The entire process of filing an asbestos-related lawsuit no doubt elicits all sorts of questions, especially about what the final outcome might be if all goes as planned.
Everyone that files an asbestos suit, of course, is looking for some sort of retribution – though that may seem like a harsh word.
However, with asbestos lawsuits especially, it all becomes very personal, particularly because most asbestos exposure occurred without reason.
In other words, if manufacturers and companies that used asbestos products had been honest about what they knew in regards to the dangers of asbestos, most mesothelioma diagnoses would not have happened.
As such, anyone filing an asbestos suit feels strongly that they do indeed deserve compensation for their suffering.
That said, there is no standard asbestos settlement and not everyone gets what they are seeking.
As with all personal injury suits, each has its own merits and hurdles. In some cases, it’s easier to prove negligence.
Sometimes, witnesses are hard to find and other times there’s plenty of proof that asbestos exposure shouldn’t have occurred.
But all of that should be discussed before you launch the lawsuit and your lawyer will help you understand what the outcome might be, though surprises always occur in the legal world.
Nevertheless, there are many questions that can be answered in general detail, though the details of your case will dictate the specifics of your asbestos settlement.
This is the million dollar question….perhaps in a very literal sense. Nearly every plaintiff in an asbestos case will need to ponder in which direction they should head.
Do they take a settlement offered by the defendant(s) or “take a chance” and allow the case to go to court and be tried by a jury. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
How much you receive – or if you receive anything at all – as a result of your asbestos-related lawsuit will depend on many different factors relating to your case. These will include:
Also considered are the age of the plaintiff, the extent of his or her disease, the level of exposure, and the victim’s past health history, including whether or not he or she was a smoker.
Is there such a thing as an average settlement? Kind of. Settlements largely depend on which route you take – the out-of-court settlement, trial by jury, or asbestos trust fund.
Check around on the internet and it’s easy to determine that the largest settlements come as a result of court proceedings while the other two types of settlements produce a smaller amount of money.
If you seek payment from an established trust fund, your compensation could be substantially less.
It depends on the size of the company that established the trust and, hence, the amount of money in that trust. It will also depend on how many people are seeking compensation from that fund.
Though large corporations, like Johns-Manville, have sizeable asbestos trusts, more people are filing claims with Johns-Manville than with much smaller companies so that will impact the payout.
Nonetheless, statistics show that trusts pay anywhere from 1 to 100 percent of a claim. Your attorney should be able to inform you as to the average paid by a particular trust.
There may be other fees deducted from a settlement including payment for expert witnesses, any travel expenses incurred by your attorney or his staff, deposition costs, or small incidentals such as the cost of mailing or copying various documents.
All of these will be carefully noted for your review before the case is finalized. In regards to trust fund payments, there may or may not be a cap on contingency fees that can be charged by an attorney.
Most personal injury settlements are not taxable but there are indeed exceptions to the rules of taxation.
About 20 years ago, the laws changed regarding taxation and settlements for physical or emotional injuries. It used to be that they were totally tax-free but now some limitations apply.
However, if you receive a reward by jury and it includes punitive damages, these particular damages are generally taxable.
So, if the award totals $2 million and includes $1 million in punitive damages and another million in compensatory damages, $1 million will be taxable.
In addition, any settlement or portion of a settlement that is given as compensation for loss of income or lost wages will also be taxable, as will any amount given in a personal injury suit that is attributed to interest.
If compensation is coming from an asbestos trust or from a settlement, it is likely that the plaintiff will receive at least a portion of the funds within a year, often sooner.
If you have been awarded compensation as a result of a jury case, it could take twice that amount of time, given the time it takes for the case to be heard, subsequent appeals, and other issues that slow down the process.