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Pursuing an Individual Lawsuit vs a Class Action for my Mesothelioma Case

If you or a loved were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact a mesothelioma lawyer immediately and consider your legal options for compensation.   Most cases of mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, are the direct result of negligence by an employer.  Before federal regulations were established in the late 1970s restricting the use of asbestos, a mineral lauded for its fire-proofing and insulating capabilities, asbestos was commonly used in construction, manufacturing, and within the military.   Many employers were aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure long before the public, making them negligent in employees’ safety.

With the emergence of mesothelioma diagnoses, employees began to file lawsuits against the companies responsible.  In the 1960s, many turned to class action lawsuits, which are lawsuits filed by a group of people, represented by one member, against the defendant liable for similar injuries or damages.  A decade later, individual mesothelioma lawsuits gained popularity, as more success for compensation was realized with each case’s unique circumstances.  

Individual Mesothelioma Lawsuits Favored Based on Four Circumstances

Today, individual mesothelioma lawsuits remain the favored avenue of legal action by mesothelioma lawyers and their clients due to four circumstances:  source of exposure, number of exposures, time of diagnosis and settlement amounts.

Source of Exposure

With a class action lawsuit, the group filing the claim must share similar injuries and damages caused by similar exposures, for the lawsuit to even become class action.  Due to the multitude of occupations that were exposed to asbestos prior to the 1970s, all cases of mesothelioma cannot be neatly categorized into one common source of exposure.   In addition, some cases of mesothelioma are the result of second hand exposure from asbestos fibers remaining on clothing and hair of someone in the same household.   Therefore, it is more beneficial for the mesothelioma patient to file a lawsuit based on their individual case.

Number of Exposures

Many mesothelioma patients suffered multiple exposures while on the job.  With the prevalence of asbestos in various industries, an employee working in one location, but traveling to another would be exposed multiple times.  With a class action lawsuit, typically, only one type of exposure is addressed.  By filing an individual lawsuit, it is possible for multiple defendants to be liable for your exposures.  

Time of Diagnosis

Due to the long latency period, mesothelioma is diagnosed 20-50 years after exposure, mesothelioma patients do not have the luxury of time.  Often, symptoms of the disease do not appear until the later stages of the illness.  Therefore, time is of the essence when filing a lawsuit.  Mesothelioma patients do not have years to wait for a class action lawsuit to go through the court system.  Hiring a mesothelioma lawyer to focus on one individual’s case will expedite the process. 

Settlement Amounts

Generally, compensation won for class action suits are distributed evenly among all of the plaintiffs in the class.  With an individual mesothelioma lawsuit, your compensation is based on you and your individual situation, such as age, medical expenses, lost wages and emotional toll on you and your family.

Experienced mesothelioma lawyers are focused on helping you relieve some of the burden caused by an asbestos-related illness.  They have the resources and knowledge to fight for the compensation that you deserve in a reasonable amount of time.

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