Starting the mesothelioma lawsuit process can be difficult, especially when undergoing treatment or grieving for the loss of a loved one.
Finding a lawyer who understands the process and will work with your situation can give you a refreshing sense of freedom so you can focus on recovering and spending time with family.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
There are two primary types of mesothelioma claims that can be filed: personal injury and wrongful death. Which type of complaint gets filed depends on whether the mesothelioma victim is still alive and who is filing the lawsuit. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you understand which type of asbestos lawsuit you will need to file based on your individual situation.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Submitted by the patient after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Filed against the company (or companies) responsible for the asbestos exposure leading to the disease.
Claims specific damages due to illness caused by asbestos exposure.
Allows the patient to recover money for treatment, travel, lost income, pain and suffering, and related costs.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Submitted by surviving family after someone dies from mesothelioma.
Filed against the company (or companies) responsible for the asbestos exposure that led to death.
Claims specific damages related to the death of the individual.
Allows family to recover money related to outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income potential, loss of consortium, and related costs.
Individual Lawsuits, Class Actions and Multidistrict Litigation
Some people may wonder whether their mesothelioma case will be handled individually, or as part of a mass tort such as a class action or multidistrict litigation. Your lawyer will advise you about which type of lawsuit is right for your specific situation.
Individual Lawsuits – These generally involve a single plaintiff who files suit against one or more companies over an illness related to their individual exposure to asbestos. Each side files motions and presents their evidence to a judge, ultimately being resolved either when both sides reach a settlement or the trial jury reaches a verdict.
Class Action Lawsuits – Class actions involve a person or group of people filing a lawsuit on behalf of everyone who is “similarly situated.” Classes can include anywhere from a few hundred to millions of people, and each person can decide whether to remain as part of the class action or opt out. While class actions have been filed over the years, most asbestos lawsuits are either individual or part of a multidistrict litigation.
Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) – This process allows people to file individual claims using a process that regularizes similar complaints and develops efficient procedural guidelines, allowing courts to handle more cases without lumping all plaintiffs into a single class. The primary MDL handling mesothelioma cases is MDL 875, In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, which is managed by the Eastern Pennsylvania District of the United States District Court and which has included more than 186,000 cases since it was formed in 2006.