When you have no experience with the legal system, particularly in regards to asbestos cases, pursuing a claim can be daunting. That's why you should place your trust in a reputable lawyer skilled in mesothelioma law. However, it's important to understand how asbestos exposure claims work before you put your time and effort into going through the process. Being diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or asbestosis can be heart wrenching. You may have to take time off work, your medical bills may start to creep up, and you may not know where to turn. Filing for an asbestos exposure lawsuit can get you compensation to cover your healthcare bills and replace lost wages.
First, a little bit about asbestos. This mineral fiber was commonly found in construction materials prior to the 1970s. Used in fire retardants and insulation, asbestos is made up of tiny fibers that, when released in the air, can be ingested and form cancer in the lining of the lungs. The lag time for diagnosis can be many years, decades in some cases. That's why time is of the essence when you find out you have an asbestos-related disease. Choose an attorney who has a solid reputation in the industry, knowledge in your type of case, and a good track record of success.
The Lawsuit Process
Because the costs of medical bills associated with mesothelioma far outweigh that of anything worker's compensation can provide, it's necessary to shoot for a settlement that will cover all your bills. Getting compensation from a third party isn't easy. Leave all the details to your lawyer when approaching this third party for restitution. The party may be a product manufacturer or even the owner of the building in which asbestos was found. Timely claims are important, because evidence needs to be gathered and the third party must be located. Ask for an initial consult with the attorney of your choosing to explain your case in detail. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire explaining your story. It's wise to provide documentation that will strengthen your case. This can be anything from lab and doctor reports to photos and journal entries.
Keep in mind that most asbestos-related cases don't make it to a jury and are instead settled out of court. Your attorney will first file a complaint that's known as a petition to get the lawsuit process started. Copies will be provided to relevant courts and the defendant. From there, it's a waiting game. You may get a settlement offer or the defendant could deny responsibility altogether. Having an experienced asbestos attorney by your side will help ease any bumps in your legal case. He or she can handle all aspects of the case, from discovery and depositions to settlement discussions and appeals. In terms of the costs you will pay your attorney, these vary widely by your type of case and the lawyer involved. Many times, lawyers will handle the case for free and only collect a fee if you win or take a settlement.