When people with mesothelioma approach our office about a potential asbestos lawsuit, the first contact is often with our intake department. This starts an information-gathering process. We ask them to provide us with essential information about themselves, their family members, their work history, their exposure to asbestos, and their medical history. We also obtain releases so that we can order employment and medical records.
Usually one of our investigators interviews a potential client, and one of the attorneys will call or visit.
As soon as we have sufficient information, we decide if we can recommend filing suit and if our firm can represent them.
We accept an asbestos lawsuit case if we think there is a reasonable chance of a successful outcome. We need to be confident that we can establish the diagnosis, and that there are defendants who are responsible.
Filing An Asbestos Lawsuit
We usually file our cases in California, but not every person has a case that can be properly filed in California. If we conclude, after reviewing all the facts, that a case should be filed in another state, we call upon the most appropriate attorney in our long-established network of attorneys in different states with whom we have worked before. We make a recommendation to the potential client that we associate with an attorney who practices in the most appropriate jurisdiction for the case. It is very important to file an asbestos case in the right jurisdiction and we believe that this decision should be made at the beginning of the process rather than mid-stream.
When we take on new clients, both parties sign a retainer agreement. This is a contract between the clients and Kazan Law, and sets out the details of our representation, the contingency fee structure, and so on. An attorney from our office meets with the client to go over all aspects of your asbestos lawsuit in detail. (Read more about contingency fees.)
Filing the Asbestos Lawsuit Complaint
The formal start of the case comes when we file the complaint against all companies that we believe are probably responsible for the asbestos exposure. These might include asbestos mining companies, manufacturers, distributors, brokers, insulation contractors, other contractors whose workers used asbestos products (e.g. sheet-metal, joinery, fireproofing) or were responsible for safety (e.g. the prime or general contractor), and the owners of the sites where exposure occurred.
It is obvious that determining which companies to sue is a complex matter. We usually file suit against more than a dozen defendants, and sometimes as many as forty or more. Because we have been handling asbestos cases for over 40 years, we have extensive resources to enable our attorneys to make well-informed decisions about who to sue, and how to go about it. We have a team of seven investigators, an extensive document archive, and a database of records and depositions. We also have cooperative working relationships with many other plaintiffs’ law offices around the country and in Britain, Australia, Canada and other parts of the world.
Our client is known as the plaintiff in the lawsuit – because he (or she) is making the complaint. The companies that the plaintiff sues are called defendants – because they are defending. The defendants have about a month, after receiving the complaint, to respond.