household income
- Funeral costs
- Burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
Our compassionate lawyers know that money is no replacement for a person, but we can help you obtain compensation to ease the financial hardships in the wake of your loss.
Factors Influencing Asbestos Settlement Amounts
A common question that all lawyers hear is “How much will my settlement be?” There is no uniform answer to that question. The amount of compensation that a victim is able to receive depends on the facts of each individual case.
However, there are some standard factors that impact how much an asbestos settlement will be, such as:
- Type of asbestos disease: Compensation is available for people with a variety of asbestos-related conditions. Mesothelioma settlements tend to have the largest payouts because patients have such short life expectancies.
- Cancerous or benign: Asbestos is linked to benign illnesses such as asbestosis, pleural effusion, pleural plaques, rounded atelectasis, pleuritis, pleural thickening and COPD. Benign asbestos conditions will settle for less than malignant ones.
- Patient age: Most patients with mesothelioma are diagnosed after retirement. But some people who are diagnosed with asbestos diseases are younger, and would have been able to work if not for their disease. Our top attorneys will fight to make sure that your lost wages are accounted for in your settlement.
- Exposure history: People with a history of prolonged exposure to asbestos will generally receive larger settlements.
- Number of defendants: Sometimes more than one asbestos manufacturer is liable for a victim’s asbestos exposure. In those cases, victims may be able to receive several settlements instead of just one.
- Company negligence: Some companies knowingly exposed people to asbestos and even took steps to conceal the health hazards from consumers. Our lawyers don’t let corporations get away with that kind of negligence, and your settlement will reflect that.
- State where exposure occurred: States have different requirements for evidence needed to prove an asbestos case. The statute of limitations — or deadline to file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits ― also differs by state. Our legal team is detail-oriented and timely to ensure that your claim proceeds smoothly to a settlement.
Additional Sources of Compensation
A settlement is just one source of compensation for victims with asbestos diseases. However, it is not the only option. Compensation could also come from:
Asbestos trust funds
Some asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy as victims came forward with lawsuits against them. Bankruptcy law requires companies to set aside funds to pay current and future victims of asbestos diseases.
Anyone who is diagnosed with an asbestos disease and was exposed to a bankrupt company’s products can file a trust fund claim. Your claim will be carefully evaluated to see if it meets the requirements for compensation. If it does, you will receive a payout based on the severity of your illness.
There is currently $30 billion in reserve in asbestos trust funds. However, trustees do not anticipate that there will be enough money to pay all future asbestos victims. For that reason, your payout may be reduced by a set percentage so that the fund can support victims for as long as possible.
An attorney is not required to make an asbestos trust fund claim, but having a lawyer will likely result in more compensation. In addition, our lawyers can help you identify which trust funds you may be eligible to receive compensation from. We can also help you prepare your claim for the review process and assist in negotiating a settlement amount.
VA disability benefits
Veterans are at an especially high risk of developing asbestos diseases. Those who do may be able to receive monthly disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Our attorneys will help veterans apply for benefits free of charge.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The Social Security Administration may provide payments to people with certain asbestos diseases. Victims must have a qualifying medical condition and also have earned enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI.
Both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma qualify victims for the Social Security Administration’s compassionate allowance program, which speeds up claims processing for people with life-ending medical conditions.
People who are diagnosed with an asbestos disease may be able to recover compensation through their employer’s workers’ compensation program. Our lawyers can help determine if you are entitled to workers’ comp for your asbestos disease.
Contact the Compassionate and Dedicated Attorneys at Belluck & Fox Today
At Belluck & Fox, our lawyers are committed to helping victims of asbestos diseases get the compensation they need ― and deserve — so that they can focus on their health and wellbeing.