Los Angeles Mass Tort Lawyers Still Handle Mesothelioma Cases
One of the earliest types of mass tort cases, aside from pollution cases, are mesothelioma cases. In a nutshell, mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos. Once you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, the prognosis is grim. There aren’t many stories about mesothelioma patients that survive.
To put this into perspective, only about 40% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma live longer than one year. And, only about 10% live to about five years. And of these, most were diagnosed very early in their disease. So, for the most part, the mortality rate for this disease is 100%.
When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it does indeed feel like a death sentence. They can choose to undergo treatment or try to live their remaining time peacefully. It is a very sad situation.
It was discovered early on that one of the leading causes of mesothelioma is asbestos. If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with the disease, you need to contact a Los Angeles mass tort lawyer right away.
How Are These Cases Treated in California?
For the longest time, mesothelioma cases were filed as class actions. Today, people who suffer mesothelioma file individual cases. These cases are either personal injury or wrongful death cases.
When the cases were first emerging, there were so many plaintiffs that they had to be treated as class actions. One lawyer would handle a case with dozens of plaintiffs. When the cases settled, the plaintiffs (or their families) would receive their share of the judgment award.
The problem was, the defendants knew how bad the prognosis was for these plaintiffs. They knew that if they dragged their feet, most of the plaintiffs would have passed away.
This presented a catch-22 situation:
- If they crossed their fingers, most patients would die before they realized what caused their cancer
- Plaintiffs may be desperate to settle quickly which saved the defendants money
- If they waited too long, the cases would turn into wrongful death cases which cost defendants a lot more than product liability cases
So, different defendants took different approaches. Some wanted to settle cases quickly rather than risk their reputation being tarnished. They also figured they’d save money if they settled early.
Ironically, once we learned that asbestos caused cancer, asbestos became illegal. Any commercial or public building that had asbestos had to be treated to remove the asbestos. New construction was not able to use asbestos products.
People who worked in fields that involved asbestos products had to take special precautions. Sadly, for many of them, it was too late.
So today, there is nowhere near as many plaintiffs as we had years ago. There are fewer cases of mesothelioma being diagnosed today because people are no longer exposed to asbestos. What we find now are people who were exposed to the danger for years and are just now getting sick. So, it makes more sense to handle these cases on an individual basis rather than class actions.
Are Mesothelioma Cases Worth More than Other Mass Tort Cases?
Because so many mesothelioma patients die, it makes more sense that they would be entitled to more money than other plaintiffs. However, you have to keep in mind the things we talked about earlier. Since many plaintiffs didn’t have a good prognosis, they settled their cases early. They wanted to secure a settlement for their families so they would have something to live on once they were gone.
It is true that mesothelioma cases that go to trial award more money than those that settle. But because so few plaintiffs live long enough to survive a trial, most mesothelioma cases do settle. The settlement award depends on the following:
- Diagnosis and medical history
- Number of defendants named in the suit
- Where you sue
- How strong is your evidence
- What were your actual damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.)
The largest part of a mesothelioma settlement comes from pain and suffering. It’s not only the pain the plaintiff endures. It’s also the pain it can cause his family. If a man diagnosed with mesothelioma can no longer take care of his family, he can be compensated for this.
If a mesothelioma case is filed as wrongful death, the damages are usually even higher. Now, you have a family member suing on behalf of his lost loved one. Juries are very sympathetic to these cases and the defendants know it. They are very likely to settle these cases early rather than face a costly trial.
Contact a Mass Tort Attorney in California for Your Mesothelioma Claim
Sadly, mesothelioma almost always results in death. If you or a loved one have suffered from the diseases and you believe it may have been caused by asbestos, call a mass tort lawyer in Los Angeles today. Your lawyer can review your case and let you know if you have a potential legal claim.
Although the statute of limitations in these cases is three (3) years in California, you really don’t want to wait to contact a lawyer. Mesothelioma is a devastating illness. Most patients don’t survive more than a year with the illness. And, because of the nature of the disease, most patients are not in good enough health to handle a lawsuit.
Your mass tort lawyer in Los Angeles will spend the time to talk to you and your family about what you need to do. He’ll make sure the case is filed quickly so that you can work on settling it. These lawyers are compassionate and understand just how difficult a time this is for their clients and their families.
Call and schedule your free initial consultation today. The insurance companies have teams of lawyers working for them. Make sure you have an experienced mass tort lawyer on your side!