What Do You Need To Know In Order To Find A MesotheliomaAttorney To Handle Your Case?
You could go onto the internet and query "Attorneys". The results would be pages and pages of general purpose attorneys. You could narrow the search by specifying "Mesothelioma Attorneys". You would still get back several pages of attorneys that you would need to pare down to just those in your area. But even though this approach may give you a manageable list of attorneys to contact, you don't yet have any way to judge the attorney's ability to represent your case.
A better approach would be to go onto the Mesothelioma blogs (such as ours) and ask for a recommendation from the community based on the circumstances of your situation. This might produce a recommendation from a person who was successful in their law suite. It might also produce a list of attorneys not to use because of the poor job that they did in representing their client. Such a negative recommendation could save the patient and their family a lot of grief.
But even if you do get a positive recommendation from the Mesothelioma community, or if you pick an attorney at random from a list that you queried, you still need criteria to judge that attorney or law firm against to determine if they would be a good choice for you.
Criteria For Choosing A Mesothelioma Attorney Or A Law Firm
First, the Mesothelioma Attorney or law firm must specialize in Mesothelioma cases. You want someone who has handled a large number of similar cases. You don't want to be paying for a Mesothelioma Attorney just to discover that the attorney is just now learning about what Mesothelioma is.
Secondly, you want the Mesothelioma Attorney or law firm to have enough staff to handle the legal process and all of the steps that it takes to win your case.
Thirdly, you want a law firm that will clearly explain to you and your family what the process of bringing a law suite will entail, how long it will take and what the costs will be. The law firm should be willing to take the client step by step, though the process from the beginning all the way through to the judgment or settlement.
If the Mesothelioma Attorney can not sit down with the client and explain the process and tell the client what to expect, then the client should choose another attorney or law firm.
What Is The Process?
The law firm should go through and explain the costs associated with pursuing your case. They should explain if your case should be handled as an individual case or as part of a class action (some law firms only handle individual cases.) The attorney or law firm should explain if they work on a contingency fee (where the attorney gets a percentage of the award) and how much that percentage is. If there are any additional fees that are not handled in the contingency fees, they should be revealed up front.
Steps In The Process
One of the critical questions that a doctor will ask in the process of diagnosing Mesothelioma, is where and when you were exposed to asbestoses. The answer to this question is also critical to the attorney for investigating the claim and for assigning responsibility for damages due to that exposure. The doctor's diagnosis and treatment plan is also key in determining compensation sufficient to cover the cost of that treatment.
The law firm will need to have investigators research the potential sources of the asbestos exposure that may have occurred long ago in the patients past. The investigators will also research the exposure sites and products, the manufacturers, the distributors and sellers of the asbestoses materials and products responsible for the exposure to asbestoses.
The Filing Of The Law Suit
When the investigators finish compiling their information, the law firm will be in a position to file a suit and a claim for damages against the parties responsible for the client's exposure to asbestoses. The law suit may be against just one party or it may be against multiple parties in a chain of responsibility for the exposure. The defendants named will have a prescribed period of time to file a formal answer to the law suit. At this point a process called "discovery" will begin.
Soon after the filing of the law suit the law firm will schedule a client's deposition in which the client will have an opportunity to provide sworn testimony concerning the merits of the case. This testimony might include the patient's medical condition, the circumstances of the asbestoses exposure and the damages suffered. Both the patient's attorney and the attorney for the defense will have an opportunity to ask questions during the process.
The law firm should have experts in asbestos disease available to them to consult with. These would be people expert in treatment and causes of Mesothelioma. Additionally the law firm should consult with the patient's doctors or clinics concerning the patient's care and treatment as well as the medical bills and expenses.
Trial or Settlement?
At some point the case will either go to trial or a settlement will be agreed to. If a settlement is reached the process ends at that point.
If no settlement can be agreed upon a date for the trial will be set. Once the date is set the trial may typically last from two to four weeks at the end of which a judgment will be entered.
Should either the client or the defendant not accept the judgment they have the right to appeal. The law firm the patient chooses should include the appeals process as part of the agreement.
Bankruptcy Trust Claims
Many of the companies responsible for damages from people exposed to asbestos due to their manufacturing and/or distribution of their products containing asbestos have set up Bankruptcy Trust Companies. Basically these are trusts set up to pay damage claims. A judgment against the company being sued comes out of these trusts rather than out of the companies operational funds. Because it is a trust, damages can be limited.
The Mesothelioma Attorney or law firm that the patient chooses should also handle a situation where the judgment goes against such a trust as well.