What Are Legal Settlements?

In law, settlements are a type of agreement or arrangement between both parties involved that settles matters in a legal dispute and effectively ends the litigation. Usually, in settlements, prosecution of action is taken back or dismissed, with no official judgment recorded after terms are met. Another draw for settlements is that it’s generally a conclusive contract between both parties that prevent the reopening of litigation.

When litigation is sought, and a settlement is desired, both parties will produce their terms or agreements to settle the case and move on within a given time. Both parties also have the option to fulfill or ignore these terms. When one party fails to meet said conditions, the root litigation could be reopened, and further court proceedings can occur. In some cases, the suit can be withdrawn, and the legal charges removed entirely.

Settlements VS. Verdicts

There is one key difference between legal settlements and verdicts. Unlike with a settlement, a verdict involves a full court trial where the judge makes a final decision, or a verdict, on the charges brought against the opposite party. The verdict will be either “guilty” or “not guilty” on alleged charges, versus settlements where both parties come to an agreement to avoid further court proceedings and withdraw judgment.

This is an image representing a legal claim.

Filing a Legal Claim for Negligent Asbestos Exposure

Once researchers classified the mineral asbestos as a cancer-causing agent, all use and handling of it became regulated. Before researchers discovered the toxicity of asbestos, it was once heavily utilized in the construction of many building structures, tools, and materials, putting workers at risk of dangerous levels of exposure.

With current rules and regulations, building owners and managers are held responsible for ensuring the workplace is free of toxins before employees are allowed to work there. Prolonged exposure to the mineral has debilitating effects on a person’s health and can cause cancers and other diseases to develop. Lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis are the most common illnesses caused by prolonged asbestos exposure.

When an employee develops illness from dangerous levels of exposure in the workplace, they can file for legal action against the companies responsible. Some types of action a patient can pursue include filing for a personal injury claim, workers’ compensation, or exploring asbestos trust funds.

This is an image representing two parties agreeing on a lung cancer settlement.

Lung Cancer Settlement Process

If a person is diagnosed with lung cancer due to negligent asbestos exposure in the workplace, there are a few steps and processes for filing a claim that come before the actual settlements.

1) Attainment of Legal Counsel

Once a doctor diagnoses a patient with an asbestos-related illness, it’s time for the patient to seek appropriate legal counsel. An organzied attorney is best for navigating the complexities of a legal claim against another company. They will gather all pertinent information, conduct all required interviews, and represent you best as possible.

2) Collection of All Pertinent Information

Next, the lawyer must build your case. They will interview you, your doctor, employers, coworkers, and all other necessary parties to develop the most persuasive case on your behalf. The lawyer will gather all medical information about your illness and exposure, job duties, and other relevant details surrounding your claim.

3) Filing a Claim

When all of the necessary documents and information are gathered and filled out, your lawyer will submit a legal claim against the negligent parties. Now litigation can begin.

4) Request for Settlement

The opposing party can request a settlement. You can choose to accept this request or move forward with court proceedings to which an official verdict will be made by a judge.

5) Drafting of Settlement Terms

If you choose to move forward with a settlement, attornies from both parties will draft up the agreement terms and conditions which must be mutually agreed upon and acted upon.

6) Revisions

Sometimes terms cannot be settled the first time around. This is where both parties can choose to revise their terms if one party doesn’t agree.

7) Settlement Agreement Is Made

Once mutually agreeable terms are made, settlements can be approved. The judge will make everything official, and a timeline will be given for delivering on said terms.

8) Monetary Relief

The company will provide financial compensation and/or any other items or services settled on in the agreement. Once terms are completed, current litigation will cease and be ineligible for reopening.

The timeline for these processes is different for each individual case. Where in the U.S. the claim is filed also makes a difference. Your lawyer will give you a better assessment of specific timelines and payouts if a monetary agreement is reached.

Next Steps

Have you developed lung cancer or other illness due to negligent exposure to asbestos at work? Have more questions? Contact an experienced attorney for a case evaluation. They’ll gather your information and tell you how to move forward with legal action against the companies responsible for the harmful exposure.

If you decide to move forward with a case, your lawyer will do all the leg work put together a legal claim on your behalf.