What is Mesothelioma Litigation?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Mesothelioma litigation is an area of legal practice focused on obtaining compensation for people who have developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure. Some lawyers and firms specialize in mesothelioma litigation, while others may provide it as part of a larger family of services. Experts can often reach a settlement within a year, and can push the amount of the settlement higher than other litigators, thanks to their experience, relationships with expert witnesses, and knowledge in this area of the law.

Those who develop mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos may be entitled to a settlement.
Those who develop mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos may be entitled to a settlement.

People can pursue mesothelioma litigation from a number of perspectives. In all cases, the goal is to prove that someone was exposed to asbestos, that this exposure caused illness, and that the exposure took place at a time when it was generally understood that asbestos exposure was harmful, and the litigant was not adequately protected. If the case is proved, the litigant may be entitled to compensation which includes coverage of health care expenses along with damages; someone who missed work because of mesothelioma, for example, could claim damages, or someone who will die young can claim damages to compensate survivors such as a spouse and children for loss of income.

One area of mesothelioma litigation is wrongful death, in which family members bring suit on behalf of a deceased person. This is done to obtain damages to compensate for the loss and for medical expenses. Especially if someone left young children behind, the damages awarded can be very high, and in some cases the target of the lawsuit may settle out of court to avoid a costly award from a judge or jury.

Another area of mesothelioma litigation is product liability, with suits being leveled against manufacturers of asbestos to argue that their products were unsafe, and caused injury. People can also sue for worker compensation, demanding damages because their illness was caused by workplace exposure. People who happened to work for asbestos manufacturers may be targeting a manufacturer and their employers with a single lawsuit. Such suits can also be brought as a class action, with numerous people signing on and a team of lawyers negotiating damages on behalf of the group.

Some cases of mesothelioma litigation are malpractice suits brought against doctors who failed to diagnose mesothelioma. This can be a risky area of litigation, as the companies which handle malpractice insurance are extremely aggressive to avoid payouts. If a patient didn't fully disclose his or her situation, delays in diagnosis and treatment may not be attributable to professional malpractice on the part of the doctor.

Many nations have laws pertaining to mesothelioma litigation, including a time limit which requires people to file within a set period of time after diagnosis. Patients should be aware that some unscrupulous lawyers prey on people who are not familiar with the law; if a lawyer approaches someone offering litigation services, there may be strings attached. Before hiring a lawyer, his or her status with the Bar Association should be checked.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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