If you have been diagnosed with an illness related to asbestos exposure such as mesothelioma, you may have questions about the process of making a claim for your illness. Whether you personally have been diagnosed – or a loved one – it makes sense to pursue asbestos exposure compensation. It’s natural that you will wonder how making a claim works and what to expect when you get your day in court.
Facts About Asbestos Exposure Compensation
Fact: Not Everyone Gets Their Day In Court
No matter the circumstances of your asbestos exposure, a day in court may not be required to get you the best possible settlement. Often the claim process may be accomplished in private rather than in a court setting. It’s natural to want justice and the courtroom feels like the place that would happen.
But with many companies out of business, sometimes the best you can hope for is to be compensated for your injuries – or those of your loved one. In fact, going through the emotional upheaval of a day in court is something we try to avoid if possible, because it can be stressful on the family.
Fact: Not Every Case Needs to Go to Court
Many asbestos companies have filed bankruptcy to try and shield themselves from liability. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be compensated. It simply means that the claim process will be handled by a court appointed trust instead of going through the court system. For some, a courtroom trial instills a sense of justice, but for companies with a bankruptcy trust, justice is served through an alternate court approved process instead. This can actually be much easier to deal with when you need to focus on your health rather than dealing with legal proceedings.
Fact: Some Asbestos Cases Still Go to Court
If the company that is the likely source of your asbestos exposure has not filed bankruptcy, then your case is more likely to go through the court system. There are many steps that are required before a case has its day in court, including discovery of evidence, depositions of corporate representatives and witnesses to the exposure.
It is often the goal to achieve a settlement during this process to avoid the cost and emotional toll of a trial. But even if your case looks like it will be hashed out in court, there are often last minute settlement talks that can avoid a trial. Court cases are costly for defendants so they will take this into account and be more generous with settlement offers the closer it gets to trial.
Fact: Taking Your Case to Court Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a Larger Settlement
There are a number of factors that contribute to the size of a settlement you may receive. First is how clear the tie is between the accused and your asbestos illness. For instance if you worked for the same employer for the bulk of your career, that makes it more clear-cut. Secondary factors include the circumstances of onset, your pain and suffering and other medical factors. Third, out of pocket medical expenses you’ve incurred, cost of medical treatments you will need in the future as well as travel and other costs associated with obtaining these treatments will be weighed.
Last, if you were working when diagnosed and are no longer able to, the loss of your income for the expected remainder of the number of years you would have continued to work if your health had not been compromised are all factors that contribute to the settlement. If you’ve lost a loved one to asbestos exposure, wrongful death claims should also be part of what is asked for in the claim and will factor in to how much compensation you ultimately receive.
It is important to remember that when a trial goes to court, a jury decides the ultimate award. This factor should be carefully considered when weighing a settlement offer from a defendant.
Fact: You Need an Attorney Representing You to Make an Asbestos Exposure Compensation Claim
Whether you end up getting your day in court or if your compensation comes as the result of a negotiated settlement, you’ll need an attorney to help you. Asbestos law is complex and defendants in these cases are incented to avoid paying unless forced to. The prevalence of bankruptcy trusts makes an asbestos claim even trickier and reinforces the need for a legal representative fighting on your behalf.
You want an asbestos attorney with a demonstrated ability to win significant settlements for mesothelioma victims. Bergman Draper Oslund has won more than $700 million in settlements and is ready to help you too. If you or a loved one have been stricken with mesothelioma, we would like to offer you an immediate free consultation. Call now for help.