Once you have been diagnosed with cancer from asbestos exposure—and sometimes even before—contacting a mesothelioma attorney is an absolute must. If you have received, or suspect that you may be at risk of soon receiving, a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may be entitled to millions of dollars in settlement funds. In fact, trusts set up to compensate asbestos-injury victims add up well into the billions. To file a claim and collect the money that you deserve, retaining a qualified attorney is key.
While it is completely understandable that finding a mesothelioma attorney is not likely your number-one priority immediately after having been diagnosed with a devastating and terminal illness, it is also important to understand that doing so is the first vital step in the path towards a settlement. Every state has its own statute of limitations, restricting the amount of time that claimants have to file after they are diagnosed. Also, because the mesothelioma life expectancy is so poor and the side effects of treatment can be so debilitating, victims are encouraged to begin the legal journey as soon as possible—thus taking advantage of the quality time they have available.
One thing that may give victims a sense of relief about the whole process is that once hired, their mesothelioma attorney can do most of the work involved in reaching a settlement on their behalf. While the claimant is required to participate in the discovery process, most likely including a videotaped deposition, the actual drafting and filing of the claim is done by his or her lawyer—as is any and all direct communication with the party or parties on the other side.
Most law firms that routinely handle mesothelioma cases are set up to work with victims who are ill and likely undergoing treatment during the course of their claim and can conduct important meetings over the phone, if necessary. Even initial consultations—usually offered free of charge—can be conducted as telephone conferences.
Most claims involving asbestos injury are resolved within 1-2 years—the same timeframe as the average life expectancy of a mesothelioma victim—and are protected by strict rules and regulations imposed on the side of the defendant,(s) thus preventing them from excessively drawing out a claim with the intention of extending a judgment beyond the claimant’s life expectancy. (Yes, defendants really do sometimes try to utilize such dirty legal maneuvers in an effort to evade responsibility.)
Additionally, you should know that if your case should happen to outlive you, your mesothelioma attorney will still work with your family or other designated, surviving loved ones to posthumously settle your claim or win at trial (depending on the ultimate outcome of the case). Thus, even if you are concerned that you will not be able to see the claim through yourself, you should absolutely still file, as your dependents will still be able to collect settlement funds on your behalf.