Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit offers victims of asbestos-related negligence their best opportunity to recover some of the losses incurred as a result of the disease and collect compensatory damages for the suffering inflicted on themselves and their loved ones. While it may sound intimidating, the claim-filing process is actually relatively straightforward. Additionally, civil courts that routinely hear asbestos cases have procedures in place that are designed to both streamline and expedite that process.
The four basic steps below outline what actions you will generally need to take, in the appropriate order, to file a personal injury claim pertaining to asbestos:
Step 1: Locate and retain an attorney
Litigation relating to asbestos and mesothelioma is a very active expert field of civil law. It will not be difficult to find law firms that are exclusively dedicated to cases such as yours, but you should still spend some time researching to make sure you are hiring a firm of top quality and considerable experience.
Step 2: File a claim in the appropriate court(s)
Your attorney will be responsible for drafting and filing a mesothelioma lawsuit on your behalf, after helping you to determine which court or courts are best suited to hear your case. Once the proper documents have been filed, the defendant in your case—whomever you have determined the responsible party to be, usually a business or corporation—will be notified of the suit and given a chance to respond.
Step 3: Provide all necessary proof of injury and liability
Once the defendant has entered a response, both parties engage in the discovery process—designed to facilitate the collection of evidence according to guidelines that maintain transparency and ensure adequate trial preparation. Before discovery commences and even before filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, you can start getting ready by compiling all documents in your possession relating to your mesothelioma diagnosis, as well as the circumstances under which you came into contact with asbestos. You should also expect to be deposed, or questioned under oath, by the attorney for the other side. A deposition is typically prearranged in order to verify the verbal evidence behind your case.
Step 4: Negotiate a settlement or go to trial
Most of the time, the defendant admits some degree of liability before the case ever advances to trial and chooses to simply pay out an asbestos settlement, thus saving time and lost legal expenses. The exact amount of the settlement will depend on many factors, not the least of which is the negotiating skill of your lawyer. He or she will be the one to correspond directly with the defendant’s legal team and should be aggressive in protecting your interests. You can get an idea of how much you could receive by getting an estimate of this figure from your attorney before even filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Finally, in rare cases where no settlement can be reached, the case will go to trial, with a final judgment being handed down and enforced by the court.