Mesothelioma Settlements

Many mesothelioma victims are concerned about the time and expense of filing an asbestos lawsuit. However, in many cases plaintiffs are able to reach a mesothelioma settlement without going to court. Dozens of companies have also established asbestos trusts to compensate victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Recent Asbestos Settlements

In 2005, the Rand Corp. reported that asbestos settlements had grown significantly since the 1990s. A study published two years later found that the average asbestos settlement was most likely between $1 million and $1.4 million.

The amount of compensation that a mesothelioma plaintiff is entitled to will be determined by a number of factors, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Asbestos exposure history
  • Diagnosis
  • Accumulation of debt from lost wages

While there is no way to guarantee a specific compensation amount for any plaintiff, some recent settlements have amounted to millions of dollars:

  • 2015: W.R. Grace & Co. announced that it had made a final $490 million payment to a trust intended to compensate victims of asbestos exposure related to a company mine outside of Libby, Montana. Asbestos from the mine has been linked to 400 deaths and more than 2,000 illnesses. In 2011, Libby victims were able to reach a $43 million settlement with the state of Montana for failing to intervene sooner.
  • 2013: A former California construction worker was able o reach a $7.5 million mesothelioma settlement with several companies,  including Parex USA, Westburne Supply, John K. Bice Co., Los Angeles Rubber, Hajoca Corp., Hanson Permanente Cement, Keenan, Properties, J-M Manufacturing, Certainteed Corp., Ferguson Enterprises, Grinnell Corp., Amcord, Ameron International and Calportland. The plaintiff, who had worked installing underground water and sewer lines beneath the Sacramento Valley city of Chico, suffered from pleural mesothelioma.
  • 2011: A judge in Missouri approved a $10 million mesothelioma settlement on behalf of a woman who was exposed to asbestos during a renovation project performed by the U.S. Engineering Company.

What is a Mesothelioma Trust Fund?

Many asbestos defendants have had to file for bankruptcy protection over the years.  Fortunately, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows for the creation of asbestos bankruptcy trusts, in which a company sets aside funds to compensate victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), close to $17.5 billion has already been awarded to victims of diseases caused by exposure to asbestos from these trusts. An estimated $30-40 billion is still available for future cases.

While asbestos bankruptcy trusts are established on behalf of companies, the companies do not operate the trusts. That task of running the trust falls to a trustee, who processes claims under preset distribution procedures. Evidence needed to successfully file a mesothelioma usually includes:

  • Documentation of diagnosis (biopsies, x-rays etc.)
  • Physician statement confirming diagnosis
  • Witness affidavits, employment records, invoices or other evidence showing that a claimant was exposed to asbestos at the company’s facilities or via its products.
  • Medical documentation describing to what extent asbestos contributed to the claimant’s disease.

Unfortunately, most asbestos trusts do not have enough money to pay all possible claims. Instead, mesothelioma settlements from a trust usually amount to a percentage of a claim. As of 2010, the median percentage paid from the 26 largest trusts was about 25 percent.

Discuss Your Mesothelioma Claim with an Attorney Today

If you would like to learn more about asbestos settlements that might be available to those suffering from mesothelioma, Bernstein Liebhard LLP can help. To arrange for a free review of your case, please call (888) 994-5118.

  1. Rand Corp. (2005) “Asbestos Litigation”
  2. Baltimore Business Journal (2015) “W.R. Grace makes $490M final payment to asbestos trust”
  3. Louis Post-Dispatch (2011) “Western Mo. asbestos case settled for $10 million”
  4. GAO (2011) “Asbestos Compensation: The Role and Administration of Asbestos Trusts”
Last Modified: June 23, 2016

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