How to Hire a Mesothelioma Attorney
Mesothelioma claims are different from other workplace injuries and are a special area of the law. Because asbestos-related diseases have such a long period between exposure and diagnosis – sometimes as long as 50 years – related claims are best tackled by a qualified mesothelioma attorney.
Such a legal specialist not only has an understanding of the disease but also has the experience of the case process and how to investigate and evaluate a potential mesothelioma lawsuit. For people who have mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma, asbestosis or another asbestos-related cancer, knowing how to hire the right attorney can make all the difference.
Find A Qualified Mesothelioma Attorney
Selecting an attorney depends on a number of factors. Among them are the attorney’s experience and reputation and also the level of confidence and comfort you feel during your first meeting. Finding someone who makes you feel comfortable makes it easier to communicate clearly and openly about your case.
In this area of the law, closer is not always better. Having a reputable, competent and experienced mesothelioma attorney is more beneficial than having a nearby attorney. Most attorneys understand your cancer prognosis. They will travel to you.
It is usually not a good idea to select an attorney based on a promise to achieve a specific result. Although many asbestos-related lawsuits result in settlements and jury verdicts that are favorable to mesothelioma patients and their families, it is impossible for an attorney to guarantee an outcome for a claim. Be cautious of any lawyer who assures a win in court or promises that you will receive a specific amount from a settlement. On the other side, experienced mesothelioma lawyers often collect millions for their clients, sometimes without even going to trial.
Affording an Attorney
Most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing until you receive compensation and nothing at all if your case is unsuccessful. Contingency fees are usually based on a percentage of any compensation you receive. Be sure to discuss this percentage during your first meeting with an attorney.
Tips for Working with an Asbestos Attorney
A mesothelioma attorney will handle the majority of the work for your case, but there are things you can do to help with the process. Among them are:
Gather Medical Information
This information helps your attorney determine if you have a claim and prepare your case.
- Note the date of your diagnosis.
- Provide the names and numbers of your doctors and medical providers, including the doctor(s) who diagnosed you.
- Be prepared to provide medical records related to your diagnosis and treatment.
Describe Your Work History
This information helps your attorney prove that you were exposed to asbestos and identify who is responsible for your illness.
- Be prepared to help your attorney track your work history, including:
- Name(s) of employer(s);
- Dates of employment; and
- Job Title(s).
- Provide any work-related records you may have, such as W-2s.
Keep Track of Expenses
This information helps you ask for adequate compensation.
- Keep records of all out-of-pocket medical expenses, including costs of doctor and hospital visits, medical tests, prescriptions, equipment, etc.
- Keep records of any out-of-pocket expenses related to your illness, such as the costs of travel, personal care, massage and other alternative therapies.
A case can last several months. Your asbestos attorney handles almost every aspect of the case, but keeping your own records and notes can help you remember details and follow the case process.
- Keep a file with any documents that are signed and negotiated, copies of correspondence with your attorney, and copies of any court documents you receive.
- Keep copies of documents you provide to your attorney.
- Take notes during meetings and calls with your attorney (a friend or family member can help).
It is very important for you to be fully informed and comfortable with the entire case process.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions.
- Remember that your attorney is there to help.
Good communication is important because details discussed during your meeting with an attorney can influence your case.
- Always be honest, open and direct so that there is clear communication.
- Expect the same from your attorney.
How Can a Mesothelioma Attorney Help?
Mesothelioma & asbestos attorneys focus their practices on this unique area of law. Their familiarity with asbestos exposure helps them answer the following questions for you:
- 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.
Aside from their legal expertise, mesothelioma attorneys also understand the difficulties that you and your family face following diagnosis with an asbestos-related illness. They appreciate your need to focus on treatment and time with loved ones. At the same time, they know that it is important to file your claim and gather evidence as soon as possible.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, you remain in control of your case, but your mesothelioma attorney will gather evidence, file the claim, negotiate and go to court on your behalf. You can be involved in the litigation as little or as much as you want. Your mesothelioma attorney will be available to answer your questions and keep you informed throughout the legal process.
More Mesothelioma Legal Information
Do you need more information about the legal process or mesothelioma attorneys? Order a free informational packet from The Mesothelioma Center to get those questions and related questions answered.