Class action lawsuits are an effective way to hold companies accountable for wide-scale misbehavior, without clogging up the court system. They have proven particularly effective where the harm suffered is primarily financial. However, in some cases a class action suit may not be the best option for individual plaintiffs who are facing grave circumstances as a result of the defendant’s behavior, or were the harm suffered is too individual to boil down to a single class of victims.
In asbestos cases, serious illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, may result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills, and eventually premature death. Although each case is different, in most cases a class action suit is not the best way to recover damages for asbestos related illness.
Asbestos Lawsuits: Class Actions Carry Risks
Plaintiffs lose the ability to accept or reject settlement offers when they take part in a class action suit. In some cases, an individual plaintiff may receive millions of dollars in a single settlement, while individual class action awards are likely to be significantly smaller. For this reason, if you are suffering from a serious asbestos-related illness, you should check with an experienced asbestos litigation attorney and consider opting out if you receive a class action notice in the mail.
Asbestos Lawsuits are Complex
Asbestos related illnesses such as mesothelioma and lung cancer are complex; no two victims are likely to have exactly the same prognosis or disease progression. For this reason it may be difficult to form a single class, even in cases where many workers were harmed by the same negligent employer. In a 1997 ruling, the US Supreme Court overruled a $1.2 billion verdict against Amchem, on the grounds that the class of victims was too broadly defined. Since then, federal courts have generally rejected asbestos class actions.
Asbestos Lawsuits: How Can I Sue as an Individual?
The idea of retaining your own lawyer and undertaking an individual asbestos lawsuit may seem intimidating, but legal help is often available at no up-front cost. Asbestos law firms take cases on contingency, meaning they receive no payment unless you obtain a favorable verdict or settlement. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need not add legal deadlines and paperwork to your list of worries. You may be eligible for compensation even if it has been many decades since your initial exposure. The statute of limitations begins tolling when you receive your diagnosis. Call an experienced asbestos litigation firm today, to discuss your options.
Bergman Draper Oslund has litigated more mesothelioma cases than any other law firm in the Pacific Northwest, and is the only NW law firm dedicated exclusively to mesothelioma cases. For decades, we have successfully obtained settlements for asbestos victims like you. Call us today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.