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Mesothelioma Compensation

Mesothelioma compensation enables patients and their loved ones to receive funds to help cover expenses for treatment, travel, lost wages and more stemming from their diagnosis.

Key Points

  • 1

    Compensation may be granted through asbestos trusts, settlements or verdicts.

  • 2

    Veterans may be entitled to VA benefits for asbestos exposure during service.

  • 3

    Compensation amounts will vary, considering costs like treatment expenses.

  • 4

    Mesothelioma lawyers can aid claimants through the entire process.

Mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases come at a high cost to victims of asbestos exposure and their family members, both emotionally and financially. Mesothelioma victims and their loved ones can receive compensation from several different sources to help cover the costs of diagnostic testing and treatment, travel and lodging, lost wages and the pain and suffering that follows a diagnosis. Patients or their family members may be eligible for mesothelioma compensation through asbestos bankruptcy trust funds, a settlement or verdict, workers’ compensation or veterans’ benefits. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help explain all the types of compensation available and what would be best for an individual’s case.

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Types of Mesothelioma Compensation

There are multiple types of mesothelioma compensation for asbestos victims to consider, such as filing a mesothelioma lawsuit to seek a settlement or jury verdict. Meeting with a mesothelioma law firm can help patients or their loved ones decide which avenue is best for their particular case, and has the best chance of resulting in most financial compensation possible.

Asbestos Trust Funds

As part of bankruptcy procedures, many asbestos companies set up trust funds to pay out current and future asbestos victims. The compensation amounts vary by trust, and claimants are paid a set percentage of the total compensation awarded to them to protect the interests of future mesothelioma victims. Currently, there is more than $30 billion available in more than 60 asbestos trusts.

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Settlements & Verdicts

Mesothelioma victims may be eligible to file a lawsuit against asbestos companies that led to their exposure, resulting in compensation through settlements or verdict awards. A settlement is a private compensation agreement made prior to or during trial, while the verdict award is a monetary ruling made by a judge or jury if the case goes to trial. Settlement amounts may be less than an asbestos victim could win in a trial, but accepting a settlement offer guarantees victims compensation.

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Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation, a type of insurance employers are required to have by law, is one type of claim available to those exposed to asbestos at work. Each state has their own workers’ compensation laws, so claim requirements and compensation amounts will vary based on where the claim is filed. The federal workers’ compensation program works similarly to those at the state level.

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VA Benefits

Around 30% of all mesothelioma diagnoses occur among veterans. These individuals, as well as their loved ones, may be eligible for VA benefits if their asbestos exposure occurred while serving in the military. VA claims offer a variety of compensation options through the Department of Veterans Affairs as long as certain criteria are met. In addition to VA benefits, veterans may also be eligible to file lawsuits against asbestos product manufacturers and claims against trust funds.

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Who Is Eligible for Mesothelioma Compensation

Any mesothelioma patient, or their loved ones, may file a compensation claim for restitution and hold the parties responsible for the exposure accountable. However, eligibility criteria varies according to the type of compensation being sought.

Patients may be unsure if they’re eligible for a mesothelioma compensation claim resulting from their asbestos exposure if they’re unaware of when and where their exposure occurred. However, experienced mesothelioma attorneys are specially trained to assist patients in identifying what caused their asbestos-related disease and then filing against those responsible. These lawyers are knowledgeable about the history of asbestos use in companies, products and more within the United States, and are able to complete exhaustive research into a patient’s personal and work history to pinpoint exposure details.

Eligibility Requirements for Mesothelioma Compensation
Trust Funds
  • Proof asbestos exposure occurred at a particular jobsite or while using certain products
  • Documentation of diagnosis
Lawsuits
  • Proof defendant is at fault for the asbestos exposure
  • Records showing duration of asbestos exposure
  • Documentation of diagnosis
Workers' Compensation
  • When and where exposure occurred
  • Equipment used/precautions taken to prevent exposure
  • Documentation of diagnosis

Additionally, those exposed to asbestos fibers through military service may be eligible for VA benefits and compensation through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. To receive VA benefits, veterans must prove their asbestos exposure occurred while in the military and not have been given a dishonorable discharge from their service. To receive VA compensation, the patient needs to have three forms of documentation to confirm their military asbestos exposure led to their mesothelioma diagnosis.

Required documentation for VA claims includes:

  • Medical records confirming a mesothelioma diagnosis
  • Records showing the service that plainly states their role/job/specialty within the branch they served
  • A doctor’s note corroborating the connection between asbestos exposure in the service and their mesothelioma

While all branches of the armed forces used asbestos-containing products, certain servicemen and women are most at risk. Those who served in the Navy and aboard military ships are among those with the greatest risk of mesothelioma and related illnesses.

What Is the Average Mesothelioma Compensation Amount?

Compensation amounts vary greatly according to a patient’s specific asbestos exposure history and mesothelioma diagnosis. However, after gleaning the specifics of the case, the claimant’s mesothelioma attorney is often able to give them an estimate of what they may be entitled to through the various legal options for mesothelioma compensation. It’s important to note, however, that every case is different and average numerations may not apply to everyone.

In addition to the specifics of a patient’s mesothelioma case, the type of mesothelioma compensation sought by a claimant also greatly impacts the size of the award received. While settlements and trial verdict awards are decided on a case-by-case basis, asbestos trust fund payouts have a more regimented procedure. Claimants seeking compensation from an asbestos trust fund are paid out a percentage of the amount actually awarded to them. Percentages vary according to which trust a claimant is filing against. For example, the United States Gypsum Trust currently offers a percentage of 25% for approved claims.

Mesothelioma Settlement Amount Examples
  • $13.3 million awarded to a California plumber
  • $11.8 million awarded to a Nevada pipefitter
  • $9 million awarded to a Virginia naval seaman
  • $7.5 million awarded to a California carpenter
  • $6 million awarded to a New Jersey Navy worker and plumber
  • $4.4 million awarded to an Idaho electrician

For those who chose to pursue a mesothelioma lawsuit, reports have found varying compensation amounts. Research shows the average settlement amount paid to claimants is between $1 million and $1.4 million. Verdict awards tend to be larger, averaging around $2.4 million. However, claimants who choose to go to trial risk receiving no award if the defendant is found not guilty, and amounts can vary greatly depending on the individual case.

Claimants should discuss with their mesothelioma attorneys to better understand the compensation they may receive.

Factors That Determine the Size of Mesothelioma Compensation Awards

While there’s no clear cut way to predict the size of a mesothelioma claim award, there are factors that can influence the amount of compensation received.

Factors Impacting Compensation Amount
  • Age at diagnosis
  • Gender
  • Location of the mesothelioma claim
  • Loss of wages

Steps in the Mesothelioma Compensation Process

Filing an asbestos claim can be a lengthy process, but with the assistance of an accomplished mesothelioma attorney, the procedure is relatively easily on the claimant. While each type of claim has a unique process, they all begin with an introductory meeting for the claimant and the mesothelioma attorney. This meeting serves as a chance for the claimant to ask any questions of the legal team.

After this meeting, a patient’s legal counsel will begin investigating. This includes collecting all medical reports, work history, medical bills and identifying witnesses to use within the case. This investigation period typically lasts between one to two months. After the conclusion of the investigation, the process varies widely between the compensation avenues.

Steps in the Mesothelioma Compensation Process
  1. Attorney investigates the case
  2. Claims are submitted to asbestos trust funds, if applicable
  3. A complaint is filed against the asbestos companies
  4. The deciding body reviews the case and makes a compensation decision

Those seeking compensation may experience the following steps based on the type of litigation they’re pursuing.

Claimants pursuing a settlement or trial verdict:

  • A venue will be decided upon completion of the investigation.
  • The discovery phase or trying of the case typically lasts 3 – 4 months.
  • Most cases do not reach trial and will end with a settlement.

Claimants seeking a trust fund payout:

  • Present their case to the trust fund administrators.
  • There are three options for review of the claim.
  • Once a compensation amount is decided, a percentage of that will be paid.

Claimants filing for workers’ compensation:

  • Have their case reviewed by the governing board in the state in which they file.
  • The claimant may receive their award in one lump sum or monthly payments.

Veterans filing for VA benefits:

  • Need to file a disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • It averages 111 days for a decision to be made concerning a veterans claim.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Mesothelioma Compensation

The length of time between claimants filing a claim and receiving their compensation varies according to which mesothelioma compensation option is pursued. For instance, if a mesothelioma lawsuit goes to trial, claimants typically receive some funds within four months following a decision of their mesothelioma case. The remaining funds are often paid out between 9 – 16 months later.  Claimants who accept settlement offers typically receive funds faster than payouts from trial verdicts. Payments from asbestos bankruptcy trust funds are often the fastest form of mesothelioma compensation, as they require the least time spent on litigation.

Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma should discuss their legal and compensation options with experienced asbestos attorneys to decide what course of action is in their best interest.

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Written By

Tonya Nelson

Managing Editor

Tonya Nelson is an experienced writer and editor, who has published on a wide variety of topics, particularly in the health field.