What’s the Difference Between a Mesothelioma Lawyer and a Class-Action Lawsuit?
Typically, developing an asbestos-caused disease significantly changes a family’s life. Treatment and hospital bills are often costly. Consequently, many families seek legal compensation. Generally, the difference between joining a class action lawsuit for compensation and hiring a mesothelioma lawyer (attorney) affects your final settlement total and the case’s timeline.
For decades, asbestos manufacturers mixed the carcinogen into thousands of products (such as floor tile adhesive and air duct wrap paper). As a result, many Americans inhaled or swallowed deadly asbestos fiber dust in the workplace or home – many without knowing it.
In the 1970s, the number of class-action lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers peaked. Eventually, courts were flooded with asbestos-related litigation. Subsequently, many companies filed for bankruptcy and were forced to set up asbestos trust funds for victims.
Over time, however, the rate of class-action lawsuits against these manufacturers declined. Today, victims of asbestos exposure are less likely to join a class-action lawsuit. Conversely, eligible families often pursue other legal compensation by hiring a mesothelioma lawyer.
Why File a Class-Action Lawsuit?
In the U.S., class action suits are a type of lawsuit that allows several harmed parties to form a single group and file suit against the same entity. These suits give plaintiffs strength in numbers by letting them pool their resources. For instance, in some cases, filing a lawsuit is expensive for a single party. By joining together, plaintiffs can split attorney costs and fees.
Also, class action lawsuits prevent cases from clogging the court system. In the past, thousands of mesothelioma cases crowded courts. Accordingly, the time it took to reach a verdict was so long in many cases the plaintiff died from their injuries beforehand. Combining similar cases against a company (or several companies) helps the court deliver justice for more individuals in a timelier manner – instead of hearing each case individually.
How to Join a Class-Action Lawsuit
Also known as “mass tort litigation,” class action mesothelioma lawsuits are not as common today as they once were. Subsequently, fewer people (or families) join class action cases.
To join a class-action lawsuit, you can usually consult with a lawyer who specializes in class-action suits. Additionally, you can make a request to join by contacting the class’s representatives.
Typically, each case is represented by a lead plaintiff who communicates updates to the rest of the group. In most cases, the attorneys representing the class (or their representatives) interview you after joining. Then, the lead plaintiff delivers relevant news to you afterward.
Mesothelioma makes many patients too sick to work. Call us for help finding other compensation options.
Why File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?
Currently, most people who file an asbestos legal claim work with a mesothelioma lawyer on a one-on-one basis for their case. Generally, this type of attorney guides plaintiffs in finding the source of their asbestos exposure.
Through an initial interview, asbestos lawyers use in-depth knowledge of American and international asbestos manufacturing to help pinpoint the negligent company (or companies). Next, your attorneys build your case (i.e., collect relevant medical paperwork and exposure histories) and file your claim in court.
Often, the timeline for a mesothelioma lawsuit is different than class action claims. Your lawyers will work with you individually throughout a mesothelioma personal injury (or wrongful death) lawsuit. Normally, your attorney will tell you about any news or changes in your case (such as a settlement offer).
How to Find a Mesothelioma Lawyer
In the U.S., mesothelioma is a comparatively rare form of cancer. Each year, approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with asbestos-caused cancer. Consequently, treating the disease requires specialized knowledge.
Similarly, litigating a mesothelioma case requires an understanding of certain technical information on top of all the necessary legal experience. As such, trained and highly qualified meso professionals can also help you determine what type of legal claim to pursue, including:
- Asbestos trust fund claim
- Personal injury lawsuit
- Wrongful death lawsuit
- Joining an ongoing class-action lawsuit
Before hiring a mesothelioma attorney, it’s important to consider things like legal fees and payment. In many places, law firms offer free case reviews to assess claim eligibility.
What Type of Lawsuit Provides a Settlement?
In a lawsuit, a settlement is a resolution between the plaintiff and defendant that closes the case. Both parties can reach a settlement, also known as settling a case, at any time after a legal claim has been filed – before or after court or trial.
Normally, asbestos case settlements include monetary compensation for damages. Instead of a lump sum, structured settlements allot compensation payments over time.
The amount awarded to successful mesothelioma cases differs from case to case. Depending on the case, either class action lawsuits or cases headed by one plaintiff’s mesothelioma attorneys could receive a cash settlement. In general, settlement amounts are determined by the court based on the amount of damage caused to the plaintiff (such as high cancer treatment bills).
Mesothelioma Attorney Fees
Among class-action and other asbestos lawsuits, attorney fees usually include all legal work done to file and litigate the case. Some cases, for example, are filed in several states according to several factors (including state statute of limitations). Subsequently, most mesothelioma law firms collect payment on a contingency fee basis.
These cases use a portion of the settlement amount to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees. Moreover, contingency fee payment means plaintiffs aren’t responsible for attorney fees unless their case is successful. Often, the court will take legal fees into consideration when awarding a settlement amount.
Consult with a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. Attorneys can begin working on your compensation claim today.