Mesothelioma Information and Facts

Settlement Process

The settlement process doesn't start out as a settlement. It starts with a mesothelioma attorney preparing to present a case to a judge and jury.
"We're prepared to take every one of our cases to trial. A very small percentage, though, ever get to a verdict," said Dan Kraft, an attorney for Weitz & Luxenberg who won a $22 million asbestos-related verdict against Goodyear in 2011.
If the defendant has settled – or lost – cases in the past, it may want to settle the latest claim quickly without going through the case process again. However, settling early may not provide proper compensation for your expenses or for the damage asbestos exposure has done to your life.
A defendant usually first will offer an amount much lower than what it can, and will pay. You may benefit from holding out for another (better) offer. This is one example where an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you evaluate your options.
Even right before a mesothelioma trial starts, the defendant's lawyers may make another settlement offer. If no settlement is reached before trial, yet another settlement offer could come during the trial. What's more, if there is more than one defendant in the case - if you sue multiple companies, which is common - some companies may settle while others may choose to take their chances at trial.
"The great majority settle before (trial)," Kraft said. "The pressure of a trial allows us more negotiating power. As the trial gets closer, everyone is keenly aware of what might happen. The reason defendants settle is that they realize they made the asbestos product, and we've done everything possible to prove the liability, the case against them."
One of the reasons lawsuits are settled out of court is when a defendant fears it can't win the case.

Some of the reasons that can encourage a defendant to settle:

  • The discovery of information that would likely lead to a favorable verdict for the plaintiff
  • A compelling deposition that favors the plaintiff
  • Lack of time to complete necessary research before trial
  • Sudden unavailability of a key witness or expert needed to win the case
  • Mounting legal fees
The process of settling your case probably will include the defendant's insurance company. That should not concern you or impact you. This is another area your attorney will handle, but your attorney will get your approval before accepting or rejecting any offer.

If you do agree to settle your case with a defendant, you will have to drop your claims against that defendant. You may also have to agree to keep the settlement terms private. As part of the settlement, the defendant will not necessarily admit responsibility. These details are all part of the settlement process, things your attorney will negotiate on your behalf.

Here are 10 other publicized settlements in mesothelioma cases:

  1. A Pearl Harbor shipyard worker who developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure received a $9.8 million settlement.
  2. A construction worker who died in his 40's from asbestos exposure received a $9.1 million settlement.
  3. A Navy veteran who developed mesothelioma received a $5.8 million settlement.
  4. A 72-year-old Navy veteran received a $4 million settlement after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
  5. A retired New York boilermaker received a $3,797,083 settlement after forming lung cancer from asbestos exposure.
  6. A building maintenance worker received a $2 million settlement after developing mesothelioma.
  7. A Navy submarine worker who developed mesothelioma received a $1.7 million settlement.
  8. The widow of a Navy veteran who developed mesothelioma received a $1.3 million settlement.
  9. A New Jersey construction worker received a $2.1 million settlement after dying of mesothelioma.
  10. A Navy veteran received settlements totaling $461,000 after developing asbestos-related lung cancer.

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