If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining that is caused by exposure to asbestos, finding the right attorney is key to getting the compensation you need to cover medical bills and time off work.
Word of mouth is an important component to finding a lawyer you can trust. Ask family and friends who may have been through this process before which lawyer they recommend. You may even wish to go online and browse mesothelioma-related support groups and chat rooms. Ask your doctor if he or she knows of a reputable lawyer.
Narrowing the Field
After gathering a handful of potential candidates through Internet searches and personal recommendations, you can start narrowing down your choices by location, budget, and experience. Look for a lawyer with skills in this arena, which should include a high success rate for asbestos cases. Research established histories, qualifications, and knowledge of current state and federal asbestos laws. Keep in mind that you don't want to choose just someone from any law firm.
You want to select one that specifically has experience in mesothelioma cases. A lawyer you consider may be phenomenal in criminal cases but illiterate when it comes to asbestos law. Even a personal injury lawyer may know very little about asbestos. Partner up with a lawyer who knows what you're going through and has a proven track record of ensuring clients are compensated. Look for someone who knows the ins and outs of the asbestos industry, mesothelioma treatments, what effects exposure to asbestos can have, and which investigative methods can be used to determine fault.
In addition to all the other stresses of legal proceedings, you'll also have to contend with the costs associated with your mesothelioma case. Some lawyers work for free or don't accept payment unless you win the case, but you can't count on that. It's wise to understand upfront how much your lawyer will cost. Costs vary widely by case and law firm, but you can find ways to lower the overall price tag. Find out if your chosen firm has a junior lawyer or paralegal who can work at a lower rate.
Ask yourself if there is anything you can do yourself, such as legwork, document delivery, and research, to further cut costs. Find out if your lawyer has contingency fees, which ensures he or she receives a percentage of the lawsuit money if you win. If you don't win, the lawyer does not collect a fee. Be up front with all your questions, ask about history and success with asbestos cases, and thoroughly research each option.