Asbestos and Mesothelioma Settlements
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is typically caused by exposure to asbestos - a naturally occurring fiber that is commonly used in construction, shipbuilding and automotive repairs. For decades, the use of asbestos in these industries went unregulated despite the presence of scientific data that found a strong correlation between asbestos exposure and lung illnesses like Mesothelioma. Because Mesothelioma symptoms only become noticeable decades after exposure, many victims of asbestos exposure fail to realize the actual cause of their declining health.
Many companies using asbestos were accused of knowing the dangers of asbestos exposure long before the government officially began regulating its use in 1970. As such, these companies knowingly allowed its workers to be exposed to deadly levels of asbestos fibers in order to maintain profit margins. The result has been hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Mesothelioma settlements and lawsuits. Since the incubation period between asbestos exposure and the first symptoms of Mesothelioma can last for up to 50 years, government health officials expect the number of Mesothelioma lawsuits and settlements to continue to grow.
The reach of this Mesothelioma epidemic is so great that industry leaders have been petitioning lawmakers in Washington to pass a bill that would take Mesothelioma cases out of the courtroom and create a Federal trust fund designed to provide financial assistance to Mesothelioma victims. Most experts believe this system would not provide enough support for Mesothelioma victims while also granting what essentially amounts to a pardon to the industries responsible for the pain and suffering of thousands of Americans.
Settling Mesothelioma Cases
Settlements allow all parties involved to avoid protracted legal battles. Lawsuits involving asbestos exposure and Mesothelioma typically never make it to trial. Depending on the specifics of the case, settlements can range anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars. Factors influencing settlements include the avenue of exposure and the political climate in the region at the time. Ultimately, the amount of the Mesothelioma settlement is dependent on the amount of damage done to the victim as a result of the exposure, the defendant's culpability, as well as the factors listed above.
Settlements must account for the cost of long term medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In the event of a wrongful death caused by Mesothelioma, the settlement must also account for the pain and suffering of the deceased's survivors and funeral expenses.