If you’re trying to find out “how much does a mesothelioma lawyer cost,” you or a loved one may have been affected by this rare disease. A diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating, not only to the individual but to their whole family.
Close family members may find themselves going to doctor’s appointments, learning to manage the patient’s care, explaining the disease to others, and trying to navigate the financial burdens associated with the treatment and long-term care.
All of these stressors quickly take a toll on the patient and their caregivers, and you find yourself waiting for answers. On top of the medical bills flowing in, caregivers may find themselves unable to work because of the needs of the person affected by mesothelioma. In a time like this, of course, you’re worried about the additional cost of hiring an attorney. But the good news is that you can hold asbestos companies responsible for damages associated with this illness.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor frequently caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. This kind of aggressive cancer occurs in the thin layer of tissues that covers the greater part of your internal organs. Physicians divide this form of cancer into different types based on where it forms, which is most often, the lungs. More rarely, tissue around the abdomen, heart, or testicles can be affected.
When mesothelioma develops in the lungs, the usual symptoms are:
- Chest pain
- Painful coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abnormal lumps of tissue under the skin of your chest
Mesothelioma in the tissues of your abdomen can cause:
- abdominal pain and swelling
- unexplainable weight loss
This form of cancer can take decades to develop after asbestos exposure. A person inhales or swallows the tiny airborne fibers, and the fibers lodge in the heart, lungs, or abdomen. The embedded fibers start to cause damage to the mesothelial cells, and over the course of time, tumors form, resulting in the disease known as mesothelioma.
What is the leading cause of mesothelioma?
Researchers have found some risk factors that are related to developing mesothelioma, the main one being exposure to asbestos which typically occurs in the workplace. Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that forms as bundles of tiny fibers. Asbestos can be found in soil and rocks around the world, and you can be exposed to low levels in outdoor air. In some areas of the world, it can even be found in the water.
In past years, asbestos was incorporated into many products because it has a quality of being heat and fire-resistant. Now, we know there is a strong link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, and for the most part, it’s no longer used. However, it can still be found in some products.
Since the use of asbestos products was abandoned just a few decades ago, millions of Americans may still have been exposed to high levels in the workplace. Some miners, factory workers, insulation manufacturers and installers, railroad and automotive workers, shipbuilders, gas mask manufacturers, plumbers, and construction workers would have been exposed to asbestos as it was commonly used.
Tragically, workers could easily take it home to their families as the fibers lodge in clothing as well. Over the course of time, family members could conceivably be exposed to high levels too.
Asbestos was also used as insulation in many older homes and commercial and public buildings, including schools. However, the levels of air exposure to asbestos would likely be low since the material was incorporated into the building material. That is unless the building wore down or was demolished or remodeled. Then, it would be likely asbestos would be released into the air.
The risk factor of developing mesothelioma is loosely linked to how much and how long a person was exposed to asbestos. For example, if a person started working in the mines at a young age and was exposed to a lot of asbestos, they are more likely to develop this cancer. Other factors can impact the likelihood of developing mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos, such as genes and if the person had a history of radiation treatments.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma and feel it was due to exposure at work or time spent in a building that used asbestos materials, you should talk to a mesothelioma lawyer.
What are the five most important questions to ask a mesothelioma lawyer?
- Will you handle my case or refer it to another law firm? You should realize that some firms don’t have the expertise to handle a mesothelioma case if it goes to trial. So it makes sense to hire a law firm like Morgan & Morgan because we have vast experience in bringing cases to trial with an amazing success rate.
- What is your experience with cases like mine? This is perhaps the most crucial question to ask a mesothelioma lawyer. You should learn how many cases like yours they’ve handled, the success rate, and the amount recovered for their clients.
- How much does a mesothelioma lawyer cost? Many mesothelioma cases are taken on a contingency basis meaning you won’t have to pay for anything unless your case is won. Morgan & Morgan law firm only charges a percentage of your recovered compensation.
- What does the process look like? Your lawyer and case staff will begin immediately to work on your case, gathering evidence and records like medical bills and anything relevant to your case. They will identify and contact the person or business responsible and let them know they are now representing you. They will negotiate on your behalf, and if necessary, take the case to trial.
- Can your firm handle an appeal? Sometimes an appeal is necessary in a case, so it’s wise to go with a law firm that will support you through this process.
How much is the average mesothelioma settlement?
Mesothelioma settlements typically range between $1 million to $1.5 million if settled out of court. A trial verdict can average between $5 million and $11.4 million. You may wonder why anyone would settle for an offer without going to trial, but that really is up to the victim and their family. Taking a settlement is often a quicker resolution and provides you and your family with much-needed funds to deal with medical and other expenses.
Another risk factor of trial verdicts is that they can be appealed and possibly overturned, leaving you with nothing. That is something you, your family, and your lawyer will have to discuss. When a settlement is reached, it is a legally binding agreement, and further legal action can be taken if you aren’t paid on time. All of this means a settlement is guaranteed compensation. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to provide counsel as to what is the best plan of action.
How long does a mesothelioma settlement take?
Typically, a settlement takes less than a year, while a jury trial could take years to conclude. There are different types of mesothelioma compensation. While a good portion of the companies that created products made with asbestos have since gone bankrupt from the number of mesothelioma lawsuits, that doesn’t mean they were absolved of liability.
When they declared bankruptcy, they were ordered to set up trust funds for future victims of asbestos exposure. These trust funds can contain millions or even billions of dollars. If you have developed mesothelioma from one of these now-bankrupt manufacturers, your claim can be handled through the trust fund instead of the courts. This process usually takes just a few months to receive compensation.
In a lawsuit, you can file a personal injury claim to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, or if the victim is deceased, the family can file a wrongful death claim. If the entity you are suing offers an unfair settlement, you can take the claim to trial, where a jury will either find them liable or not for your injuries. As there are no set guidelines for the amount of compensation you can get, a trial verdict may recover far more money. However, a jury will look at factors like medical bills, lost income, and other factors surrounding your illness.
What does a mesothelioma lawyer do?
An expert mesothelioma lawyer will have resources that can help your case dramatically. No one is expected to remember every aspect of their work history, especially since mesothelioma takes so long to develop. Your lawyer can help with product identification by reviewing books that picture asbestos-containing products and packaging to jog your memory. When an actual product is identified and linked to your workplace, this bolsters your case.
With your permission, your lawyer will access employment records through the federal government linking you to employment where the asbestos products were used. They will also try to find coworkers and friends from that time period who can corroborate your exposure to asbestos.
From previous experience, your lawyer will be able to evaluate how your case measures up to similar cases and execute strategies based upon this knowledge.
Who are the best mesothelioma attorneys?
At Morgan & Morgan, we have a strong reputation for winning big at trial, and we don’t hesitate to refuse weak settlement offers. If you’re still concerned about the question “how much does a mesothelioma lawyer cost,” we don’t charge a dime unless we recover money for your injuries.
In the last 30 years, our attorneys have recovered over $10 billion for our clients. In the tragic instance of mesothelioma, the companies that used asbestos knew for decades their products could be deadly and chose to conceal it to turn a profit rather than warn of the dangers.
Morgan & Morgan attorneys are some of the few in the country that have the expertise and resources to handle a mesothelioma case successfully. We’ve helped hundreds of victims of asbestos exposure recover millions so they can get the medical treatments they need and provide some financial stability for their families. To find out how we can help you, contact us for a free, no-risk case evaluation today.