Last modified: May 11, 2021
What Is a Mesothelioma Case Review
A mesothelioma case review, also called a case evaluation, is among the most important first steps of initiating a mesothelioma lawsuit.
It is the first opportunity for you and the law firm to learn about each other. How the firm handles the case review process will tell you a lot about how it operates and communicates with clients.
A case review is a necessary step that allows the law firm to learn about the details of your case, which will determine the best legal options for your situation. The review process helps patients and their families determine if they want to pursue legal action and whether the law firm is the right fit for them.
Why Are Case Reviews Important for Mesothelioma Cases?
A good case review is essential in determining how to receive the most mesothelioma compensation for a plaintiff.
Not all law firms are qualified to give a good mesothelioma case review. An experienced mesothelioma law firm is the best option because its attorneys have the expertise to review a case and know the best way to litigate it.
Mesothelioma law firms have entire teams dedicated to investigating and vetting your case. The attorneys who work these cases typically focus solely on mesothelioma and asbestos litigation, which means they have the background and skills to properly evaluate your case.
A good evaluation results in a better outcome for the patient. A skilled mesothelioma lawyer will review your case, then recommend the best way forward to secure the compensation your family needs to cover medical expenses and other financial needs.
What to Expect from a Mesothelioma Case Review
The first steps of a mesothelioma case review may be done over the phone or in person. In many cases, the review begins with a phone conversation between the patient and a mesothelioma attorney.
During the initial phone call, the attorney will ask broad questions to learn more about the patient’s diagnosis and how they were exposed to asbestos. It may take less than an hour for your attorney to get the information needed to do a more in-depth case review.
You can prepare for this initial phone call by gathering any relevant information about your mesothelioma diagnosis and thinking about how you were exposed to asbestos. Try to write down details about the places you’ve worked and the kinds of asbestos products you were exposed to.
Don’t worry about recalling all the details now or being able to answer every question. A good mesothelioma law firm will help investigate your asbestos exposure history to validate your claim.
Major components of an asbestos case evaluation include:
- A discussion about your medical history, including the diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease
- A deep inquiry into your asbestos exposure history, including work sites and companies you’ve worked for
- An in-depth evaluation of the types of claims you may qualify for (it is common for a patient to qualify to file multiple claims)
- An assessment of the companies that may be liable for your illness and whether they remain solvent or have filed for bankruptcy and established an asbestos trust fund
- An evaluation of whether defendants are likely to settle or if the case may do well with a jury trial
While some may claim that a mesothelioma case review involves an evaluation of the financial value of the case, be wary of any law firm that promises a certain financial return on your case.
One of the first things an attorney will inquire about during a case evaluation is the patient’s diagnosis with an asbestos-related disease. Without an official diagnosis, there is no foundation for a claim. Evidence of the diagnosis must be submitted to support the claim.
A mesothelioma patient with a history of other asbestos-related diseases may have a stronger case. If the patient was previously diagnosed with pleural plaques or asbestosis, an attorney can argue that they endured a high level of asbestos exposure and their health has suffered as a result.
Asbestos Exposure and Negligent Companies
A major component of a mesothelioma case review involves answering questions about how and where you were exposed to asbestos. The attorney will ask a series of questions about your work history, including places you’ve worked, companies you’ve worked for and products you’ve worked with.
They’ll also ask you about working conditions, such as whether you were provided protective equipment or given any warning about working with asbestos products.
Understanding how and where you were exposed to asbestos helps your attorney identify the companies that may be liable for your asbestos-related illness.
Many of these companies have gone bankrupt and established asbestos trust funds to compensate victims. It is common for a plaintiff to qualify to file claims with different trust funds.
If your attorney determines a liable company that hasn’t gone bankrupt is responsible for your illness, you will be guided through the lawsuit process, which frequently ends in a settlement for the mesothelioma patient. About 1% of mesothelioma lawsuits go all the way to a jury trial.
Learning About the Plaintiff
Aspects of your personal history may impact the case, and a good attorney will know how to leverage these factors to maximize your potential for compensation.
Factors about the plaintiff that may impact the case include:
- Age of the patient
- Marital status
- Number of dependents
- Income loss
- Impact on quality of life
- Degree of pain, suffering and distress
- Individual prognosis and life expectancy
- Loss of consortium
- Whether asbestos exposure was direct or secondary
- Personal lifestyle factors such as smoking history
- Preexisting disease
Next Steps After the Mesothelioma Case Review
After the case review is complete and the attorney has provided professional recommendations on how to proceed with a legal claim, the patient and their family can determine if they want to move forward with filing a claim.
Families that decide to proceed with a claim will move into the filing and discovery phase of the legal process. During this step, your attorney will do an in-depth investigation of your work history and asbestos exposure history. This will prove your asbestos exposure and connect it to the products you were exposed to or the companies you worked for.
Depending upon the types of legal claims you qualify for, you may have to provide additional information, such as affidavits and depositions, that may be important if your claim goes to trial.
Your attorney will keep you fully informed during every step of the legal process. You will be able to rely on the attorney for the right guidance to successfully resolve your claim, whether that involves settlement negotiations, trust fund claims or trial dates.
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