Once you’ve decided to file a mesothelioma lawsuit, finding an attorney to represent you should be number on your to-do list. But for many people, one obstacle stands in the way of accomplishing that task: fear about the out-of-pocket costs that hiring a high-quality attorney is sure to entail. After all, everyone how expensive lawyers are—how can you afford one at a time like this, when your financial resources are already stretched to their limit with medical bills and other unexpected expenses?
Fortunately, mesothelioma litigation is designed to accommodate the unique circumstances of the terminally ill. To that end, lawyers who specialize in personal injury claims related to asbestos charge differently than do attorneys in many other areas of civil law.
Asbestos-specialized attorneys charge what is called a contingency fee. Quite literally, what this means is that the attorney’s payment is contingent on the outcome of the case. A contingency fee is collected as a portion of the final settlement in a mesothelioma lawsuit, meaning that your attorney will not have a running bill going for you throughout the course of litigation.
This may come as a surprise to anyone who has had experience working with attorneys in other areas of the law. For instance, anyone who has hired a family law attorney (such as in a divorce or child custody case) will know that the procedural norm includes paying a hefty retainer upfront and then being invoiced regularly as the case proceeds.
A mesothelioma lawsuit is handled differently, much to the benefit of its claimant. Once a final monetary award is paid, your asbestos attorney will collect all accumulated fees from those funds—typically at a rate of around 40 percent.
While this number may be alarming to some, it is not without consequence. Before you protest in outrage that your lawyer could walk away with almost half of your settlement money, take this fact into consideration: if you lose your case and no settlement is awarded, your attorney—having no way to recoup fees for his or her time—will also walk away with nothing.
It is important to note that although the contingency fee system is universal in asbestos-related litigation, the amount of the fee is not. Different firms will charge different fees, depending on a number of associated factors. It is also sometimes possible to negotiate the fee amount prior to signing a contract with a particular attorney. Regardless of the contingency fee amount, this number will be agreed upon long before it is collected, giving you the confidence of knowing that your legal representation is coming at a set cost that cannot be padded or inflated over the course of your mesothelioma lawsuit.
The exact amount of your settlement is dependent on many variables, primarily the degree to which fault on the defendant’s part can be proven and the degree of damages (i.e. illness and related financial loss) incurred by the victim.