In the American legal environment, class-actions such as mesothelioma class-action lawsuits run rampant against large corporations that produce mass-sold products. From improperly advertised beverages to faulty electronics, consumers are willing to sue producers for just about any problem they come across if they feel they have been harmed. Many consumers of various products containing asbestos have been harmed over the years and this would lead one to believe that a mesothelioma class-action lawsuit would seem fitting for the situation.
However, the reality of mesothelioma lawsuits is that class-actions are not the common course of action. While many injured individuals are still winning and collecting against negligent companies for mesothelioma-related injuries, these have mostly been through individual lawsuits. The reasons for this will be explained throughout this article.
Mesothelioma Class Action Lawsuit Requirements
While different jurisdictions will have varying requirements for eligibility on a mesothelioma class-action lawsuit, the general guidelines for such a filing to go through is that the entire class of individuals participating in the group filing must be “similarly situated” people. The basic idea behind “similarly situated” people is that they all share similar injuries due to similar events that caused the injuries and rely on a similar legal basis for the claims being pursued.
Procedural rules will vary between jurisdictions, whether at the federal or state level, but most courtrooms will stick to the general concept of “similarly situated” people when it comes to moving forward with a mesothelioma class-action lawsuit. As such, making sure several claimants all fall under the same scenario for a lawsuit is a big reason why so many mesothelioma class-action lawsuits have failed over the years. Below are just a few of the issues with these types of cases:
Timeline for Manifestation
When it comes to mesothelioma cases, the time it takes for injuries to reveal themselves can vary quite greatly between victims. While many victims are exposed to asbestos due to the negligent behavior of others, this rare cancer that results can show up in one victim in a few years but in another victim thirty years down the road. With these injuries so stretched out over time, a lawsuit that couples these together is not simply put together. When it comes to mesothelioma class-action lawsuits, the group of victims claiming injuries often amounts to hundreds or thousands of similarly injured claimants. The likelihood of this many victims realizing mesothelioma injuries within the same time frame is quite unlikely. As such, it makes more sense for each victim to file suit separately in accordance with their unique injury timeline and the other victims to simply follow the precedence that comes before them.
Beyond the variance in injury timelines that fall upon the victims of asbestos exposure, we often see variance in the severity and types of injuries. With a mesothelioma class-action lawsuit calling for similarly situated victims, finding a large group of individuals to all suffer from the same class and scope of injuries may also be less likely. In general, individuals may experience different levels of injuries from the same exact level of exposure. On the other hand, some may experience similar injuries, but from differing levels of exposure or unique circumstances.
Even if all the members of the class believe that their timeline, surrounding facts and injuries all qualify for the classification of “similarly situated” people, it is ultimately up to the courtroom where the lawsuit is being filed to accept or reject the class-action suit. They would need to accept the claims, certify the group as a qualified class and allow the case to proceed as a collective suit. Many individuals find this aspect of a class-action suit too risky and will simply proceed through alternative methods.
How Do I Proceed with a Mesothelioma Class-Action Lawsuit?
If you are a victim of negligent asbestos exposure and were relying on a class-action suit, but are no longer interested in this legal route, you should understand that there are other options available. Whether through an individual suit, an out-of-courtroom settlement or an asbestos trust fund claim, there are other options by which a victim can recover damages. Analyzing your options and the benefits to each will help in the various roads to recovery for victims of all types of injuries, timelines and circumstances.
Consult an asbestos/mesothelioma attorney today.