This four-part series is designed to introduce non-legal-professionals to the complex and complicated world of asbestos litigation. Topics covered will include applicable legal terms, sources and methods of compensation, how to choose an attorney and what to expect from a settlement.
“Mesothelioma legal jargon” describes the industry-specific terminology that governs the complex world of asbestos litigation. Anyone who is not an attorney and has no first-hand experience in mesothelioma compensation is not likely to be well equipped for speaking and understanding this language. Fortunately, learning some of the most common litigation-related terms is fairly easy. Below, you will find definitions for seven of the most common words used by legal professionals and other key players in the asbestos-driven world.
Seven Terms for Mesothelioma Legal Claimants to Know
Claimant – A claimant is the person filing a claim of personal injury, related to asbestos-related medical conditions. This individual, through the representation of a qualified attorney, files an official lawsuit with the court or courts of their choosing, effectively bringing a complaint of negligence against the party or parties responsible for his or her injury.
Defendant – A defendant is the individual or entity on the other side of the lawsuit; in other words—the alleged responsible party (or parties). In asbestos claims, this individual is usually a company that installed or manufactured asbestos products.
Asbestos settlement – The settlement in an asbestos case represents an amount agreed upon by both sides as an acceptable sum to be paid out by the defendant as compensation for injuries sustained by the claimant.
Trust – Most settlements paid out through mesothelioma legal recourse now come from trusts, or funds set up by now-bankrupt companies to pay future claimants.
Discovery – Discovery is the process in a civil case, during which both sides are required to produce records and information pertaining to the case and expected to be used at trial. In an asbestos-related case, examples might include doctors’ or medical records and employment history of the claimant. Financial records are also commonly included in a discovery request, and in asbestos litigation specifically—a deposition is also usually involved.
Litigation – Literally translated, “the process of taking legal action.” In the mesothelioma legal world, the process of filing a claim or lawsuit and effectively suing a negligent person or entity for injuries suffered as a result of asbestos exposure. This road term is used commonly to describe the wide-reaching aspects of general legal proceedings.
Trial – The official presentation of evidence, before either a judge or jury, by both the claimant and the defendant (or more accurately, their respective attorneys). In a trial, the judge or jury makes the ultimate decision regarding compensation to the claimant, based on arguments observed in the courtroom.