Steps to Filing a Mesothelioma Claim
Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you are entitled to compensation from the parties responsible for negligently exposing you to this toxic substance.
Working with An Attorney to File a Mesothelioma Claim
When you are struggling with a serious illness such as mesothelioma, it can be hard to find the energy to pursue the compensation you are due for your injuries. A top-notch mesothelioma lawyer can take this burden off you and ensure that you get the highest possible award.
Mesothelioma claims and lawsuits can result in awards in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Choosing the right mesothelioma lawyer can make a huge financial difference for you and your family, so it’s important to make an informed choice.
Ask about your mesothelioma lawyers’ background and experience before you hire them to handle your case. Find out how long they have been practicing, how many claims such as yours they have handled, the range of settlements they have achieved for their clients, and how many lawsuits they have won and lost. Make sure the attorney you are speaking with will handle your case personally rather than acting as a case broker who will sell your claim to an unknown third party.
A reputable asbestos law firm will work with you on a contingency basis. This means that you pay no fees up front and, if you don’t win your case, you owe your lawyer nothing for his or her work. If you do receive a settlement or jury award, your lawyer will be paid an agreed-upon percentage.
It is important to act swiftly after you are diagnosed with mesothelioma because, if you wait too long, the statute of limitations may bar you from filing suit. The statute of limitations is different in different states. In California, you have one year from your diagnosis with mesothelioma or other disabling asbestos-related illness to file suit against the responsible companies for your personal injuries. You may sue for compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering caused by your illness.
If you are pursuing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a spouse or family member who has died due to mesothelioma, you have one year after his or her death to bring a lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you may seek to recover past medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and the value of your loss of care, comfort, companionship, and other aspects resulting from the death.
You and your attorney may explore multiple avenues to obtain the compensation you deserve. In addition to filing a lawsuit against the company or companies responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to workers compensation, if you were exposed to asbestos on the job. If your exposure happened during military service, you may be entitled to veteran’s benefits.
Filing a Mesothelioma Claim: Choosing the Right State and Plaintiffs
When an experienced mesothelioma law firm takes your case, the first thing it will ask for is a detailed work history so it can determine which corporations should be named as defendants. Good mesothelioma law firms employ investigators who work to locate every party who might bear responsibility for your illness.
After that, your attorneys will decide what state is the best venue in which to file your lawsuit. California courts look more favorably on asbestos plaintiffs than courts in some other states. You don’t have to live in the state where you file your lawsuit. You don’t even have to live in the same state as your lawyer. If travel is required, your attorney will come to you.
Once your lawsuit is filed, the discovery or factual investigation part of the process begins. Your lawyer will request documents from the defendants and provide records of your medical diagnosis, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. You, and possibly your spouse or other family members, will be asked to give a deposition. A deposition is recorded testimony, taken under oath, before trial. If you are too ill to appear at trial, your deposition testimony may be used instead.
What Happens After You File a Mesothelioma Claim?
Because mesothelioma is such a serious illness, your lawyer should file your case as quickly as possible so your lawsuit can be handled on an expedited schedule.
Your case is likely to involve multiple defendants and some may offer to settle with you fairly quickly. The time frame can vary greatly, but many of Kazan Law’s clients begin to receive settlements within a few months after filing suit.
Other defendants may drag the process out by attempting to have your claims against them thrown out of court. They might bring up factors such as family health issues or a history of smoking. Some will argue that other defendants bear the responsibility for your asbestos exposure, not them. Defendants might even challenge your mesothelioma diagnosis.
Experienced mesothelioma lawyers have seen this all before and they know how to respond to every objection a defendant can throw their way. While your lawyer may be working hard as your case moves toward settlement or trial, you won’t have much to do, other than answering occasional questions. You can focus your energies on taking care of your health and spending quality time with your family.