Victims of mesothelioma and other related illnesses do have options for legal recourse, by filing an asbestos lawsuit. To get personalized information about the process and an evaluation of your case, you should contact an experienced and qualified attorney who specializes in toxic tort cases.
But for some basic info now, please refer to the following section of FAQs:
Question: How do I know who will be on the receiving end of my lawsuit?
The usual defendants in asbestos-injury cases are businesses that manufactured or sold asbestos-containing materials. In many cases, the company itself has already filed for bankruptcy (an economical consequence of high-volume mesothelioma litigation over the past two decades). In such instances, the lawsuit is filed against what is called an asbestos trust fund-established by the liquidated assets of those now-defunct businesses at the time they filed in bankruptcy court.
Your lawyer will help you determine who the defendant(s) will be and then draft and file all of the necessary documents with the court(s) deemed best for hearing your case. He or she will also be responsible for compiling evidence to prove negligence on the part of the defendant(s) in causing your past exposure to asbestos and resulting illness.
Question: What is the timeframe for filing an asbestos lawsuit?
You should look to begin the process of filing a claim just as soon as possible after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or another related condition. There are strictly enforced deadlines for taking legal action in cases of asbestos injury that vary from one state to the next. Find out what the statute of limitations is in your state of residence. Usually, you’ll have between one and five years after the date of diagnosis. (Though, you should certainly file ASAP to ensure that you receive compensation quickly, assuming your claim is successful.)
Once filed, asbestos-injury claims usually take anywhere from several months to over a year to reach conclusion. The primary determining factor in how long your case lasts is whether you ultimately settle out of court or end up going to trial.
Question: How much will it cost me to hire an attorney for my asbestos claim?
Unlike attorneys in many other areas of law, an asbestos cancer attorney will not require a retainer fee and will not bill you during the course of your suit. Instead, he or she will charge what is called a contingency fee. This means is that the payment of legal fees is contingent upon the outcome of your case. In other words, if you do not receive a settlement or trial award, you will not be expected to pay any attorney’s fees.
Assuming that you do receive compensatory damages, the contingency fee is collected from those funds at a pre-determined percentage rate. The average contingency fee for asbestos cases is around 40 percent. You and your attorney will sign a representation agreement-before your asbestos lawsuit is even filed-that outlines the stipulations and amount of the contingency fee, among other important details.