Mesothelioma is the most common non-malignant, non-infectious cancer in the world. It is caused by exposure to asbestos. There are many different types of mesothelioma, and each type is typically caused by a different form of asbestos exposure (such as chrysotile or tremolite).
Settlements for Mesothelioma
In 2011 there were 10,000 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States each year. This number has increased with time, and in 2013 there were 1,168 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States.
Most mesotheliomas are diagnosed as a result of asbestos exposure during childhood or adulthood. This means that most children and teenagers who contract mesothelioma will never meet their diagnosis.
The risk factors for developing mesothelioma include exposure to asbestos during childhood and adolescence; low socioeconomic status; history of smoking; working conditions (including long-term exposure to asbestos); family history; genetics; and other medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal cancer.2
Settlements for Mesothelioma
There are several approaches available for settling claims for people who have been exposed to asbestos through their work or in their homes. The most common way is a lump sum payment made directly from an insurance company as part of a lump-sum settlement agreement between the parties involved in the lawsuit.
Most states have laws requiring this type of settlement before any medical treatment can be used to treat someone with mesothelioma. In addition, some states require that people who have been exposed to asbestos through their work receive some kind of compensation before they can pursue any claims against an insurance company that settled on their behalf under a lump sum agreement.
These requirements vary from state to state but they all make it more difficult for people who want to pursue lawsuits on behalf of others who have been exposed to asbestos through their work because it would not be financially feasible for them to do so if they were trying first before pursuing any lawsuits on behalf of other persons who may have been harmed by the same exposure that they themselves had received in childhood or adulthood.
For example, under California law you cannot sue your employer at any time after your employer has settled on your behalf with an insurance company because you will not receive any money until you reach a certain amount which is set by statute and higher amounts will result in lower benefits (see California Wage
The mesothelioma settlement process can be a long and confusing one. Here’s our guide to the basics so you can get the process on track.
This post is not just for people who have been through the process before, but for those who are taking action for the first time. The basic steps of the process are:
1. View your settlement request
2. Send an email to your insurance company with a copy of your agreement
3. Wait for an answer from your insurance company
4. Write a letter to your doctor, explaining why you want to settle, and how you want to settle it in writing
5. Pay a final settlement check Direct Settlement: If you’re going to pay a final settlement check instead of filing your claim, this is called direct payment settlements and is what most people do when they file their claim with their insurance company (or if they already filed a claim, then this is what they did). Markets vary, but most companies will accept direct payment settlements or at least accept them as payment without further review (see below). Settlements by Phone: If you don’t have any health care coverage, and don’t have any money invested in making a claim, we strongly advise you not to call your insurance company until you’ve carefully read through these instructions.
Direct Payment Settlement 1: There are two types of settlements by phone that different insurers may accept when doing direct payments by phone. If you’re paying by phone instead of having an insurance agent do it for you, choose one of these two options. An insurer might offer either of these options depending on what’s best for your particular situation.
You can choose between direct payment settlements without having an agent review them or pay directly from day one. You’ll need to call 1-866-421-6675 and select “Direct Payments” from the menu on the left, tell the agent that there’s no agent yet, then tell him/her that after 3 days from now he/she should send you information about how much it will cost ($200-$500) and where it should come from ($$750-$1050) [Or call 1-866-416-1177 instead – this is exactly what happens if you pay directly]. Direct Payment Settlements 2: Another way insurers might offer these services is through third party agents who help negotiate with their carriers so they’ll agree to more favorable settlements
How Settlements Are Awarded
For mesothelioma settlements, the biggest question is: how are settlements awarded?
In the US, all settlements for mesothelioma are governed by the federal mesothelioma settlement program. This program provides direct payments to eligible victims of asbestos-related diseases. The program is administered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and its Rules of Practice and Procedure (PUCPR) govern all matters related to the program.
Under PUCPR, victims receive payments for eligible claims for their losses as a result of asbestos exposure. These payments are based on what medical experts determine was caused or contributed to their illness by exposure to asbestos products (known as ‘economic loss’). The amount of these payments is calculated using different factors depending on who they were made to and where they lived when they were exposed:
Victims may receive up to $250,000 if they lived in the Metropolitan Washington area when they were exposed; up to $300,000 if they lived in one of six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, or Michigan; up to $500,000 if they lived in three or more states: Alaska, Arizona, California or Nevada; and up to $750,000 if they lived outside those states. These payments are also based on a lump sum amount that has been established for each claim.
The Role of Attorneys in Mesothelioma Settlement Cases
Mesothelioma settlements are a really complicated issue. Each mesothelioma case is different, but the following points should be taken into account when you settle:
• What is the outcome of the mesothelioma case?
• How much will you pay for mesothelioma?
• Do you have to settle for a lump sum of money?
• Can you choose your own lawyer (or can you hire one)?
For every successful mesothelioma settlement, there are usually some factors that contribute to its success (e.g. a lawyer that knows what he/she is doing). However, successful settlements can also be a result of less than optimal circumstances, such as not having enough resources or not knowing how to do it right the first time (for example, in a complex claim such as this one, where many variables come into play). To make sure that your settlement is successful and all parties involved are happy with it, it is important to consult with an attorney who has experience in this area.
What to Do When There Is No Settlement
I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know if this is legal advice or not. This is just me thinking out loud since I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know if this advice applies to me.
In the most recent settlement for mesothelioma (which was announced on January 24th, 2013), United States District Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued an opinion that many people were waiting for:
In an opinion issued on September 30, 2012, Judge Garaufis entered a consent judgment in class-action status (the “Garaufis Consent Judgment”) in which the United States agreed to pay $181 million to certain asbestos claimants who claim they were diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos at various companies owned by the defendant and its predecessor-in-interest during its ‘70s and early ‘80s. The Garaufis Consent Judgment was reached after years of litigation through which several asbestos claimants, including myself — as well as my late husband — lost our lives.
The Court also found that the United States agreed to settle all asbestos claims by all claimants who had been diagnosed with mesothelioma prior to November 1, 1986, and for whom there was no credible evidence of causation prior to that date; or who had died prior to November 1, 1986, but whose case was likely still subject to discovery in the Garaufis Consent Judgment. As such, all claims associated with the classes certified under § 2255(a) of Title 28 U.S.C., are now closed, except for those claims that are currently litigated here in federal district court.
I would like to offer some guidance based on my own experience:
I am pleased that the United States will settle all mesothelioma claims against it that have been filed after November 1, 1986; and delighted that there is no longer any fear of unnecessary uncertainty about whether or not you have been exposed to asbestos and whether or not you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma…
We continue our examination of these cases before us; we will continue our pursuit of those cases where additional information may be needed before we agree to settle, and we will continue our efforts toward obtaining any additional information required by this Court’s precedent.