A diagnosis of mesothelioma can leave you shocked, devastated and reeling with questions.
Our Boston mesothelioma lawyers know that as much as you don’t want to spend your latter years embroiled in a legal battle, you also want to ensure that your loved ones are going to be financially comfortable when you’re gone.
This is where we can help. We are committed to making the process as painless as possible, and to fighting aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve. We want you to understand what you can expect when you file a mesothelioma lawsuit.
First, if you’ve been diagnosed, you probably already understand what causes mesothelioma: exposure to asbestos. Into the 1970s and even the 1980s, it was a pretty widely used material that was used in a multitude of products and construction projects. Manufacturers liked it because it was cheap and it had a high resistance to heat. Those who worked in manufacturing, shipping, the auto industry and mining – as well as their families – are at particular risk of developing the disease, which doesn’t manifest itself until decades after exposure.
The real outrage of these cases is that companies were well aware of the dangers of using asbestos, and continued to use it anyway, mostly because it was inexpensive. This is why so many people are now seeking legal compensation. These are businesses that knew or should have known the risk to which they were exposing workers and consumers.
So one of the first steps after you receive a diagnosis is to identify the culprit(s). In many cases, given the prevalence of the material in a wide range of products and industries, there is usually more than one named defendant. Still, every case is different, so it just depends.
It’s difficult to say an exact timeline for your case because it all depends on how hard the company or companies fight back, as well as the kind of compensation you are seeking.
If you are awarded compensation, it will happen one of three ways:
1. A verdict. This would happen as the result of a trial. A jury will decide whether the defendants in the case are liable for your exposure, and therefore your disease. From there, the jury would decide the size of your award, which is likely to include both compensatory and punitive damages. This just means that the jury is not only compensating you for pain and suffering, they are punishing the defendant.
2. A settlement. This is how the majority of mesothelioma cases end. Most companies realize they may not have much legal standing to fight the allegations, and therefore will work to negotiate a settlement agreement. This amount may be less than what you would get from a trial, but it will be less arduous and time-consuming for you and your family. Of course, if a settlement is offered, it is always your choice whether to accept it or whether to press forward with a trial.
3. A bankruptcy trust. In the wake of many mesothelioma claims, a number of companies filed for bankruptcy. Some were not able to stay in business. The bankruptcy courts declared that those companies would have to set aside trusts in order to pay out current and future mesothelioma claimants. If you, with the help of your attorney, can prove that your exposure to asbestos was caused by one of these companies, you may be entitled to a pay-out from one or more of these trusts.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in New England, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Environmental Asbestos Mess in Framingham, Sept. 8, 2012, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog