When a case goes through to verdict, the losing party or parties usually appeal. This means that the final outcome of the trial can be delayed for many months or even years.
When each defendant settles, the plaintiff and family members have to sign a release. This document releases that defendant from further responsibility in the matter – meaning that the plaintiff cannot sue them again for the same thing.
There is also the question of how to distribute the money. It has to be divided, or apportioned, between the injured person and his/her dependents. One of the first requests we make to a new client is to sit down with an attorney who handles wills, estates and probate matters, and to review their entire estate plan or create a new one. Having a current, clear and accurate picture of one’s property – including the potential value of the pending asbestos lawsuit – goes a long way towards making the settlement and money distribution process a smooth one. Once all the parties have signed the release document, payment is usually made within three months. (Read more about personal matters during a lawsuit.)
Unfortunately, if the client dies before we have resolved the case, we have to put the personal injury case on hold while we file a wrongful death case. Then we consolidate the cases, and pick up the process of discovery, trial preparation and settlement negotiation where we left off.
In summary, there is no rigid formula for a mesothelioma case and we could probably find an exception to everything that you’ve just read. These are complex cases, but we have a great deal of experience bringing them, successfully, to settlement or verdict. We keep in close contact with our clients and potential clients, and are always available to answer questions and give an update on the case.