Page Updated on January 23, 2022
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Mesothelioma lawsuits include personal injury and wrongful death claims. A mesothelioma lawsuit helps victims of asbestos exposure and their families seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses.
Over $30 billion currently sits in trust funds, available for victims of asbestos-related diseases.We invite you to fill out our form today for a freeFinancial Compensation Packet, filled with information aboutexperienced mesothelioma lawyersin your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file an asbestos trust fund claim, and much more.
Free Financial Compensation Packet
- Info on law firms that will recover your highest compensation
- Learn how to get paid in 90 days
- File for your share of $30 billion in trust funds
Send My Free Packet >
Jump To a Topic
- What is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
- Why Should I Consider Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
- Who Can File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
- Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
- How Do I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
- Are There Alternatives to Filing a Lawsuit?
- Landmarks in Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
- What’s the Latest in Mesothelioma Litigation?
- Mesothelioma Lawsuit FAQs
- Where Can I Get Legal Assistance with My Lawsuit?
What is a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
A mesothelioma lawsuit is a legal action taken by victims of asbestos exposure against the companies responsible for exposing them. Most end in negotiated settlements, never making it to trial.
Why Should I Consider Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Asbestos illnesses like mesothelioma are expensive. You face steep medical bills and also lost wages if the illness prevents you from working. Most people choose to file a mesothelioma or asbestos lawsuit for compensation.
There are several reasons to consider filing a lawsuit over your asbestos exposure:
- Companies responsible for your exposure to asbestos and resulting illness should be held accountable.
- Holding these companies responsible deters others from exposing workers in the future.
- A lawsuit provides compensation for you, the victim.
- A lawsuit can also provide financial security for your family.
A lawsuit is just one option you have for legal recourse, but it is important to seek justice and recover damages.
Who Can File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Anyone exposed to asbestos with resulting symptoms or illness is eligible to file a lawsuit. Any company that exposed workers or others to asbestos can be held liable for resulting expenses.
If you lost a family member to mesothelioma, you might also be eligible to sue the responsible companies. You can also sue on behalf of the estate of your loved one.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are two main types of lawsuits filed by victims or their families.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are the victim of asbestos exposure, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the companies that provided asbestos materials.
- Your suit will be filed against the company or companies negligent in your resulting illness.
- You may recover damages for medical bills and other illness-associated expenses.
- A personal injury lawsuit also includes future expected expenses and lost wages.
- Depending on state laws, you can also seek non-economic damages for pain, suffering, and other intangible costs of being sick.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you have lost a loved one to an asbestos illness, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible.
- You can claim compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost wages that would have supported dependents.
- You can also seek non-economic damages such as loss of companionship.
Review of Our Services
“I was truly lost and did not know which way to go when I was diagnosed. Thankfully, Mesothelioma Lawyer Center came to my rescue. Your website and other resources have helped me and my family understand this terrible cancer.”
How Do I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
The first step in filing a lawsuit is to find the right lawyer. Hire a law firm with proven experience helping other victims of asbestos exposure.
A qualified law firm will have the most knowledge and experience and will be able to give you the best guidance. Your lawyer will take you through several steps in the lawsuit process:
1. Gathering Information
Your legal team will begin by investigating and gathering information to make your case. Be prepared to provide your:
- Employment history
- Medical history and records
- Medical expensesrelated to your illness
- Costs related to being ill, such as travel expenses for treatment
- Documentation of asbestos in the workplace, if possible
- Documentation of physical disabilities and activities you can no longer do
2. Pre-Litigation Phase and Filing
Your lawyer will file the complaint or lawsuit with all the necessary information to build a strong case.
The complaint goes to the defendants, who then have a period,usually 30 days, to file an official response.Failure to respond can result in a judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
3. The Discovery Phase
In most cases, the defendants will respond and deny any negligence. Attorneys on both sides then continue investigating and building a case.
Each side can access information from the other. They may hold interviews, talk to experts, conduct depositions, and investigate medical records. This can take several months.
Many defendants will settle at this point. Settling helps defendants avoid the potentially higher costs of a lawsuit.
Juries are often sympathetic to the victim and award higher amounts than those negotiated in settlements. Compensation amounts vary by individual, but they take into account several factors:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- The length of the illness
- The severity of the illness
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Physical discomfort
- Case costs, including filing fees
Between 80% and 90% of personal injury cases end in settlements. You can expect to receive monthly payments rather than a lump sum with a settlement.
5. Going to Trial
If both sides disagree on a settlement, your case will go to trial. Each side presents evidence and examines witnesses in front of the jury.
How long the trial takes depends on several factors like witnesses, medical documents, and the case’s complexity.
Are There Alternatives to Filing a Lawsuit?
If you don’t feel comfortable filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, talk to your lawyer about other ways to get compensation. You might qualify to claim with an asbestos trust.
If you served in the military, your lawyer can help you get veteran benefits. They can also help you with Social Security Disability and other types of benefits.
Landmarks in Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawsuits
Mesothelioma is a rare disease, yet thousands of people have filed lawsuits over it. Clarence Borel, an industrial worker, filed the first asbestos case in 1969.
It was the legalturning point for victims of asbestos-related disease by providing a way for victims to get compensation. Borel won his case against theFibreboard Paper Products Corporation.
- 1963-1965 Risks of Asbestos Exposure Discovered
In the 1960s, Dr. Selikoff, a physician in Paterson, New Jersey, treated members of the Asbestos Workers Union. He soon noticed that an unusual number of workers suffered from mesothelioma, a rare disease. Dr. Selikoff connected mesothelioma to asbestos exposure.
In 1963, Dr. Selikoff published his findings. His research and other studies finally pushed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce workplace safety regulations regarding asbestos.
- 1965 Tort Laws
The American Law Institute of The Restatement of the Law of Torts publishedsection 402A:
“[Any party]who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is liable for the harm caused by that product to the consumer or end user.”
This allowed victims of asbestos products and materials to sue the manufacturers for damages.
- 1969 to Present: Lawsuits Triple
The amount of mesothelioma cases has more than tripled to over 700,000 after the success of the first asbestos lawsuit and proof that asbestos contributes to life-threatening illnesses.
More than 10,000 companies have been named in asbestos lawsuits.
What’s the Latest in Mesothelioma Litigation?
Mesothelioma Diagnoses and Deaths
- Over 30,000 people across the world received a mesothelioma diagnosis in 2020, according to theGlobal cancer statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN estimates of incidence and mortality worldwide for 36 cancers in 185 countries.
- New cases of cancer are on the rise. Approximately 19.3 million new cases of cancer and around 10 million cancer deaths are expected to be reported by the end of 2020.
- Worldwide mesothelioma cases totaled30,870, with 26,278 deaths.
Johnson & Johnson Knew About Asbestos
- Reuters reports that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its baby powder was contaminated with asbestos. Victims’ lawyers discovered that the company actively hid this information.
- The investigative report comes on the heels of a successful lawsuit filed against J&J. Numerous plaintiffs diagnosed with asbestos illnesses successfully proved their cases and won compensation.
- In October 2019, despite their protests that their products contained no asbestos, Johnson & Johnson pulled 33,000 baby powder bottles from store shelves, according to a report by The New York Times. The recall happened after the Food and Drug Administration announced it discovered asbestos in one of the bottles.
- In October 2020, the company agreed to pay over $100 million to help resolve more than 1,000 lawsuits over asbestos in baby powder.
- In November 2020, Johnson & Johnson lost its appeal to overturn a $2.12 billion verdict awarded to women in Missouri diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Asbestos-Related Litigation on the Rise
- Rates of mesothelioma have been declining, but lawsuits filed over asbestos exposure and cancer continue to rise. The number of asbestos cancer cases filed by victims increased nearly 66% between 2007 and 2017.
- In 2017, there were 2,124 mesothelioma filings, an all time high.
- Women are filing more asbestos cases than ever, with greater increases in lawsuits than for men.
- Much of the increase can be attributed to the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder cases. The number of lawsuits filed over talc products and asbestos increased 11% in 2019.
International Asbestos Facts
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 125 million people around the world experience asbestos exposure on the job.
- Preventing lung diseases caused by exposure to asbestos is part of the WHO’sGlobal Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases through 2020.
- Deaths in the United Kingdom related to asbestos exposure have reached a crisis level at more than 2,500 deaths per year from mesothelioma. This is expected to be the peak of asbestos diseases in the country.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit FAQs
Before proceeding with a lawsuit, get all your questions answered. This is a great place to start, but you should also contact an experienced asbestos attorney.
What if I Don’t Know Which Companies to Sue?
If you received a mesothelioma diagnosis, asbestos is the most likely cause. You probably encountered it at work or in the military. An asbestos law firm has the resources to investigate your past exposure and pin down the companies responsible and liable for damages.
What if the Responsible Company No Longer Exists?
Most bankrupt asbestos companies set up asbestos trust funds to compensate victims. They funded the trusts with enough money to provide for claimants well into the future. Your lawyer can find the appropriate trusts for you to make claims.
How Long Does a Mesothelioma Lawsuit Take?
A lawsuit can potentially take years to resolve. However, most mesothelioma lawsuits end in settlements. Many victims get payments within a few months. Courts understand that mesothelioma patients have limited time and try to expedite cases as much as possible.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
Because most of these cases don’t go to trial, you probably won’t have to go to court. If your case does go to trial and you are too sick to attend, your lawyer can make accommodations.
What Happens if the Patient Dies During a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
When a patient dies before a case resolves, either a family member or their estate may continue the lawsuit. Loved ones can also decide to start a wrongful death lawsuit.
What if I Can’t Afford to File a Lawsuit?
Asbestos lawyers do not charge their clients fees until they win the case. You won’t have to pay anything unless and until you get a settlement or verdict in your favor.
Should I Join a Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuit?
Class-action or group lawsuits are rare in mesothelioma cases. You generally have a better chance of recovering damages if you file individually.
Another option is to join multidistrict litigation, or MDL. This is when the courts process several similar claims together, but each plaintiff remains part of an individual lawsuit.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
The average settlement in mesothelioma lawsuits ranges from $1 million to $1.4 million. Jury verdicts are usually larger, but by going to trial, you risk getting nothing. It also takes much longer to reach a verdict in most cases.
Is a Mesothelioma Settlement Taxable?
If or how your settlement will be taxed depends on individual factors and state laws. In general, you should not have to pay taxes on compensation for medical expenses. Lost wages are usually taxed.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Cases?
Yes, every state has a statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. They range from one to six years. Make sure you act quickly after receiving a diagnosis or losing a family member to avoid missing your opportunity to sue the responsible companies.
Where Can I Get LegalAssistance with My Lawsuit?
Fill out our form to get our freeFinancial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the experienced asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area.If you need additional assistance, feel free to contact us toll-free at800-793-4540.
Calculate Your Case Value >
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney Paul Danziger
Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.
Full bio and contact info
View All References
Mesothelioma compensation is a financial award paid to patients and family members affected by mesothelioma cancer. The average settlement is $1 million to $1.4 million.
Family members of people who died from mesothelioma within three years of being diagnosed may still be able to make a claim. The 3-year period to make the claim begins from the date of death. Sometimes this time limit can be extended.
Level 4 – for Severe Asbestosis - $42,000. Level 3 – for Asbestosis/Pleural Disease with significantly restricted function - $19,000. Level 2 – for Asbestosis/Pleural Disease without significantly restricted function - $8,000.
Mesothelioma lawsuit settlements average $1 million to $1.4 million. Mesothelioma verdicts average $2.4 million. Actual compensation amounts vary from case to case. At trial, judges and juries consider several factors to determine the awarded amount.
Most lawsuits are resolved with a mesothelioma settlement since they are less time-consuming and risky than a trial. If the court finds the defendant not guilty, you will not win any compensation at all. Your asbestos attorney will try to negotiate settlements with each manufacturer named in the lawsuit.
Mesothelioma Survival Rate – The mesothelioma survival rates is typically 4–18 months after diagnosis, but there have been patients diagnosed with mesothelioma who have lived longer than 10 years. The current five-year survival rate for the disease is just 10 percent.
Mesothelioma settlements occur when lawyers who represent asbestos companies agree to compensate a victim who was exposed to the company's asbestos products. On average, mesothelioma settlements award between $1 million and $1.4 million. Our team can help you and your family access financial compensation.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may provide compensation benefits, such as monthly income, to eligible mesothelioma patients under age 65 who are unable to work because of their condition and have paid a sufficient amount of Social Security taxes, among other requirements.
Survival by location, stage and cell subtype of mesothelioma.
|1||21 to 51 months|
|2||19 to 26 months|
|3||15 to 16 months|
|4||8 to 12 months|
As with most personal injury claims, you have three years from the date you were diagnosed with an asbestos related condition to claim compensation. With asbestos diseases it can sometimes be quite difficult to assess when the time limit begins to run from.
Breathing in asbestos fibres over many years eventually causes scarring of the lungs. Symptoms include: shortness of breath. persistent cough.
To make a claim, an individual first needs to be diagnosed as suffering from an asbestos related illness such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. As illnesses like these can take decades to develop, it is not as easy to determine a responsible party as it would be say, for a recent road accident or an accident at work.
Stage 4 mesothelioma is a rare, malignant cancer in an advanced stage. Stage 4 cancer cells have metastasized, spreading to distant areas in the body. Stage 4 is the final stage of mesothelioma and considered terminal. The average life expectancy for stage 4 mesothelioma is less than 12 months.
Mesothelioma Pain and Symptoms
Often, they experience pain when coughing, and have an ache around their rib cage or lower back. Individuals may also have pain in other areas of the chest, since tumor growth may press against different organs. Some may have problems swallowing, or sound hoarse when talking.
Can Stage 3 Mesothelioma Be Cured? There is currently no cure for mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma patients diagnosed at stage 3 typically have a less favorable prognosis than those diagnosed at earlier stages. However, doctors are evaluating new and existing treatments to extend patient life expectancy.
Technically, the case against big tobacco was the biggest personal injury settlement in U.S. history although it wasn't a single person or family suing the companies. Forty-six states worked together to sue tobacco manufacturers, and they came away with a $246 billion settlement.
Are Mesothelioma Settlements Taxable? In general, compensation received through a mesothelioma settlement is not taxable. According to section 104 of the IRS tax code, compensation awarded in direct connection to personal injuries or sickness is not taxed.
Genetics. About 1% of people with mesothelioma have inherited mesothelioma, meaning the risk of developing the disease was passed from parent to child within a family. Usually, it is due to a mutation or change in a gene called BAP1.
In rare cases, mesothelioma cancer may metastasize (spread) to the patient's brain. Mesothelioma often begins in the lungs, abdomen or heart after exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a rare disease, accounting for only 0.19% of new cancer diagnoses from 2013 to 2017. Mesothelioma metastasis to the brain is unlikely.
You may find that your loved one is less alert, confused, or restless. They may pull at bed covers or have visions of people and places that are not present. As death nears they may be more withdrawn and want to spend time alone. Allow them to do so as they may be mentally preparing for the end of their life.
Experts do not currently recommend lung transplantation for mesothelioma patients. They reserve donor organs for benign conditions such as severe COPD, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, or interstitial lung disease.
Structured settlements are commonly used in personal injury lawsuits as a form of compensation. A structured settlement can be paid out as a single lump sum or through a series of payments. Structured settlement contracts specify start and end dates, payment frequency, distribution amounts and death benefits.
Pain may be a symptom of mesothelioma, but can also be a side effect of treatment. The pain caused by the mesothelioma itself is usually dull and generalised – it can be difficult to say exactly where it is coming from. If the cancer spreads and presses on bones or other organs, it may feel sharp and stabbing.
Can Mesothelioma Go Into Remission? Yes. Although it is rare, many malignant mesothelioma patients have achieved long-term remission despite being given a poor health outlook (prognosis) at first. Remission is a term doctors use to describe how much a patient's cancer symptoms have decreased or disappeared.
Some sufferers of mesothelioma report having impaired cognitive functioning, described as similar to “dementia.” This cognitive impairment manifests itself in symptoms like brain fog, short-term memory loss, sudden fatigue, an inability to concentrate, difficulty multitasking, and other, similar experiences.
Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor for mesothelioma. It accounts for up to 80 percent of all cases. Living with someone who works with asbestos may also increase an individual's risk for developing mesothelioma because asbestos particles can travel on skin and clothing.
Most patients die from mesothelioma in stage 4, when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and caused extensive damage. Late-stage cancer causes organs to fail, impairs the immune system, causes malnutrition and wasting, and can even result in a coma.
What is the longest someone has lived with mesothelioma? Diagnosed in 1997 at age 52, Paul Kraus is currently the longest-living mesothelioma survivor in the world. He believes he experienced asbestos exposure working in a factory as a student in Australia.
- Brigham and Women's Hospital. ...
- Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine. ...
- Washington Cancer Institute. ...
- The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. ...
- Mount Sinai Medical Center. ...
- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- Pain in the side of the chest or lower back.
- Shortness of breath.
- Trouble swallowing (feeling like food gets stuck)
- Swelling of the face and arms.
Generally, those who develop asbestos-related diseases show no signs of illness for a long time after exposure. It can take from 10 to 40 years or more for symptoms of an asbestos-related condition to appear (2).
What Is an Asbestos Claim After Death? An asbestos claim after the death of a person who dies of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease is known as a wrongful death claim. Usually, living patients file a personal injury claim or an asbestos trust fund claim on their own behalf.
In order to claim compensation, an individual needs to be able to say how they were exposed to asbestos. It is also possible for a family member to claim on behalf of a loved one if they have passed away from an asbestos-related disease, or they do not have the capacity to bring a claim forward themselves.
The possibility of other asbestos-induced health effects does exist. These include brain-related tumors, blood disorders due to the mutagenic and hemolytic properties of asbestos, and peritoneal fibrosis. It is clear from the literature that the adverse properties of asbestos are not confined to the pulmonary system.
The answer is yes and no. A new blood test has the potential to detect mesothelioma a decade before patients exhibit any symptoms. However, it cannot detect mere asbestos exposure. In fact, some individuals who have been exposed to asbestos never develop the malignant cancer, while others do.
How Is Asbestosis Diagnosed? Asbestosis is usually diagnosed by a careful medical history, exposure history and chest X-ray or CT scan that shows scarring of the lung tissues. This information, along with breathing tests, helps your doctor determine how severe your asbestosis is and how well your lung is functioning.
- stop work and speak to your employer, or the building owner if you are suspicious something may be asbestos or if you think the work might need to be carried out by a licensed contractor.
- follow the plan of work and the essentials guidance sheets; make sure you use the right sheet for the job.
Although pleural plaques indicate exposure to asbestos, there are no symptoms. Because of this, the courts do not recognise it as an injury or disability for which compensation is payable.
Mesothelioma may progress quickly once diagnosed, but symptoms can take years to develop. Mesothelioma has a long latency period. It may take 10 to 50 years before symptoms present. Many factors can impact the latency period, such as age at first exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma tends to spread (metastasize) fairly quickly. Because of this, many experts consider mesothelioma to be an aggressive form of cancer. Numerous factors can affect how quickly mesothelioma progresses and the areas of the body to which it spreads.
The mesothelioma life expectancy without treatment for a late-stage patient is approximately six to eight months. Patients diagnosed with early stage mesothelioma may live one to two years. Factors such as the cancer's stage, treatment, cell type and the patient's overall health impact mesothelioma life expectancy.
Three different blood tests for mesothelioma can detect biomarkers: MESOMARK assay, N-ERC/Mesothelin, and Fibulin-3. Each blood test for mesothelioma shows if the substances produced by cancer cells are present. Depending on the results, doctors may order additional tests before making a diagnosis.
 Most mesothelioma patients with a cough experience a dry, persistent cough that goes on most of the time for weeks or months. Additionally, patients may have a wet, productive cough that brings up phlegm. Coughing up blood is also possible, especially as lung cancer or mesothelioma progresses.
Mesothelioma is a fatal disease. Even if caught early, mesothelioma is currently not curable. In very rare cases, mesothelioma can go into remission partially, meaning the cancer is still present but not active. Treatment options are available to extend a patient's life and make side effects more manageable.
What Is the Average Mesothelioma Settlement Time Frame? Although each case is different, many mesothelioma lawsuits start to award compensation in 90 days or less. Further, the entire mesothelioma lawsuit timeline may take under a year in some cases.
There are three main types of mesothelioma cells: epithelial, sarcomatoid and biphasic.
As pleural mesothelioma spreads in the chest, it puts pressure on the structures in that area. This can cause complications, such as: Difficulty breathing. Chest pain.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, then you are considered disabled for at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis.
Mesothelioma mainly affects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), although it can also affect the lining of the tummy (peritoneal mesothelioma), heart or testicles.
Mesotheliomas are much more common in older people than younger people. The average age at the time of diagnosis for pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma in the chest) is 72.
In Stage 3, mesothelioma cancer has spread to nearby tissues, organs and/or lymph nodes. As a result, stage 3 symptoms are more prominent compared to symptoms in the earlier stages. Median survival ranges from 16 to 26 months for the most common forms of stage 3 mesothelioma.