The Ultimate Guide to a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may feel overwhelmed by the medical and legal information you need to absorb. Here are the basics you will need to know to get started with your mesothelioma lawsuit.
Finding a Lawyer for Your Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Serious health problems related to asbestos exposure were first reported in the 1930s. Despite their knowledge of the danger this posed for the people who worked and lived with these products, many corporations continued to use asbestos in their products Because so many people have suffered from the toxic effects of asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases, the judicial system has created processes to streamline asbestos litigation.
The first, and perhaps the most important, step in filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is finding the right lawyer to represent you. An experienced lawyer is a crucial asset to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled. You don’t have to choose an attorney with an office near your home; you can even work with a mesothelioma lawyer based in a different state. It’s a good idea to research your choice and work with a law firm that has a track record of winning settlements and verdicts for clients with mesothelioma.
Once you have found a trustworthy asbestos firm, your attorneys will do most of the work so you can focus on taking care of your health and spending precious time with your family. Your lawyer may request information from you, but most of the lawsuit process will move forward without much input from you.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process
The first step to filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is to determine where you were exposed to asbestos. Your lawyer will ask you for a list of all the places you have worked, since mesothelioma may take several decades to manifest after asbestos exposure. Some people were exposed to asbestos outside of the workplace, perhaps through the contaminated clothing of a spouse who worked with asbestos or because of asbestos building materials in their homes.
Your attorney will file suit against all the parties who could be responsible for your asbestos exposure. Early in this process, both sides will begin the discovery process. The defendants will request copies of your medical records and your attorney will request documentation about asbestos use from the defendants. The defendants will take your deposition, where you will answer questions under oath in front of a court reporter but not a judge. Your attorney will be at your side to support you and guide you through your deposition. The defendants will also be deposed.
Some defendants may try to convince the court that they are not responsible for your illness. Companies may argue that you could not have been exposed to asbestos at their location. They may claim that your mesothelioma was caused by a past history of exposure to someone else’s asbestos products, or that smoking or other health problems meant you were already injured, or couldn’t work even before the mesothelioma.. An experienced mesothelioma attorney will know how to counter these arguments.
Other defendants may accept their liability and begin settlement discussions soon after your lawsuit is filed, in an effort to minimize their legal fees. It is not unusual for claimants in mesothelioma lawsuits to begin to receive settlement funds within just a few months after the lawsuit is filed.
If a defendant is unwilling to settle, your case may go to trial. This is unusual. Over 80 percent of lawsuits settle before trial.
While mesothelioma plaintiffs receive expedited trial schedules because of the severity of their illness, the trial process can stretch to a year or more. If the defendant appeals the trial verdict, this can prolong the process even further.
Although trials can be expensive and time-consuming and there is no guarantee of a positive outcome, verdicts can result in greater compensation for plaintiffs than negotiated settlements. Kazan Law has won verdicts as high as $27 million for mesothelioma claimants.
Filing Your Mesothelioma Lawsuit Claim
Once you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you have a prescribed window of time within which to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. This is known as the Statute of Limitations. If you don’t file within this window, you will not be able to recover damages for your injuries. The amount of time to file varies in different jurisdictions. In California, you have one year from when asbestos causes you to be unable to work at your usual job. It is important to begin working with a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after your diagnosis to allow enough time to thoroughly investigate the potential sources of your asbestos exposure and determine the correct parties to sue.
Once again, it is important to work with a reputable and experienced mesothelioma law firm. If your claim is filed incorrectly, you may run out of time and lose your opportunity to recover the compensation you deserve.
In most cases, you have a choice where to file your mesothelioma lawsuit. You don’t have to live in the state where you file. At Kazan Law, we file most of our lawsuits in California because the people who serve on California juries understand the true value of mesothelioma claims.
Each case is different, as each person is different. If you would like to discuss your mesothelioma claim with one of the experienced asbestos lawyers at Kazan Law, please feel free to contact us for a free case evaluation.