The average Settlement for a Mesothelioma Case
Mesothelioma settlements are filed when a family or a victim needs to get help to be able to pay for medical expenses and other burdens caused by having this type of cancer due to exposure to asbestos.
The money awarded to Mesothelioma victims regarding general and special damages usually are tax-free, as with most cases like these. Although it is generally not taxable, there may be situations that the asbestos victim will receive a form of compensation that is taxable.
The compensations may vary depending on the extent the victim was exposed or had contact with the asbestos. The average compensation amounts usually range from $750,00 up to $1 mil. As stated previously there are some cases where the victim may have taxable compensation.
According to the 2016 Mealey’s Litigation Report, the average award for trial is $2.4million while average settlement award is between $1 million to $1.4 million.
As stated previously, most settlements are not taxable, but there are situations where a settlement is taxable:
Physical injury vs. Punitive Damage
In putting things in simple terms, physical injury awards are non-taxable while punitive damage awards are always taxable. Physical injury awards follow the compassionate philosophy that this is due to the pain and suffering of a victim.
To be able to prove that a victim does have a physical injury there will be two requirements:
(1) the victim must present a provable injury or illness that is to be compensated. Being in a place in a dangerous situation without any actual physical harm does not qualify. Developing mesothelioma though meets the test on proving the victim has a physical injury.
(2) There must be a wrongful act done by the other party/ defendant’s part. In situations where the asbestos producer or companies wilfully or neglectfully allowed the victim to be exposed to the chemical also meets this test.
Punitive awards though are punishment given to the defendant and are not entitled to the plaintiff. They are not to be compensated for any loss whether it is emotional or economical. Punitive damages are considered taxable.
The Internal Revenue Service considers any form of mental anguish a part of physical injury or personal illness. Some lawsuits have compensation amounts divided for physical injury, and some are to set out to compensate for emotional distress. IRS, however, limits mental distress deductions with a caveat.
A negligent act must directly cause mental distress. If mental distress already existed before the disablement or caused the disablement, the funds given as compensations are considered taxable benefits. On the cases of Mesothelioma victims though, mental distress is present in their state ever since they have been diagnosed with the illness.
How long does it take to get a Mesothelioma settlement?
The time you get a mesothelioma settlement varies depending on the case. Experienced mesothelioma lawyers work hard to get what you want as soon as possible. Some may receive the settlement checks within just months while some may get in a year after they have filed their claim.
Who will be awarded in a wrongful death settlement?
Compensation awarded in a wrongful death settlement may be given to the estate or the surviving family members of the deceased victim of mesothelioma, depending on who filed the claim. Distribution of the money from the settlement may also vary depending upon different circumstances of the case.
What should we seek: Settlement or Verdict
The jury is unpredictable, and you may not know if they are on your side or not. Many attorneys can attest that there are no safe bets when it comes to the court trial. A jury verdict may provide the winning party a larger award while the amount that may go to an mesothelioma lawsuit may be fewer than the verdict, but at least you can guarantee that compensation will be given to the victim or their family.
Ultimately the final decision is up to the victim or the family whether they will accept the settlement offer or not. There is no magical way to tell if you must reject or accept it, and it is entirely up to you if you choose to end the case or settle with what is offered to you.
It is important to have good communication among the family members especially the victim (if still living) to reach a mutual conclusion among each other and not have regrets after the decision has been made.