What Is the Average Settlement for Asbestos Claim?

What Is the Average Settlement for Asbestos Claim?

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What Is the Average Settlement for Asbestos Claim?

The average settlement for an asbestos claim is $1 million. However, many factors determine the final settlement you or your loved one may be entitled to. Read on to find out more about asbestos claims. 

Factors That Influence the Value of an Asbestos Claim

As mentioned earlier, the value of your claim will depend on various factors. They include: 

The Number of Claimants

When you file a claim for asbestos exposure and many other claimants also file similar claims, usually against one defendant, the settlement amount may drop significantly. This explains why it is always important to contact an experienced asbestos attorney to discuss your case when you discover or suspect that you or your loved one is a victim of asbestos exposure. 

Some claims may be settled through a class action lawsuit. Such a lawsuit involves a group of claimants seeking compensation for similar injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence. However, most people do not realize that even in a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs do not recover the same amount of compensation. This is because they are usually ranked based on their role in the case.

For example, if the case involves 100,000 plaintiffs against one defendant, it does not make sense for each claimant to attend a separate court session to prove their injuries. On the other hand, if the plaintiff in the case has suffered similar or almost similar injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence, a class action lawsuit might be the best way to approach such a case. But for a class action suit to work, there has to be a lead plaintiff. 

Who Is a Lead Plaintiff?

A lead plaintiff is usually the individual representing other plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit. So rather than have a court packed with 100,000 plaintiffs, which is not practical, the lead plaintiff represents all other plaintiffs named in the case. This individual is usually the first or among the first to bring the case against the defendant. For this reason, they tend to recover more compensation than other plaintiffs in the case.

So if you believe that you have been exposed to asbestos due to someone else’s negligence, the sooner you contact an asbestos exposure attorney, the higher your chances of being a lead plaintiff in the case. It is also important to note that there can be more than one lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit. So even if you do not make it to the first spot, you may still be able to recover significant compensation just by being among the first victims to bring such a claim against the negligent party.

The Statute of Limitations

Every state has its own statute of limitations regarding such cases. The statute of limitations is the time one party has to bring legal action against the other. It is more like the deadline for filing a lawsuit against the defendant. 

Most states have a three-year deadline for filing such claims. However, given that the symptoms of asbestos exposure may take years to show, states like Maryland have the ‘discovery rule.’ This rule resets the statute of limitations clock when an individual discovers that they have been exposed to asbestos. 

So why should you be worried about the statute of limitations if it can be restarted after the discovery of asbestos exposure? 

Although this statute can be restarted, the case might be weaker than it was before. This is because asbestos cases are not usually the easiest to prove. Since they involve millions of dollars as compensation, you do not expect the defendant to accept liability without proof. 

And even when there is proof, they will still try to come up with various reasons to avoid liability. For example, let’s say you got exposed to asbestos after working at a paint factory for five years. You then quit your job and started working at a shipyard a year later. Based on statistics, these industries rank high in the list of potential risks for asbestos exposure.

So if you work in both industries but believe you were exposed while working in the paint processing plant, the insurance company could easily deny liability. Instead, they will try to blame the shipyard for the exposure. And since asbestos does not come with labels indicating where it came from, you will have a rough time proving liability.

Still, on matters concerning time and how it could influence your claim, you need to know that evidence gets weaker as time goes by. If you have watched any crime scene investigation movie, you probably know that the first few hours are usually the most important. That’s when the evidence is still fresh and accessible. 

As time passes, factors such as weather conditions and even human activity could make it impossible to collect the required evidence to prove such a case. As a result, even though a skilled attorney might still be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries, the fact that they have weak evidence could also mean settling for lower compensation.

The Severity of Your Injuries

Asbestos exposure can cause various injuries. The severity of your injuries ultimately determines your claim. To put things into perspective, asbestos exposure can lead to lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other diseases.

However, mesothelioma has no cure. This means that if you got exposed to asbestos and were diagnosed with mesothelioma, you will likely need treatment for the rest of your life. For this reason, the compensation you may be entitled to will be much higher than when you contracted a curable disease. 

It should also be noted that the stage of your mesothelioma diagnosis also influences your claim. As mesothelioma progresses, so does the need for further treatment. As a result, you may be entitled to more compensation to settle your medical bills and other expenses arising from the exposure.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

The economic and non-economic damages caused by asbestos exposure vary from case to case. Under economic damages, you may recover medical expenses, including transport costs to and from your medical expenses, therapy and counseling, special medical equipment, and so on. 

However, non-economic damages are usually quite difficult to prove. This is because, unlike economic damages, non-economic damages do not come with receipts. Pain and suffering are good examples of non-economic damages an individual exposed to asbestos could potentially suffer from. But how do you prove pain and suffering? 

That’s where an experienced asbestos exposure comes in to argue your case on your behalf. Such an attorney understands your pain and can help put a dollar value on it. This is because while it is possible to treat an injury, the same cannot be said about the pain you have suffered due to the same injury. One cannot simply forget about pain or reverse its effects. For this reason, monetary compensation may be necessary to help manage the pain.

Non-economic damages usually depend on the severity of the injuries sustained. In most cases, non-economic damages go hand in hand with economic damages. For example, if you suffered serious economic damages, such as the need for expensive treatment, chances are such treatment came with a lot of pain. An experienced attorney can help prove non-economic damages associated with your specific case of asbestos exposure, helping you secure the compensation you need and deserve. 

Whether the Case Goes to Trial

Contrary to popular belief, taking a case to trial does not significantly increase a settlement. However, this does not necessarily mean that the settlement won’t increase by taking the case to trial. If this sounds confusing, we will explain. 

When you get exposed to asbestos and hire an attorney to represent you, they will investigate the validity of your case. If you have a valid case, the attorney will help determine liability and build a strong case for you by collecting crucial evidence. As mentioned earlier, multiple parties might be liable for your injuries. It is the attorney’s responsibility to identify the liable parties.

Next, the attorney will evaluate your injuries and refer you to the best doctors and other specialists you need to manage your condition. In the case of asbestos exposure, you will likely need continuous treatment, and that is something an attorney can help you obtain. This is because such attorneys have access to a network of professionals from different fields, including healthcare.

After determining liability, the attorney will file a claim with the liable parties. The parties will review the claim, evaluate the evidence, and either accept or deny liability. 

Depending on the weight of the evidence brought against them, the other party might decide to settle the claim out of court. They will choose this option because they know you have a strong case against them and that they will likely lose if the case goes to trial. And, in most cases, when they lose, they will be responsible for the legal fees involved.

The bottom line is that taking a case to trial does not necessarily increase your settlement. It might, however, increase the legal fees involved in pursuing your claim, something the defendant will be responsible for. On the contrary, your attorney’s preparedness for trial is what influences the value of your claim. If your attorney has a strong case, the other party will not want to risk going to trial and paying extra legal costs when they can negotiate and close the case out of court. 

Prior Injuries

As mentioned earlier, insurance companies will always try to come up with reasons to avoid liability. And when it comes to asbestos claims, they need to avoid liability increases. This is because such cases involve thousands of dollars worth of compensation.

For instance, suppose your family has a known history of respiratory diseases. In that case, the other party could claim that this factor increased your chances of suffering from lung cancer. Although this does not completely erase the fact that you might have also been exposed to asbestos due to the defendant’s negligence, it makes a huge difference to the amount you may be able to recover as compensation for your injuries.

It is also important to note that insurance providers have no limits when it comes to avoiding liability. They will do anything they can to avoid compensating you. After all, that’s how they make money — pocketing their client’s payments and limiting the settlement amount when an injury victim files a claim.

When disputing claims, some of these companies act out of hearsay and not facts. For this reason, you need an attorney to fight for you. The attorney will help separate assumptions, rumors, and hearsay from facts. As a result, they will build a strong case against the defendant and also help maximize your claim. 

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  • How Can Morgan and Morgan Help?

    Asbestos claims usually involve huge amounts of money. Therefore, you should not expect the other party to write you a check without a fight. If they cannot avoid liability, they will try to minimize your claim. But this is not the time to play games when your health and well-being are on the line. 

    This is also not the time to experience even more stress and suffering by dealing with the big bullies in the industry. You deserve the peace of mind, knowing that someone with the proper training, experience, and resources is fighting for you.

    That is where Morgan and Morgan asbestos attorneys come in. As the largest personal injury law firm in the United States, we have the resources needed to take down the biggest bullies in the industry. But don’t just take our word for it — we have the results to prove our competence in handling asbestos claims.

    Your claim could be worth thousands or even millions of dollars. But this is not something you would expect the defendant to tell you. Instead, you need someone who genuinely cares about your health and well-being. So fill out our case evaluation form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an asbestos expert. 

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