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The most common way mesothelioma lawsuits are resolved is by settlement. Sometimes, mesothelioma settlements cannot be obtained and the case instead must be resolved at trial (although settlement remains a possibility during and even after trial). Settlements and trials have their own unique advantages. In this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), we will examine questions relating to settlements. Obtaining satisfactory mesothelioma lawsuit settlements requires the skilled help of a highly experienced mesothelioma lawyer.
Q: What is a mesothelioma settlement?
A: A mesothelioma settlement is an amount of money paid to a mesothelioma patient who has filed a personal injury lawsuit or to a mesothelioma victim’s surviving loved ones who have brought a wrongful death claim. You receive this settlement money in exchange for resolving your mesothelioma lawsuit before it goes to trial or, if the trial is already underway, before the verdict is rendered. Cases sometimes settle even after the trial, such as during an appeal of the verdict.
The terms of the agreement to settle your mesothelioma lawsuit will be spelled out in a detailed document you must sign. This agreement is a legally binding and enforceable contract.
Many courts prefer there be a settlement rather than a trial. Courts favor resolving cases this way because it helps open up their congested trial calendars. As such, do not be surprised if the judge presiding over your case strongly encourages you and the defendants to work toward reaching a mesothelioma settlement.
Q: How is settlement different from a verdict in a mesothelioma lawsuit?
A: The most important difference between a settlement and a verdict in a mesothelioma lawsuit is the element of control. With a verdict, the outcome of your claim is in the hands of third parties – a judge and jury. With a settlement, the outcome is in the hands of just you and the defendant’s insurance company and their lawyers.
With a verdict in a mesothelioma lawsuit, the outcome is arrived at through deliberation among the members of the jury after they have listened to all the testimony, looked at the evidence and considered the arguments offered by your attorney and the defendants. The jurors then decide whether the defendants are liable for the harms you have suffered. If liability is found, the jury then decides how much money you should receive in compensation. If the judge agrees with that amount, he or she enters an order requiring the defendants to pay it. If the judge disagrees with that amount, he or she, acting in the interest of justice, can increase or decrease it.
With a settlement in a mesothelioma lawsuit, the outcome is reached through out-of-court negotiations between your asbestos lawyer and the defense lawyers.
Negotiations can start as soon as you file an asbestos claim. Usually, however, they begin after the discovery phase of your case or as your trial nears. The parties’ attorneys meet privately to exchange offers and counteroffers based on knowledge of their respective clients’ interests and wishes. Fruitful negotiations may yield a settlement offer. Each side considers the offer. If both find it acceptable, the mesothelioma settlement is then finalized and given full legal effect.
Q: What are the benefits of obtaining a mesothelioma settlement?
A: The main benefit of obtaining a mesothelioma settlement is the guarantee that you will receive money in compensation for your claim. Although it happens very rarely, a mesothelioma plaintiff might lose at trial and as a result receive nothing – or win but receive an inadequate award. The risk of that occurring is eliminated by obtaining a settlement.
Another benefit of obtaining a mesothelioma settlement is that you may be able to receive compensation sooner rather than later. That is because the defendants become obligated to pay within a reasonable time (or within a statutorily defined time) once a settlement agreement is signed.
Q: Which factors affect the size of mesothelioma settlements?
A: Mesothelioma settlement amounts generally range from six to seven figures. The actual size of your own mesothelioma settlement will be determined by a number of factors.
One factor that affects the size of mesothelioma settlements is the amount of pain and suffering and loss of life’s pleasures that you are experiencing as a result of your cancer. The loss begins from your first symptoms through the time of your settlement and is affected by many factors, such as the length of your suffering, your age and prior health, your lifestyle, and the number and type of asbestos products you recall. Another factor is lost wages – those you lost in the past due to mesothelioma and those you are forecast to lose in the future because of it.
Also affecting the size of mesothelioma settlements is the defendants’ legal and insurance status. Over the decades of litigation, many asbestos companies have declared bankruptcy, but were mandated by the courts to establish trust funds to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases. Such trusts can run out of money, which requires a swift action on the part of mesothelioma plaintiffs to secure compensation for their injuries — before it is too late. If a defendant is an active entity, and has insurance coverage for asbestos claims, then the chances of obtaining a sizable settlement are higher.
Perhaps the most important factor affecting mesothelioma settlements size is the negotiation skills of the mesothelioma lawyer or law firm you retain. Elite mesothelioma lawyers, such as those found at the asbestos litigation law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., know how to shape a satisfactory settlement offer and convince the other side to accept it. Other lawyers – those with little negotiating experience – may deliver disappointing mesothelioma settlement results.
Q: How soon after a settlement will I receive the money?
A: You can expect to receive the money relatively soon after a settlement is reached. You can generally expect the money to arrive in your mailbox or be electronically deposited to your bank account within a few weeks to a few months after the settlement agreement is put into writing and signed.
The speed of payment frequently depends on the number of steps required to complete the settlement process. The process cannot even begin until the defendants receive from you a signed release promising you will not seek additional money in a legal matter arising from or related to your mesothelioma lawsuit. Once this release is received, the defendants will then instruct their financial departments to obtain all necessary internal authorizations required to issue payment. However, the payment will not be sent directly to you. Instead, it will be sent to your attorney who will deposit it into a client trust account. Your attorney has an obligation to promptly release the amount owed to you, which is the amount of the settlement minus the attorney’s fees and cost.
Payment might be delayed, however, if any of your creditors have obtained liens against you. By law, your settlement payment can be held up until those liens are discharged.
Q: How successful has your law firm been with settlements for your mesothelioma clients?
A: Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. is a law firm that has been very successful with settlements for our mesothelioma clients. Settlements negotiated by Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. are routinely characterized as substantial.
The surest indication of W&L’s success with mesothelioma settlements comes from the clients themselves. For example, John Pilla of New Jersey credits Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. with having delivered “a number of good settlements” in the mesothelioma lawsuit against multiple defendants brought by his now-deceased mother.
Sue Crawford of Pennsylvania lauds Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. for the size of the settlements negotiated in the mesothelioma case brought on behalf of her late father. “It overwhelms us, the amount of money [my mother as surviving spouse has] gotten. Mom’s going to be very comfortable and set for the rest of her life,” she says.
Q: Why should I choose your law firm to settle my mesothelioma case?
A: You should choose the mesothelioma attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. to settle your case because you seek justice. That quest calls for a law firm with a solid record of success. Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. has just such a record. Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is recognized for our proven toughness and skill at the negotiating table – tenacity and know-how gained from negotiating thousands upon thousands of mesothelioma cases over the span of more than 25 years.
You should choose Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. to handle your mesothelioma case and its settlement negotiations because Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. is an acknowledged leader in the area of mesothelioma settlements. We help you understand the settlement offers you receive, so that you can make informed choices about whether to accept or reject them. As well, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. strives to consistently offer you clear, concise recommendations about the proposals brought to you.
You should choose Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. because our nearly 90 lawyers comprise litigation teams known for wise negotiation strategies and dynamic bargaining tactics. They also are known for their nimbleness. They know how to leverage your case’s strengths to maximum advantage. They know how to exploit weaknesses in the defendant’s case. They use all of these capabilities to advance your interests at the negotiating table in ways that help bring your mesothelioma case to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.
Contact Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. to learn more about how we can help you obtain a satisfactory mesothelioma settlement. There is no charge to talk to our mesothelioma lawyers about your situation and to explore your legal rights. There is also no obligation on your part. Contact Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. by submitting a contact form on this page or by calling 800-476-6070.