Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. It is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may have legal options to pursue compensation. Hiring a mesothelioma cancer lawyer can help maximize your chances of receiving financial compensation.
What Does a Mesothelioma Lawyer Do?
A mesothelioma lawyer specializes in asbestos exposure cases and has extensive knowledge of mesothelioma laws. Their role is to build the strongest possible case on your behalf and negotiate a settlement or take the case to trial. Key responsibilities of a mesothelioma lawyer include:
- Interviewing the client to understand asbestos exposure history
- Gathering medical records and pathology reports
- Working with medical experts to prove diagnosis and causation
- Identifying all potentially liable companies
- Filing lawsuit paperwork and responding to legal motions
- Determining the value of the case based on expenses, losses and suffering
- Negotiating with defendants to reach a fair settlement
When to Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer
It is important to consult with a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible after diagnosis. The law limits how long after diagnosis you can pursue legal action. An experienced lawyer can immediately start gathering evidence and evaluating your case while treatment is underway. This helps prepare for filing a claim quickly before time limits expire.
Choosing the Right Mesothelioma Lawyer
Not all lawyers have specific expertise in mesothelioma cases. When researching lawyers, look for:
- Extensive experience handling asbestos exposure claims
- Membership in asbestos litigation groups
- History of delivering high value settlements/verdicts
- Resources to build strongest case, including relationships with experts
- No upfront fees – lawyers work on contingency basis
- Good communication skills and responsive service
An ideal lawyer will thoughtfully assess the details of your case and provide realistic expectations. Beware lawyers who promise specific results or overstate potential compensation.
The Lawsuit Process with a Mesothelioma Lawyer
The mesothelioma litigation process involves several phases, which a lawyer will guide you through:
- The lawyer will conduct interviews, gather medical and employment history, and collect documentation to prove asbestos exposure. This establishes liability.
Filing the Lawsuit
- Once sufficient evidence is gathered, the lawyer will identify all negligent parties and file a lawsuit in the appropriate court. Defendants are formally notified.
- Defendants must produce documents relating to asbestos use and knowledge of risks. Lawyers will comb through records to further prove liability. Additional evidence gathering continues.
- Once liability is clearly demonstrated, most cases will settle out of court. Lawyers will negotiate aggressively to maximize compensation. Settlements avoid the risk of losing at trial.
- If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, the lawyer will vigorously argue the case in court before a judge or jury. This aims to win a favorable verdict.
Throughout the process the lawyer will advise on legal strategy and provide realistic expectations. With legal expertise on your side, you can focus on treatment and recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do mesothelioma lawyers cost?
Mesothelioma lawyers work on a contingency fee basis meaning there are no upfront costs. The lawyer receives an agreed upon percentage (25-40%) of the final compensation as their fee.
How long does a mesothelioma lawsuit take?
Most mesothelioma lawsuits take 12-21 months from filing to resolution. Complex cases can take longer. An experienced lawyer will work to resolve the case as quickly as possible.
What factors determine the value of a mesothelioma case?
The main factors affecting case value are the severity of illness, medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and plaintiff’s ability to prove asbestos exposure and liability. Lawyers maximize compensation based on these factors.
Can a mesothelioma patient get compensation without suing?
Some asbestos trusts set up by companies provide compensation without litigation. However, most require filing a claim, and settlements are often lower than through lawsuits. Lawyers can help navigate trust funds.
What evidence is needed to prove asbestos exposure?
Useful evidence can include employment records, testimony of coworkers, invoices or records of asbestos materials at worksites, and product receipts. Even a single witness can help establish exposure.
The complex legal process following a mesothelioma diagnosis can seem overwhelming. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer understands the system and will handle the heavy lifting while you focus on your health. They will aggressively pursue fair compensation so you can cover medical costs and lost income. With legal help, many patients see justice in their lifetimes. Consult a qualified mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your situation.