Most asbestos-related cases don't ever see the inside of a courtroom. Instead, settlements are the norm. If you're considering a lawsuit over an asbestos illness such as mesothelioma, it can be a scary time as you wade through the waters of the legal system. Having a qualified asbestos attorney at your side can certainly help in this endeavor.
Paying Your Lawyer
You may be unsure as to how much money you can get as part of a settlement and how much will go to your lawyer for legal fees. While many attorneys defer their fee until you win or settle, the need to pay your lawyer is always in the foreground. Contingency fees typically range from 25% to 40%. A reputable lawyer will take off costs such as compensation for witnesses or filing fees before dividing the money.
The amount of the total award varies widely from one case to the next. Factors include the severity and stage of the disease, loss of income, hospitalizations, and even death of a loved one. Costs must address any lost wages, pain and suffering, expenses for hospitals and funerals, and travel costs if you must go back and forth for cancer treatments. Health insurance and workers compensation can't possibly cover everything you've lost, especially if this has been an ongoing battle for many years.
The average payout in a mesothelioma case is approximately $2.4 million. The average settlement hovers around $1.4 million. Each case is different, resulting in very different amounts. The total award depends on how many people are involved in the case, because sometimes several workers team up against a former employee or product manufacturer. The amount you receive depends on the state where the case is filed, your unique case, and your overall hospital costs. Your attorney's skill level plays a big role as well. If he does his research and uncovers sufficient evidence, he will likely get you more compensation than, say, a lawyer who just puts forth a minimal effort.
Other factors include the judge on the case, the patient's health, cancer type, and the terminal nature of the patient. Statutes of limitation are often attached with asbestos lawsuits, so file your case as quickly as you can after diagnosis. It takes time to gather evidence and pinpoint liability. Since asbestos cases typically don't come out until years or decades after the offense, any old companies have since shut their doors and gone out of business. This adds more pressure to any attorney looking to nail down the offending party. As a result, settlements and awards can take a long time to process. There may be appeals after appeals, adding even more time onto the initial proceedings. To make the process as smooth as possible, be sure to choose a qualified attorney who can build the most thorough and detailed case possible.