What to Expect in an Asbestos/Mesothelioma Lawsuit

At NYC personal injury law firm Law Offices of William J. Maniatis, we have helped many of our clients recover compensatory damages through lawsuits. Mesothelioma cases raise very specific issues and questions, so today’s article is to discuss those issues and answer a few of those important questions.

Millions of people in the United States have been exposed to asbestos, mostly in the workplace. A small percentage of those exposures develop mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer developed almost exclusively from asbestos exposure. Even with exemplary treatment, mesothelioma is almost always fatal. As with all cancers, early detection is key. If you have been exposed to asbestos it is important to let your doctors know that. While there is no known cure for mesothelioma, there are treatments available that can extend a victims’ life. However, the treatments are extremely expensive and many families use their savings and take on more debt in order to pay for medical expenses.

A cancer diagnosis is devastating news. Families need compassionate support and assistance from everyone, including their lawyers. On a personal note, our lawyers are familiar with the family fight against cancer. They have been through the news of diagnosis, the months of treatment and the grief of loss. Those things are never forgotten when they meet clients. The trial lawyers at Law Offices of William J. Maniatis treat their clients with dignity, respect and compassion when they need it most.

When a loved one becomes ill with cancer, very often the last thing they think of is legal representation. However, nowhere is quick representation more important than in a mesothelioma case. Very often the best person to give information regarding the exposure is the victim. This testimony needs to be secured while the victim is strong enough to give the facts.

“Can I expect significant money damages if I file a lawsuit?”

Generally, yes. People suffering from mesothelioma or surviving family members of mesothelioma victims, have an excellent chance of recovering significant money damages for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of consortium and lost income. Damages are paid by the company that installed or manufactured the asbestos, their insurance company, or an asbestos victims’ trust fund that has assumed liability for the company—even if the company has long since sold out, closed down, or even gone bankrupt.

“How long do I have to file a lawsuit?”

Mesothelioma usually develops 10 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos. State laws place time limits on how quickly after exposure a suit must be filed or the claim will be barred forever, so quick action after diagnosis is crucial. Many states are guided by so-called “discovery rules” meaning the time within which to file a lawsuit beings to run when the victim knows or “should have known” of the diagnosis or discovery of mesothelioma. Some states have limits of as little as one year from discovery so contacting a mesothelioma lawyer quickly is critical before the claim is barred for simply taking too long to file.

“How long does a mesothelioma case take?”

Mesothelioma claims are generally given high priority. This is particularly true if the claimant is alive. In some areas, the entire case can be resolved within a matter of months. In other areas, it can take longer. Even in cases where it takes longer, some settlements are reached early. Approximately 90 percent of mesothelioma cases are settled out of court.

“How much money can I recover?”

A dollar amount for any case is difficult to estimate, because each case is unique. So estimating one person’s medical costs due to the illness, lost wages, and pain and suffering can be much different than another victim’s.

Finally, when cases take a relatively long time to settle (in negotiations or court), the preparation and conducting costs are usually higher. This being said, many mesothelioma settlements range from $1 million to $10 million or more.

For more questions or concerns regarding asbestos and mesothelioma claims, click here or call Law Offices of William J. Maniatis today at (212) 248-5060 for a consultation with an experienced New York asbestos lawyer.