What To Expect When You File a
Hiring an Experienced Mesothelioma Attorney
Hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit is usually a new experience for most people. When someone
is suing because of a cancer like malignant mesothelioma, there is likely to be an added level of
stress. However, hiring an attorney does not need to be a stressful process.
It is most important that clients seek out attorneys who are experienced in handling
mesothelioma cases. These cases are very unique and there are very few lawyers in the country
who have real experience in preparing these cases and trying them before juries. Before you hire
an attorney, be sure to ask about the number of cases they have handled, the cases they have
actually tried in a courtroom, and the results they have obtained for their clients.
No Financial Obligation
Very importantly, the client should understand that they are not undertaking any financial
obligation in hiring a lawyer to pursue their claim against the companies who failed to warn them
of the devastating consequences of breathing asbestos. The lawyer takes all the financial risk for
the lawsuit. If the lawsuit is not successful –such as a later biopsy reveals that the person has a
cancer other than mesothelioma–then the client pays absolutely nothing. The law firm puts up all
the costs for the lawsuit and only charges a fee if the client wins. Just as importantly, the lawyer
only seeks reimbursement of his out of pocket expenses if he recovers something for the client.
The Steps in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
The steps to proceed with a mesothelioma lawsuit are quite straightforward. First, the lawyer will
interview the client to understand the client’s work history and determine where he or she was
exposed to asbestos. The client will sign authorizations, so that the lawyer can obtain the records
that are necessary for a successful case. This generally includes the client’s complete
employment records, including Social Security Administration records, military records if
applicable, and their medical records to confirm the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma.
Because our firm has over 30 years of experience with asbestos cases, we often know exactly
which defendants to sue in a lawsuit depending on the client’s exposure history to asbestos. For
example, if you were in the United States Navy on board certain classes of ships or submarines,
or you worked at certain navy or private shipyards, we typically know which defendants are
responsible for your exposure.
The Client’s Main Role in a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Besides signing authorization forms, the client usually has only two major things to do. The first
is to help the lawyer fill out a questionnaire regarding your work history, medical history and
asbestos exposure. One part of this questionnaire will be identifying former co-workers who
were at the same jobsites and who can help corroborate the client’s asbestos exposure. While it is
not necessary that there be such co-workers (as many could be lost or not remembered over the
years), it always helps to corroborate a person’s memory of what happened decades earlier.
The second most important thing the client does is to give a videotaped deposition. Usually,
about one or two months after the lawyers file the lawsuit, the person with mesothelioma will
have a chance to tell his or her own story. Your lawyer will ask you to introduce yourself and
your family, explain how you were exposed to asbestos and describe the products and equipment
you remember working around. Then, you will be asked to explain when your mesothelioma
symptoms first developed, how you were first diagnosed, and what treatment you have been
given for the disease. Later, the lawyers for the defendants will have the opportunity to ask
follow-up questions. For most cases, this proceeding usually takes about half of a day.
Settlement of a Mesothelioma Case
After the client’s videotaped deposition, the rest is in the hands of the attorney. Experienced law
firms like ours have already reviewed thousands of documents from the asbestos companies, and
reviewed the evidence developed at certain jobsites.
Although it varies from state to state, typically a case is assigned a trial date around a year after
the date the Complaint is filed. Just because a mesothelioma case is set for trial, it does not mean
the case actually goes to trial. Because we have been involved in cases for so many years, firms
like ours are often able to settle cases without going to trial.
Defendants usually make settlement offers prior to the trial date. The lawyers from our firm then
negotiate with the defendants. When someone makes an offer that we believe to be the best offer
for our client, then we will recommend that the client accept the offer. The decision to accept any
offer, however, rests totally with the client.
Trial of a Mesothelioma Case
If a client is not satisfied with the offers made, our firm remains ready to try the case. We have
tried over 50 cases to verdict. Our two most recent verdicts resulted in $5.3 million and $9.8
million awards for our clients. We have won before the appellate courts when our successful
verdicts were appealed. While each case is unique and the results depend on the particular facts
and circumstances, we work tirelessly for our clients to obtain the best result possible for them.