Mesothelioma and Asbestos Lawyers

Mesothelioma attorneys understand asbestos legal issues and the unique challenges asbestos victims face. We offer information on what to expect when working with a mesothelioma lawyer, as well as help finding a qualified mesothelioma attorney for your case.

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Successful asbestos ligation requires an attorney who understands the many facets of the case, from how people get exposed to asbestos to the state-by-state regulations about filing lawsuits, to the fragile nature of many clients. Often, people who inquire about an asbestos-related claim are people who are also coping with mesothelioma cancer and all the health issues that go along with treatment.

Choosing a lawyer to represent you in depositions and in legal filings can be as important to your family’s future as selecting the right doctor. If were you exposed to asbestos and you tim got sick as a result, you have a right to stake a claim for compensation.

The dangers and toxicity of asbestos were well-known in the 1930s, yet corporations continued using it extensively through much of the 20th century. They willingly put profits ahead of the health and well-being of employees and the public. An experienced asbestos lawyer will know how to hold those corporations responsible.

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Tips for Finding an Asbestos Litigation Specialist

You should consider several things when you start to evaluate the hiring of an attorney. You want to find someone with whom you feel comfortable talking because you will be discussing intimate details about your health and about where you used to work. Although your lawyer likely will know all the right questions to ask you, good communication is essential.

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You should not restrict yourself to your community. Your case may not get filed in the state where you live.

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Qualified attorneys in this area of the law have practices in many states and understand your cancer prognosis.

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Lawyers should be aware of the importance of collecting information early on in the process.

Before You Hire an Attorney, You Need to Determine if He or She:

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Has a proven track record with asbestos lawsuits (large settlements and winning verdicts).

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Has the ability to travel to you to gather information.

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Has experience filing claims with asbestos trust funds.

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Has the ability to evaluate your potential compensation based on the facts of your case.

A trustworthy attorney will never guarantee you an outcome, a settlement or a successful jury verdict.

Affording an Attorney

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Contingency fee basis means you pay nothing unless you receive compensation.

In the area of asbestos lawsuits, attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. You pay nothing until you receive compensation, and nothing at all if your case is not successful. There is very little risk to you. Contingency fees protect you because they usually are based on a percentage of any compensation you receive. Be sure to discuss this percentage during your first meeting with an attorney.

How Attorneys Help in Asbestos Cases

Mesothelioma claims are different from other workplace injuries in a couple of ways. They fall into a special area of the law because the injuries that are in question do not typically occur because of an accident or sudden event. Instead exposure to asbestos takes place over time, with an illness developing 20 to 50 years later. This is why a qualified mesothelioma attorney makes sense for someone considering litigation or a trust claim.

Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Attorney

  • Do you have an asbestos claim?

    Mesothelioma attorneys are familiar with important legal decisions and stay up to date on asbestos-related cases all over the country. They use this knowledge to offer an opinion about your case and also to present the strongest possible case, should you decide to file a claim.

  • When were you exposed to asbestos?

    Identifying when and where you were exposed to asbestos is very important to your lawsuit. Without this information, it may be difficult to make a claim. Mesothelioma attorneys can help gather evidence related to your asbestos exposure. They routinely work with medical experts to trace when and where asbestos exposure occurred. They already have research and medical evidence at their disposal, which may be helpful to your case. They may also have helpful contacts with other organizations that fight for workers' rights concerning asbestos-related diseases.

  • Who is responsible for your asbestos exposure?

    It can be difficult to know which companies to sue in an asbestos lawsuit. During the decades that usually pass between asbestos exposure and diagnosis, the companies at fault may go out of business, move, change their names or even be sold to other companies. Mesothelioma attorneys have experience identifying and locating the companies responsible for their clients' suffering.

  • What is your case worth?

    Part of presenting a strong case is adequately estimating how much compensation you should receive. Mesothelioma attorneys are familiar with the medical and other day-to-day costs of living with asbestos-related illnesses. They also have experience estimating the value of future expenses, as well as the value of damages that are harder to put a number on, such as emotional anguish.

Experienced law firms have detailed records of asbestos claims, asbestos workplaces and asbestos products dating back more than 50 years. They can help you pinpoint potential exposure sites from anywhere in the country.

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Filing a Claim

Tim Povtak, Senior Writer

Tim Povtak talks about why choosing a mesothelioma attorney is important.

The financial aspects of mesothelioma care can be overwhelming. They can include income loss, expensive treatments that may not be covered by your health insurance, plus pain and suffering suffered by you and for your family.

Asbestos Exposure and Negligence

Because the disease is preventable - asbestos exposure usually is caused by someone else's negligence - legal options may be available to help recover these costs. Learn more about asbestos exposure:

Asbestos lawyers focus their practice on knowledgeably and effectively bringing to justice companies that exposed employees and the public to asbestos products. An attorney can help you consider your options and file a claim against the company responsible for your asbestos-related illness. More than one company may be responsible, too. A mesothelioma attorney can identify all companies at fault.

Obtaining Compensation

Mesothelioma lawsuits have helped thousands of victims receive financial assistance. The ultimate goal is to put money in the hands of someone who deserves it – someone who needs help reducing financial hardships during an illness and providing a more stable future for loved ones.

Every claim is different, and an experienced attorney will treat each client individually. This is not class-action law. A good attorney can explain what types of compensation are available specific to your individual case. It is important to save all your medical and financial records so that your lawyer can have up-to-date information about your expenses.

Common expenses related to illness caused by asbestos exposure:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Expenses not covered by insurance
  • Travel expenses for medical treatments
  • Pain and suffering
  • Caregiver costs
  • Funeral expenses

You will be asked to show medical records and to answer questions about how you may have been exposed to asbestos. A good attorney can walk you step-by-step through the process, making sure you are kept up to date on every development. Much of the time, the attorney handles almost everything for you, making the whole process easier.

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits: Different Types

There are two types of asbestos injury cases. A lawsuit filed by an individual suffering with an asbestos-related illness is a personal injury claim. A lawsuit filed by the family of someone who has passed away from an asbestos-related disease is a wrongful death suit. Specific rights in these lawsuits depend on the county and state where the case is filed. A lawyer can explain your options and take care of filing a lawsuit.

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Personal Injury Claim

A lawsuit filed by an individual suffering with an asbestos-related illness.

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Wrongful Death Suit

A lawsuit filed by the family of someone who has passed away from an asbestos-related disease.

Most mesothelioma lawsuits are between people who had direct exposure (also known as primary asbestos exposure) and the manufacturers of asbestos products. There also are cases of secondary exposure. A person can be exposed by a family member who unknowingly brings home the asbestos fibers on his clothes from a workplace. A mesothelioma lawyer can help understand if you, too, should file a claim.

Overall, asbestos litigation is regarded as the longest, most costly mass tort in U.S. history. Legal analysts calculate that there have been more than 600,000 plaintiffs, more than 6,000 defendants, and a total outlay for the lawsuits reaching $200 billion.

Although many asbestos companies have gone out of business, there remains an estimated $32 billion in trust funds designed to compensate victims of asbestos exposure.

Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act

The U.S. House of Representatives in 2013 passed the Furthering Asbestos Compensation Transparency (FACT) Act, much to the dismay of the asbestos victims and mesothelioma advocate groups. The legislation, if it clears the Senate and the White House, would impose unnecessary, burdensome reporting requirements on asbestos bankruptcy trusts and threaten victims’ privacy. It also would bring more attention to meritless accusations of widespread fraud among asbestos victims who seek compensation for their injuries.

Hopefully, recent political developments won’t dissuade asbestos victims from exercising their rights to seek legal compensation for their injuries. A recent verdict from an Ohio jury demonstrated that defendants should be held accountable for injuring innocent victims, including victims of secondary asbestos exposure. The jury awarded $27.5 million to a 40-year-old mesothelioma patient who was exposed to asbestos fibers as a child from his father’s work clothes. The verdict was reported to be the largest of its kind in Ohio.

Additional Resources


Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His most recent experience is in researching and writing about asbestos litigation issues and asbestos-related conditions like mesothelioma. If you have a story idea for Tim, please email him at tpovtak@asbestos.com

  1. Castleman, B. Asbestos: Medical and Legal Aspects, Fifth Edition. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2005.
  2. Cornell University Law School. (n.d.) 42 U.S. Code § 7412. Hazardous air pollutants. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/7412
  3. Pass, H., Metula, S. and Vento, S. 100 Questions & Answers About Mesothelioma. New YorK: Jones and Bartlett, 2010.
  4. White, M. (2004, February). Asbestos and the Future of Mass Torts. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w10308.pdf
  5. Asbestos Cancer VictimsÂ’ Rights Campaign. (2015). Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act. Retrieved from http://cancervictimsrights.org/legislation/fact-act/
  6. Barrett, P. (2014, January 13). Judge Finds Fraud and Deceit by Plaintiffs' Lawyers in Asbestos Cases. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-01-13/garlock-asbestos-claims-cut-90-percent-because-of-plaintiffs-lawyers-deceit
  7. McCarty, J. (2014, January 22). Tri-C professor with asbestos-related cancer wins record $27.5 million verdict in Cuyahoga County court. Retrieved from http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2014/01/tri-c_professor_with_lung_canc.html#cmpid=nwsltrhead

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