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Why Choose a Mesothelioma Settlement?

Oct 11, 2007
If you are already involved in a mesothelioma lawsuit, your lawyer may be advising you to go for a settlement rather than waiting for your day in court. Alternatively, you may be going through the process of choosing a mesothelioma lawyer, and need some more information about your options. What exactly is a settlement, and why would you want one?

What is a Settlement?

In legal terms, this word most commonly refers to situations in which the plaintiff and the defendant agree to resolve the case out of court-either before the trial begins, or during the trial itself. This resolution is made without the help of the courts-a judge does order that a settlement should be reached, and cannot prevent the parties involved from agreeing to settle. Whether or not to agree to a settlement is a decision made by the plaintiff and the defendant involved in a lawsuit.

Why should you settle out of Court?

Your lawyer may advise you that settling your case out of court is the best option for a variety of reasons. They may, for example, feel that your case is not strong enough for you to win a lawsuit that is decided in court. This might happen if you are missing some vital information that means the lawsuit may not be decided in your favor.

Alternatively, you yourself may decide that a settlement is the best option for you-if you would like to get the case resolved more quickly, or if you do not want to put yourself through the stress of going to court.

Another point to consider is simply whether or not it is practical for you to settle rather than waiting through what might be a long, drawn-out court case. Mesothelioma is a devastating form of cancer, and the majority of people with this type of cancer have between one and five years to live after diagnosis, depending on how far advanced their disease is. This means that resolving a lawsuit quickly is often an important factor in deciding whether or not to settle. This is particularly true due to the fact that mesothelioma treatments are expensive, and many people with the disease require ongoing at-home care in addition to treatment. For some people, delaying the resolution of a lawsuit means they may be deprived of care and treatment that might prolong their lives-in such cases, it may be in the best interests of the patient to reach a settlement quickly so that they can get the treatment they need.

None of this means that you absolutely must settle-it does, however, mean that choosing whether or not to accept a settlement requires some careful thought, and discussion with your doctors as well as with your lawyer.

What else should you know about Settlements?

The majority of mesothelioma lawsuits are settled out of court. The dangers of asbestos exposure are very well-known, and there have been many, many lawsuits of this kind. For this reason, most companies are willing to agree to a settlement if you have a valid claim that can prove the responsibility of the company.

One factor to consider is that when you agree to settle, you may receive less compensation than you might if you won your case in court, mainly because you are likely to receive more "damages" money from a court decision than a settlement. The compensation you receive will typically depend on a variety of factors, including how much damage you have suffered as a result of the disease, the expenses involved in your care and treatment, how much income you have lost, and how responsible the defendant is proven to be in your case. The size of the settlement may also depend on the current political climate and the laws in the state where your lawsuit was filed, as well as previous results of settlements and trial verdicts.

When you agree to a settlement, you are effectively agreeing to forgo your right to sue in exchange for a guaranteed outcome. This is another reason why a settlement may be considered a desirable option, even though a smaller amount of compensation might be received-although juries tend to be sympathetic to the plaintiff in mesothelioma lawsuits, there is still no guarantee that the case will be decided in your favor. By agreeing to settle out of court, you are exchanging an uncertain outcome for one which is guaranteed according to the terms of the settlement.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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