Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer. It occurs due to ingestion or inhalation of asbestos fibers embedded into the lungs, heart, or abdomen lining. Although individual symptoms may vary, it is commonly characterized by shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing, and chest tightness.
Mesothelioma is often caused by long-term asbestos exposure. However, it doesn’t manifest itself until years after the initial exposure. By the time it is diagnosed, the disease has already progressed, leaving patients with a limited life expectancy.
Treatment options such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy are available, but they only improve prognoses, not cure cancer. In addition, these therapeutic options are often expensive, and patients cannot afford them.
People who have handled asbestos for a prolonged period or who have had occupational exposure to asbestos are most at risk of developing mesothelioma. Families and patients who have suffered from mesothelioma can seek financial compensation by filing lawsuits. A lawsuit allows them to pay medical bills, replace lost wages, and ease other financial hardships.
There are two ways in which patients can receive compensation: through a settlement or through a court verdict. Although both have their benefits, a settlement is more efficient and guarantees compensation.
Even though the value of each mesothelioma settlement case will vary, the following factors can have a significant impact on its value.
Corporations that regularly use asbestos in their processes are liable to pay a mesothelioma compensation to their affected workers. The raw material has been popular in manufacturing numerous industrial, commercial, and domestic products.
Direct exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing products is the biggest risk factor for developing mesothelioma. It is not only that people who are exposed directly to asbestos are at risk, but also their family members who experience secondary exposure at home.
Asbestos exposure may cause mesothelioma in anyone. But those who have been in contact with it for a prolonged time have greater chances of receiving more money in their settlements. Because working at one company and handling asbestos-contaminated products guarantees the site of exposure, the company is liable for the damages caused. Therefore, the location and timing of your asbestos exposure can affect the payout you receive.
The financial struggles of mesothelioma patients are in addition to the complications of dealing with cancer. Since cancer diagnosis can sometimes be tricky, it takes several high-priced tests to identify it. Consequently, tests, medications, surgeries, and hospital stays add up to a considerable amount of money. Without legal assistance, these medical expenses can drive a family into debt or even bankruptcy.
In a mesothelioma claim, your lawyer will calculate an estimate of your total medical expenses. When determining the total amount, after-care and future treatment costs are also taken into account. Each of these factors contributes an equal amount to your settlement.
Loss of Income
Mesothelioma treatment is not just expensive but also requires extended recuperation time. Patients have no choice but to quit their jobs in order to focus on getting better. In order to take care of a constant patient, a family member may reduce their work hours or even cease working altogether, resulting in lost earnings. With bills already piling up, the economic deficit comes as a huge blow, and finances go from bad to worse.
If family members or patients are unable to work, settlement offers will take it into consideration. A modified case value is then calculated by including groceries, car payments, mortgages, and other essential living expenses.
Some manufacturers knowingly allow asbestos use in their products. Although they are aware of its dangerous effects, business owners continue to employ labor. Many companies fail to warn employees and consumers about asbestos’ dangers, making it impossible for them to take necessary precautions. For a valid negligence claim, the plaintiff (injured party) must prove these aspects to show that the defendant (party allegedly at fault) acted negligently:
- Duty: Under the circumstances, the defendant owes a legal obligation to the plaintiff
- Breach: Either by action or inaction, the defendant breaches that legal obligation
- Causation: By acting or failing to act a certain way, the defendant causes the plaintiff’s injury
- Damages: The defendant’s actions resulted in an injury or harm to the plaintiff
Company negligence may result in tremendous financial liability for the defendant if it is proven.
Type of Diagnosis
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be either of these four types depending on tumor location:
1. Pleural Mesothelioma
It develops in the tissue that surrounds and protects the lungs and is the most common type of mesothelioma. Because of its significant prevalence, several clinical trials and studies are underway to understand this disease better. Most patients are eligible for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or other therapeutics in clinical trials. But since mesothelioma often gets diagnosed in later stages, treatment regimens can only add a few months or years to life expectancy.
2. Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Although a less common type than pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma has a better prognosis. This cancer originates in the tissue encasing the abdominal organs. Patients who qualify for heated chemotherapy or HIPEC can have a better outcome than their initial prognosis.
3. Pericardial Mesothelioma
As a rare form of mesothelioma, there is little clinical research on pericardial mesothelioma. This cancer develops in the pericardium, the protective casing of the heart, and has a poor prognosis. Surgical procedures may improve life expectancy, but there are no certainties because of low statistical evidence.
Since the type of mesothelioma diagnosis determines treatment strategy and overall life expectancy, factors like healthcare expenses are dependent on it. These contribute to the amount of settlement you can expect to receive for your claim.
Additional factors can also affect the value of your mesothelioma settlement. These include:
- Age of patient
- Number of companies in a lawsuit
- Potential funeral expenses
- State jurisdiction
- Emotional distress
- Number of dependents
- Compensatory damages
- Travel costs for treatment
- Type of asbestos fiber exposure
- Severity of diagnosis
Despite the lack of treatment for mesothelioma, settlements from mesothelioma claims can provide you or a family member with guaranteed compensation. These financial payouts are nontaxable and legally binding so that you can receive your payment on time.
Your settlement value can be influenced by a number of factors. Even though legal claims can get messy and complicated, with an expert’s help, you may be able to maximize your compensation.