If you have been afflicted with asbestos cancer, a lawyer is a key player in your post-diagnosis plan. Attorneys who work in this specialized area of personal injury law are experts in claims involving exposure to asbestos and the resulting injuries, such as mesothelioma and other cancers. By filing a claim against the company or other entities that were responsible for your asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, transportation costs related to treatment, lost wages and more.
Once you have selected and retained an asbestos cancer lawyer, he or she will help you determine who was negligent in causing your exposure. In a majority of cases involving occupational exposure, this is a former employer. In cases of exposure at home or from another structure, the responsible party may be a builder or contractor who knowingly installed the asbestos materials.
After the target of your lawsuit has been identified, your lawyer will draft the appropriate paperwork and file a claim on your behalf. Your lawyer will also arrange for the defendant to be notified via a special kind of legal messenger called a process server. The defendant—or more often, the lawyers representing that entity or individual—will then have set amount of time to enter a response with the court.
In a few instances, responsibility may be immediately acknowledged, resulting in a very quick asbestos settlement being reached.
In most cases, however, you will be required to establish and submit evidence of your claim to the other side. This is called the discovery process and usually involves your sworn, out-of-court testimony, verifying the facts of your case. That videotaped testimony is called a deposition. Your asbestos cancer attorney will be able to guide you through this important phase of the legal process and will also put in diligent work to establish sufficient documentation required to prove your claim.
Most mesothelioma claims are successfully settled out of court, with a settlement being reached between the two parties without involving a judge or jury. Your asbestos cancer lawyer will help negotiate an acceptable settlement on your behalf.
In the handful of cases that do not settle prior to the set date of trial, your attorney will represent you in court and attempt to conclusively prove your claim. Either a judge or jury will make the final decision as to whether or not your claim has been proven at trial and will then also determine the amount of compensatory damages to be awarded if you do win.
After it is all said and done, if your attorney prevails at trial or succeeds in negotiating an acceptable settlement on your behalf, he or she will then be paid for all accumulated legal services by what is called a contingency fee. This usually makes up roughly 35-40 percent of the money that you receive through your lawsuit and is paid directly to the law firm that represented you, upon closure of your case.