The best source for mesothelioma legal advice is an experienced attorney. Each mesothelioma case is unique and individual, making general legal guidance minimally useful to each potential claimant.
Most firms that specialize in mesothelioma cases offer free initial consultations, which give the prospective client an opportunity to speak directly about his or her case with a qualified asbestos attorney. Only by giving the details of your specific illness and history of asbestos exposure can you truly gain valuable insight about how your case might shape up and what you could reasonably expect from a possible claim’s outcome (including a feasible settlement amount).
Answers to come common questions about mesothelioma legal issues are included below, however, to give you some general insight into the asbestos claim process, as well as civil law procedures and norms, in general. Again, this information is not intended to replace the individual legal advice and counsel of a qualified mesothelioma lawyer.
1. How long does the claims process take, from start to finish?
It is difficult to predict the exact timeline of the claims process, but most mesothelioma cases average about one year in total length—from the time the suit is initially filed to the time of the ultimate settlement agreement. If your case proceeds to trial, it is not unlikely that the time span will stretch longer.
2. If I am filing a lawsuit, that means I am suing somebody—who is that somebody going to be exactly?
Your attorney will help you determine who the defendant in your case will be. Most likely, the identified liable party will be a business entity that manufactured the asbestos products to which you were exposed. Workers’ Compensation Laws prohibit most claims against former employers, and individuals are never named as defendants in asbestos injury cases. In fact, most of the time, the business that you are suing will already be bankrupt by the time of the suit, and all legal action against it will be deferred to a trust fund established in the company’s name.
3. How much will I owe in attorney’s fees and how can I pay if I don’t have the money right now?
Representation for cases involving mesothelioma and other types of asbestos injury claims are contracted on what is called a contingency basis. What this means, in essence, is that the payment of your attorney’s legal fees is contingent upon his or her ability to successfully negotiate a settlement or secure compensatory damages at trial.
For this reason, most mesothelioma legal professionals are just as careful in selecting their clients as clients are in selecting them. No attorney wants to take on a case that he or she is not confident in his or her ability to prove. If you do not win at trial or receive a favorable settlement, your attorney does not get paid—a risk that most competent lawyers are not willing to take.