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Steps to Filing a Mesothelioma Claim

Filing an mesothelioma claimMesothelioma 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.

Asbestos Lawsuit Fraud Charges Stand Against Chemical Company

asbestos lawsuitHere at Kazan Law, we’ve been known as an asbestos law firm for over 40 years. Our asbestos lawsuits often go to the California Supreme Court and help establish new legal precedents in asbestos litigation. But a rising tide, as the saying goes, lifts all boats. So it helps us as an asbestos law firm and our clients, when higher courts issue decisions in other states that thwart the attempts by major multinational corporations to get away with murder.

In a recent asbestos lawsuit decision reported in the Wall Street Journal and other media, a U.S. federal appeals court in Newark, New Jersey reinstated charges of fraud and fraud concealment not only against a major international chemical company but against the law firm who represented them.

A group of plaintiffs – representatives of alleged asbestos victims — claimed that the company and their attorneys at that time destroyed or hid evidence of asbestos-contaminated products in order to dodge liability.

The three judges on the appeals panel, reversed a decision by the US District Court in Newark, New Jersey and, in a unanimous ruling, said that although New Jersey’s litigation privilege often immunizes lawyers and clients from recrimination based on their statements in judicial proceedings, the privilege cannot be used to “shield systemic fraud directed at the integrity of the judicial process.”

In other words, the judges realized that the cruel deceptions in this case were not only ploys to get the chemical company off the hook for compensating those whose lives they destroyed but that these tactics threatened the very validity of our country’s judicial process itself.

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturned a lower court judge who dismissed a pending class action suit. The suit was brought against a division of BASF, a chemical company and their New York attorneys. BASF Corporation, headquartered in New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,000 employees in North America, and had sales of $19.3 billion in 2013, according to the company’s website.

A company bought by BASF in 1983 allegedly claimed that talc was a safe substitute for asbestos even though laboratory reports showed talc contained asbestos. After the company settled a suit from a worker exposed to asbestos-containing talc products, it attempted to avoid further suits by allegedly rounding up and destroying documents referring to the asbestos-contaminated talc, the complaint says. Their attorneys at that time reportedly developed a defense that included allegedly false affidavits and expert reports; tactics we have seen also attempted in European asbestos cases.

A daughter of a former BASF research chemist developed mesothelioma and died. In 2009 her father testified about the existence of data, analyses and reports confirming asbestos contamination. This information supposedly disappeared but has been found by BASF’s new attorneys in a storage facility owned by BASF’s former attorneys, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Kazan Law Foundation Honored by Lend a Hand Foundation

Kazan Law FoundationThe success of our asbestos law firm compels us to reach out and try to help meet the needs of the vibrant diverse community around us. The Kazan Law Foundation was formed in 1994, and over the years has disbursed over $20 million in grants to a wide array of community and civic organizations, including $6 million for mesothelioma research.

Recently our Foundation was recognized by Oakland’s Lend a Hand Foundation for our contribution to their efforts. At their annual ceremony, the Green and White Ball, featuring legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo , we were honored to receive a certificate of special Congressional recognition from Congresswoman Barbara Lee as well as certificates of commendation from the California State Assembly and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors for our donations to the Lend a Hand Foundation.

But we chose to donate to the Lend a Hand Foundation not to receive recognition but because we support their mission. And that mission is to enhance the quality of life of less fortunate youth with a special focus on kids residing in transitional housing facilities and others at a disadvantage. Lend a Hand tries to give these kids the opportunity to experience educational, cultural and other activities not otherwise available to them.

In Alameda County, according to the Lend a Hand Foundation there are over 6,000 students identified as homeless. This includes students living in shelters, transitional housing, hotels/motels, or living doubled up with other friends or families because they lost their housing. The Lend a Hand Foundation’s efforts to help these kids includes a Stay in School Program, Annual Back to School Giveaway providing school supplies to more than 10,000 kids and scholarship funds for graduating high school seniors.

All the Information You Need to Start Your Asbestos Lawsuit

asbestos lawsuitWhen you want to file an asbestos lawsuit and are suffering from asbestos-caused illness, time is of the essence.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma as the result of working with asbestos or living with someone who worked with asbestos, you’ve got a strong chance of winning a large sum of money in damages in an asbestos lawsuit. You will need an experienced asbestos attorney to help you sue the companies that manufactured or installed the asbestos materials you handled.

To help you win your asbestos lawsuit as quickly as possible, even the best attorney needs key information that only you can provide. Pulling together this information ahead of time will enable your attorney to move swiftly on your behalf.

Medical Information

You need to provide concrete evidence that you are suffering from mesothelioma so be prepared to provide the:

  • Date and place of your diagnosis
  • Name and phone number of the physician who diagnosed you
  • List of specific treatments and medications prescribed for you and how much you have had to pay out-of-pocket for these.

Work History

Your attorney also needs to prove that you developed mesothelioma because you or someone in your family was exposed to asbestos at work. Be prepared to provide:

  • The name of the company or companies you worked for. If any company has been sold to another company, try to find out that name, too.
  • The dates you worked for each company – when you started and when you stopped. Try to find and make copies of tax returns or W2 forms that support those dates.
  • The names of products and materials you handled as part of your job.
  • Your job title and specific job duties and job site locations.

Official Documents to Bring to Your Attorney:

  • Marriage, death, birth certificates
  • Health insurance cards, Medicare cards
  • Official Will or Trust Agreement
  • Personal representative papers, or Executor papers
  • Pathology report, chest X-ray reports, CT-chest reports
  • Social Security records (detailed earnings with employer names)
  • Job resumes or job summary/timeline
  • Military: DD214, other documents
  • If prior asbestos litigation: attorney correspondence, settlement correspondence, settlement checks/stubs, complaint.

FAIR Act Would Have Been Unfair to Asbestos Victims

12_27_05_Daily_JournalAs we celebrate Kazan Law’s 40th anniversary with “Throwback Thursday” posts about the firm’s history, I recall a time not too long ago when the firm almost ceased to exist.  Powerful corporate interests fueled a push for federal legislation that would have made all asbestos law firms extinct.  And Kazan Law, one of the best asbestos law firms in the US, would no longer have been able to advocate for mesothelioma patients and other asbestos victims whose lives have been devastated by being exposed to asbestos.

The 2005 legislation was cleverly named “The FAIR Act” – The Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act – but it would have been profoundly unfair to those asbestos victims with a claim to bring against a company who had knowingly caused them to be exposed to asbestos.

The FAIR Act, if it had been enacted into law, would have prohibited injured asbestos victims from bringing asbestos claims against individual defendants.  They would have had to file asbestos claims with an Orwellian-sounding Office of Asbestos Disease Compensation. This Office would have administered a fund called the Asbestos Injury Claims Resolution Fund. A panel would have determined each victim’s compensation amount, if any. Victims who developed fatal asbestos related cancers such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer would have been limited to $1 million in compensation.  Totally inadequate.

Companies guilty of grave misdeeds and crimes against innocent people would have gotten off with a pittance.  And I, my partners and my entire staff would have been out of a job.

“I have threatened one of my partners that his new full-time job will be to teach me how to play golf,” I told a reporter for the San Francisco Daily Journal, a local legal newspaper, for an article about the proposed legislation at the time.  “I will probably retire.”

That was almost a decade ago.   The FAIR Act was an unfair bad idea and it was justifiably defeated. It never became law.  Kazan Law has gone on to win multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients, several in this past year. We remain engaged and impassioned about seeking justice for asbestos victims.  And I still haven’t needed to learn to play golf.

Read the December 27, 2005 article from the Daily Journal.

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