To find out what you need to know about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit for your individual case, you’ll need to consult with a qualified legal professional. An experienced asbestos attorney can explain to you, in detail, what can reasonably be expected from your claim—including an approximate length of litigation and a fair settlement amount. General information about the process, including a rough timeline of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, is provided in the informational article below.
The first step in filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is finding and retaining an attorney to act as your representative. Your attorney will be the catalyst in your personal injury claim and should be chosen wisely. You will want someone with several years of asbestos-specific experience and a history of successfully representing clients with cases similar to yours.
Once you’ve signed a contract for representation with the attorney of your choice, you’ll be ready to provide all relevant information—particularly, the details of the asbestos exposure that caused your illness—related to your claim. It will be your attorney’s job to properly compile, and later present, the evidence to prove that claim. But you will be playing an invaluable role in the process by giving a thorough and comprehensive history of the circumstances surrounding your exposure, in addition to gathering and turning over necessary documentation of your medical diagnosis and condition. Your physicians will be able to supply these records to you.
The actual steps of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit are left primarily up to the legal professional whom you have hired to represent you. With the information you help provide, your lawyer will draft paperwork to be filed with the court or courts deemed most appropriate to hear your case. That paperwork will also be delivered to the party or parties named as negligent and responsible for causing your aforementioned exposure and subsequent illness. The allegedly responsible party—usually a business that produced or supplied asbestos-based materials—will then be required to enter a response with the court.
Most often, the defendant will attempt to dispute your claim, at which time your attorney will supply the documented information you have compiled together to the defendant’s attorneys directly. This process is called discovery. In turn, any evidence being collected on the other side will be provided to you through your attorney’s office.
From there, both parties in the lawsuit will either attempt to reach a settlement agreement, negotiated through their respective legal representatives, or the case will proceed to trial before either a judge or jury. In most cases, it is the former. On some occasions, however, the parties fail to come to an agreement. In this instance, your attorney will proceed to represent you in court by presenting the facts of your case, through documents—called exhibits—and the sworn testimony of yourself (sometimes, exclusively via a previously recorded deposition) and other relevant witnesses.