If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you may be entitled to recover substantial compensation from the companies that wrongfully exposed you to asbestos. An asbestos attorney at The Lanier Law Firm can help you file a mesothelioma lawsuit so that you can recover the full amount to which you are entitled.
Mesothelioma lawsuits provide a means to hold large corporations that mined and used asbestos actively concealed its dangers while they knowingly exposed workers and the general public to asbestos and asbestos-containing products accountable for their wrongdoing.
Mesothelioma is a deadly, aggressive cancer that afflicts people who have been exposed to asbestos. According to the most recent statistics by the CDC, 2,911 patients faced this diagnosis for the first time in 2019. During the same year, 2,442 mesothelioma patients died. These numbers do not include the thousands of cases of other asbestos-related illnesses.
The attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm have the skills, experience and dedication to successfully stand up to these corporations and get justice for their victims.
Why should I file a mesothelioma lawsuit?
Mesothelioma is preventable. Taking legal action against the companies responsible for exposing millions of people to asbestos with no regard for their safety holds these companies accountable for their wrongdoing. Mesothelioma lawsuits provide plaintiffs and their families with a sense of justice while deterring corporations from continuing to promote harmful products.
Compensation from a mesothelioma claim cannot restore health or bring back a lost loved one, but it can help a mesothelioma patient access the highest quality health care available. It can also provide long-term financial security for people with mesothelioma and their families.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Mesothelioma lawsuits fall into two categories: personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
A personal injury lawsuit is filed by an individual who has contracted an asbestos-related illness. The damages that may be recoverable include economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
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Economic damages are verifiable monetary losses that stem from the illness. These types of damages include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Lost business opportunities
Non-economic damages are losses to your quality of life and other intangible losses that cannot be measured quantitatively, including the following:
- Loss of normal life activities
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (husbands and wives)
- Loss of society
Punitive damages are awarded as a punishment against the defendant whose conduct was especially egregious. Punitive damages are not available in all jurisdictions.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death occurs when a wrongful act or omission results in death. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a personal representative, executor of an estate or an immediate family member of someone who has tragically passed away. Each state regulates eligibility for filing a wrongful death case.
Wrongful death cases are handled similarly to personal injury cases, except that the available compensation varies.
Economic Damages for Wrongful Death
Economic damages in a wrongful death case include the following:
- Medical expenses of the deceased
- Pecuniary losses, such as the decedent’s projected lifetime earnings
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
Non-Economic Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Non-economic damages in a wrongful death case include losses suffered by the deceased and by the family.
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of support
- Grief of the family
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
Punitive Damages for Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claims
Punitive damages in wrongful death cases are generally awarded when punitive damages would have been available to the deceased had they lived, but this varies by jurisdiction.
Who can I sue in a mesothelioma lawsuit?
The defendant in a mesothelioma lawsuit is generally the entity that caused or contributed to your asbestos exposure. The mesothelioma lawyers at The Lanier Law Firm perform a detailed investigation into our clients’ exposure histories. In many cases, we find multiple sources of exposure, which can include any combination of the following:
- Mining companies
- Manufacturers of asbestos products
Are any responsible parties exempt from mesothelioma lawsuits?
There are a few entities that are exempt from mesothelioma lawsuits.
If your mesothelioma exposure occurred during your military service, you cannot sue the military. However, you may have a case against the manufacturers and distributors that supplied asbestos-containing materials to the military. You may also be eligible to file a claim for free VA health care and VA disability compensation.
Several companies reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy when they became overwhelmed by their asbestos-related liabilities. These companies were required to establish trust funds to ensure mesothelioma victims receive compensation.
If you were exposed to asbestos through the fault of these companies, you can file a trust fund claim, but these companies are exempt from asbestos lawsuits under bankruptcy protection laws.
Employers Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance policy that protects employers from liability for occupational injuries and illnesses. If your employer’s workers’ compensation policy covers your asbestos-related illnesses, you cannot file a lawsuit against the employer. However, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim for free medical care, partial wage benefits and death benefits.
The Process of Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Mesothelioma lawsuits follow a process that requires meticulous attention to detail during each step. Mesothelioma defendants are generally large companies with experienced lawyers who are paid substantial retainer fees to derail your case.
The experienced, specialized mesothelioma attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm are well-prepared to thwart these attempts and keep your case moving forward.
The case investigation occurs prior to formally filing your lawsuit. This investigation must be thorough to ensure that all sources of exposure are identified and that the legal team is able to anticipate the liable parties’ defense.
Many of our clients are shocked by their diagnosis because they were unaware of having been exposed to asbestos.
According to Mark Lanier, your legal team will walk you through potential exposure in all areas of your life and work.
“We walk through meticulous details — not just work history, but living history because many of the chores you do around the house might have exposed you to asbestos.”
In addition to our comprehensive database, we rely on private investigators to find secret and public documents and other data that will help us prove your case. We work closely with each client to ensure we have a complete testimony on their behalf. The investigation may take significant time, but it is key to maximizing compensation.
As soon as we have all the information we need to build the strongest case possible, we file your case in the jurisdiction that best serves your interests. Once your case is filed, the defendant must be served a copy of the petition. If multiple defendants have been identified, all must be served before the next step can commence.
“Frequently, when we’re contacted about a potential mesothelioma case, we’re asked, “Where will the lawsuit be filed if one is filed?” The law across the country dictates where lawsuits can be filed. After we have done a thorough investigation of the client’s exposure history, all the different ways and places in which the person was exposed to asbestos, then we try to make the best choice for the client. And that usually is either in the state where one of the responsible parties is headquartered or lives or where the exposure to the asbestos occurred. But the bottom line is that decision is made in conjunction with the client and is frequently dictated because of the laws of venue and jurisdiction on things such as where a defendant is located or where the exposure occurred.” – Sam Taylor
Response by the Defendant
The defendant has a right to file a response upon being served. Asbestos defendants are not generally amenable to paying compensation and can be expected to resort to several tactics to minimize compensation or avoid paying it altogether.
Motions to Dismiss
Large corporations responsible for harming people almost routinely move to dismiss cases based on groundless procedural claims, including but not limited to the following:
- Challenges to the selected venue
- Claims that the statute of limitations has expired
- Any technicality they can find
In most cases, defendants are aware that these motions will be denied. Filing frivolous motions is a stall tactic, which large corporations use in hopes that you will die or give up before your case resolves. Our experienced mesothelioma attorneys are skilled at thwarting these tactics and ensuring your case moves forward expeditiously.
Asbestos company executives are more committed to keeping their money in their pockets than doing the right thing. As a result, they will do their best to shift the responsibility elsewhere, even onto the victims themselves. Therefore, our attorneys are well-prepared for companies to resort to the following:
- Claims that your asbestos-related illness is your fault
- Claims that your genetics are to blame for your mesothelioma
- Claims that someone else is liable
Eventually, the judge will make a ruling that will require the case to move forward. At this point, the case moves to the discovery phase.
During the discovery process, plaintiffs have the opportunity to force defendants to provide additional evidence, according to Cornell Law School. This process also gives defendants the right to obtain information that can help their own case.
Cornell Law School defines a deposition as a “witness’ sworn out-of-court testimony.” Depositions are usually given orally while the only parties present are the deponent, the lawyers and a person authorized to administer oaths. While testimony given during a deposition is not generally admissible in court, it can be used against you.
The primary motivation for conducting a deposition is most often to gather information to determine whether the case should settle.
After the discovery process is complete, settlement negotiations begin. Some companies may quickly offer a settlement early in the case before the discovery process is completed, but these early settlements tend to fall short of reasonable compensation, given the circumstances.
Defendants who recognize their responsibility are more likely to offer fair and reasonable settlements. Our lawyers recommend that our clients accept these settlements, but the decision always rests with the client. If you want to take your case to trial, our law firm is well-prepared to do so.
About 90 to 95 percent of mesothelioma cases settle nationally. This number may be a little higher with The Lanier Law Firm because of its reputation.
“Quite candidly, a lot of folks do not want to go to trial against The Lanier Law Firm,” Mark Lanier explains in a video on the firm’s YouTube channel.
If your case settles, it will not go to trial.
During the trial, both sides present witnesses and oral arguments before a judge or jury, usually a jury. The litigation skills of your attorney are crucial for a successful outcome at trial. Defendants’ attorneys will set out to prevent crucial evidence from being presented, discredit expert witnesses and change the narrative to make the defendant appear to be the victim.
While many law firms urge clients to settle because they are not confident they can win at trial, The Lanier Law Firm has a long track record of success and a reputation that makes defendants afraid to face us at trial. Our attorneys have received such accolades as the following:
- Most Impressive Plaintiff Verdict
- Trial Lawyer of the Year (Mark Lanier)
- Elite Trial Lawyers Award (Mark Lanier)
During the trial, each side will offer opening arguments, present witnesses, cross-examine witnesses and present closing arguments. The jury then issues a verdict in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant. As it becomes clear that the plaintiff has a strong case that seems to be convincing the judge or jury, the defendant may offer a settlement before the trial concludes.
“Oftentimes, the client will come to us, and one of their first questions is, what are they going to have to do? Are they going to have to sit for a deposition? Do they have to go to trial? And it always depends on the strategies or the end goals for the client. Oftentimes that does involve a deposition. But if the client is unable to or unwilling to sit for a deposition, there are other ways that we can prove, or at least try to prove their case, whether it’s through other witnesses or documents, things like that. When a client comes to us and is really concerned about the prospect of a trial or the prospect of sitting for a deposition, we work with them on what approaching the case in a way that is best for them and their situation and their appetite for things like depositions and trials.” – Darron Berquist
The resolution is the outcome of the case, which can occur in the form of a settlement agreement or a post-verdict award.
If your case has settled, the documents are finalized, and your case moves to the recovery stage. If you won at trial, there remains a possibility that the defendant will appeal. In these cases, recovery of compensation is delayed. An appellate judge can reverse the verdict, uphold the verdict or order a new trial.
Appeals will generally continue until a higher court refuses to hear the case or, in extremely rare cases, the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling. After appeals are exhausted, the recovery process can begin.
During the recovery process, mesothelioma attorneys collect the proceeds from the defendants and disburse them. If your medical providers have imposed liens against your settlement, these are paid prior to disbursement. The attorney recovers attorney fees, and the remaining funds are disbursed to the plaintiffs.
In wrongful death cases, the proceeds must be disbursed according to state wrongful death statutes and intestacy (dying without a will) laws.
How long does the process take?
Some mesothelioma lawsuits can be settled within a year, but cases that go to trial may take longer. The time frame depends on where the case is filed, the facts of the case, the exposures and the client’s goals.
“Every client’s situation is different. The time that it takes to pursue the lawsuit and resolve it can depend on a number of factors. Where the case is filed, the client’s appetite for litigation, frankly. And so what we do at The Lanier Law Firm is work closely with our client to determine what their goals are for their particular case, and that’s what drives, largely, how long it might take to resolve their case. There are certain cases that can be resolved within a year, while there are others that might take more than a year. But it really just depends on the facts and circumstances of the case, of the exposures, and the client’s end goals for the case.” – Darron Berquist
What happens if the plaintiff dies before the case is resolved?
Sam Taylor, managing attorney of the asbestos litigation section in the Houston office, explains that two things happen if a plaintiff dies after a lawsuit is filed.
“The lawsuit continues to conclusion. A personal representative of the deceased plaintiff’s estate is appointed — usually by a probate court that is handling the administration of the person’s will or estate — and that personal representative proceeds with the lawsuit on behalf of the estate. Settlements or recoveries from the lawsuit are then paid to the estate.
In most cases, while the plaintiff is still alive the only persons who have claims are the husband or wife. Once the plaintiff dies, other family members, such as the children of the deceased plaintiff, may then have a claim or cause of action for the wrongful death of the plaintiff. Those family members may then join the existing lawsuit and assert their claims for the wrongful death of their loved one,” says Mr. Taylor.
“Frequently, we are called or approached by potential clients who have had a family member diagnosed with me mesothelioma and pass away before a lawsuit is filed. So they ask us, ‘Is it too late for us to make a claim?’ And the answer is, ‘No, it’s not.’ There are a couple of different types of causes of action that can be brought, one is a survival action. So that means that the person who passed away has a cause of action even though the person passed away, and it survives his death or her death. And a state rep can bring that cause of action or a family member, and then the spouse and children and loved ones also have wrongful death causes of action, which also can be asserted after the person passes away.” – Sam Taylor
What is the deadline for filing an asbestos mesothelioma lawsuit?
Every state has a separate deadline for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. This deadline ranges between one to four years in most states, and the clock starts running on the date of diagnosis. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after diagnosis to ensure you do not miss your opportunity to file a lawsuit.
Where will my case be tried?
The laws of jurisdiction dictate where cases can be tried, but The Lanier Law Firm can ensure that your case is filed in the jurisdiction that will serve your best interests. Factors that influence the jurisdiction include the following:
- The statute of limitations
- Where you live
- Where the exposure occurred
- Where the company is headquartered
Will I have to travel?
The attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm will never ask you to travel to us, especially when you are in poor health. No matter where you live in the country, our attorneys will happily come to you.
If your case goes to trial, you may be required to be present in court to the extent that your health allows. However, it is always your choice whether to go to trial, and we may be able to have the case tried in a venue that is convenient for you.
What is the average mesothelioma lawsuit settlement?
There is no such thing as an average case. According to Taylor, “Case values vary drastically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and state to state. Values can range from zero to eight figures, depending on where the case occurs. Because of the different laws in each state, as well as other factors, a case in one state may have little or no value, and the same case might be worth much more in another state.”
Why should I choose The Lanier Law Firm to represent me in my mesothelioma case?
Our law firm has been handling mesothelioma cases for 25 years. During this time, we have built an extensive network that includes the best experts in the country. Our experience has also opened our eyes to the devastation that asbestos-related illnesses bring upon people and their families.
As a result, the firm truly cares for its mesothelioma clients. Mr. Taylor, Mr. Lanier, and the rest of the attorneys and staff at the firm have, in Taylor’s own words, “a common compassion for these people who are stricken with mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to asbestos through no fault of their own.”
The primary test of a great law firm is whether it has a consistent track record of results that benefit clients. Our law firm has won nearly $20 billion in verdicts for deserving clients facing some of the most devastating circumstances of their lives.
Actual Case Results for Our Asbestos Clients
- $1.975 million for the family of a woman who passed away after being exposed to asbestos brought home on her husband’s work clothes
- $1.8 million for the family of a truck driver whose death was precipitated by asbestos exposure to asbestos at work
- $450,000 for the family of a deceased woman exposed to asbestos-laden baby powder
- $4.69 billion verdict in the first trial that linked ovarian cancer to baby powder
- $115 million on behalf of 21 steelworkers exposed to asbestos at an Alabama steel mill
- Undisclosed verdict against the large industrial manufacturer John Crane Inc. for a retired pipefitter who contracted mesothelioma due to occupational exposure
Our Mesothelioma Attorneys
According to Mark Lanier, a great mesothelioma lawyer is like a three-legged stool. If one leg is missing, the stool will not stand. The three legs of a great mesothelioma lawyer are as follows:
- Personal involvement
- Trial skills
The 23 award-winning asbestos attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm have a fierce dedication to personal involvement and decades of experience.
W. Mark Lanier
Mark Lanier is consistently recognized as one of the top civil litigation attorneys in the country. He regularly appears on news and business programs for his expertise and mentors other lawyers through his trial academy. He is well-known for his work ethic, ability to connect with juries, technological savvy, faith, photographic memory and creativity in the courtroom.
His most notable accolades include the following:
- Recipient of the prestigious Keith Givens Visionary Award by The National Law Journal and American Lawyer Media
- Most Influential Attorneys of the Decade by The National Law Journal
- One of the 25 Greatest Lawyers of the Past Quarter Century by Texas Lawyer
- Recipient of the American Association of Justice’s Lifetime Achievement Award
Mark Lanier is the founder of The Lanier Law Firm and has won some of the largest asbestos verdicts in history.
Sam E. Taylor II
Sam E. Taylor II is the managing attorney of the asbestos litigation section in The Lanier Law Firm’s Houston office. He has over 30 years of experience in the state and federal courts, which includes over 50 civil jury trials. He is an accomplished attorney whose dedication has led his clients to review him as follows:
“I can’t recommend a greater firm than The Lanier Law Firm! All members are fantastic and will work tirelessly to get the result you want. Sam Taylor is very knowledgeable and does excellent work in his field, so you’ll know you’re getting the best with him.” – Owen Meaney via Google Reviews
“The Lanier Law Firm has handled my father’s case with professionalism and compassion. Sam and Austin connected with Dad immediately, and he always felt as if old friends were calling/visiting. We appreciate the stellar job they have done on our case.” – Heidi Landry via Google Reviews
Mr. Taylor has received the following recognition from his peers:
- Texas Super Lawyer since 2008
- Top Attorneys in Texas
- AV Preeminent Rating at Martindale-Hubbell for 19 years
- Nominated and selected as a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
Darron E. Berquist
Darron E. Berquist is the managing attorney of the asbestos practice in New York. Prior to joining The Lanier Law Firm in 2012, Mr. Berquist represented clients with asbestos-related diseases as an associate at one of New Jersey’s largest and most successful law firms.
Mr. Berquist was a member of the pre-trial team in Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson on behalf of 22 women, which ended in a $4.69 billion verdict. His dedication and consistent successful verdicts and settlements for clients have won him the following accolades:
- Best Lawyers in America since 2021
- New York Rising Stars since 2014
Maura Kolb manages the asbestos resolution team that collects millions of dollars for clients every year. She joined the law firm in 2003 after working with the firm on complex business and personal injury matters, wherein her innovative and compassionate approach won her a permanent position with the firm.
Ms. Kolb sits on numerous national asbestos trust advisory committees and works in various bankruptcy courts on high-profile asbestos bankruptcy cases.
Case A. Dam
Case A. Dam is a fervent advocate of asbestos victims with extensive experience representing asbestos clients who are military veterans, doctors, laborers and secondary exposure victims. He is a skilled and passionate litigator with several successful verdicts and appellate wins. He travels throughout the United States, counseling clients and has performed extensive research into the asbestos industry.
Mark A. Linder
Mark A. Linder is experienced in all phases of trial and appellate matters. He has extensive experience representing asbestos plaintiffs in state and federal courts throughout the country. He has successfully represented cases with unconventional asbestos exposure histories, including HVAC technicians, paint mixers, industrial talc workers and secondary exposure victims.
Christopher Phipps works in the bankruptcy department for the asbestos and toxic exposure group at The Lanier Law Firm’s Houston office. He has worked with the EPA in the Air Enforcement Division of the Office of Civil Enforcement in Washington, DC, where he conducted regulatory research to draft enforcement decisions and participated in settlement negotiations.
This experience has made him an insightful advocate who is well-equipped to navigate the bankruptcy code and construct resourceful, innovative arguments on behalf of clients.
How much does it cost to hire a mesothelioma attorney?
At The Lanier Law Firm, we believe in leveling the playing field for people who have been affected by the negligence of large corporations. One of the ways we accomplish this is by offering our services on a contingency fee basis, which ensures our services are accessible to anyone who has been injured. Our clients do not pay us unless and until we recover compensation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Asbestos Lawyer Today
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, or if your loved one has succumbed to an asbestos-related condition, you have a short window of time to file a civil lawsuit against the large corporations whose egregious conduct is to blame.
Contact us today to schedule a case review with one of our asbestos attorneys.
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