Asbestos used to be one of the most commonly-used insulators. Manufacturers were largely aware of the risks involved in the use of asbestos, but kept them secret to avoid damage to their businesses. This has resulted in decades of litigation tied to asbestos related injuries and mesothelioma, a rare cancer that develops as the result of asbestos exposure. These cases have been widely regarded as among the most complicated tort claims possible. As a result, the choice of an asbestos or mesothelioma lawyer is an important one.
Asbestos and mesothelioma cases involve suing companies that are willing to commit significant resources to avoiding having to pay damages. They maintain teams of attorneys who fight the same kinds of cases day-in and day-out. The subject matter of these cases is highly technical and involves assembling, understanding, and presenting complicated medical information.
A successful asbestos and mesothelioma attorney will understand the illnesses well enough to communicate effectively with experts about the cause and impact of the illness at the center of the lawsuit. They will be involved in conducting any necessary investigations and will monitor their client's treatment. Naturally, prior experience impacts a lawyer's ability to act effectively in this context.
The medical aspects of asbestos and mesothelioma cases are not the only obstacle. The lawsuits themselves are also quite complicated. An asbestos claim might be taken in state or federal court or result in a class-action lawsuit, depending on the circumstances and parties involved.
As a result, an asbestos or mesothelioma lawyer is similar to attorneys in other kinds of niche practices. Experience and a significant amount of technical knowledge have an enormous impact on the outcome of cases.
A little research, particularly online, can reveal a potential attorney's track record and experience with asbestos and mesothelioma cases. You can seek or request client references and most asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss your case and their qualifications. You can ask the lawyer about the percentage of their cases that settled, the range of awards won, and the amounts recovered in comparable cases.
Who's in Your Corner?
Apart from an asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer's experience and technical knowledge, another important consideration is more personal. Can you establish an effective working relationship with the attorney and the law firm? Your legal team will be involved in a very stressful aspect of your life and a positive relationship can help keep everyone focused on the issues that are most important to you.
Confirm that the attorney you consult with will handle the case personally, rather than delegating it to others or farming it out to another law firm. Ask about the legal team that will work on your case and ensure that you can form a collaborative and empathic connection with the team. As you deal with your health and legal issues this mutual understanding will help ensure a more positive outcome.
The Bottom Line: Attorney's Fees and Expenses
Another important consideration when choosing an asbestos and mesothelioma lawyer involves the question of fees and expenses. In cases of this kind contingent fees are common, but not universal. A contingency fee is when the attorney represents you without taking payment on the understanding that they will instead receive a percentage of your final settlement or award. Attorney's fees in these situations are typically around 30-40% of the total recovery.
An associated question involves who will cover the costs of investigation, the hiring of expert witnesses, and the other expenses that arise in the course of litigation. Out-of-pocket expenses may be paid on a rolling basis by the client, or covered by the attorney and billed to them when the case is finished, further reducing the amount of an award or settlement. Understanding the fee arrangement, including who will be responsible for expenses and when, will help ensure that you aren't taken by surprise when a check is cut or a bill is presented.
Get Legal Help with an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you're suffering from an asbestos-related illness or mesothelioma your lawyer and doctor will be among the most important figures in your support network. Establishing your team early in the process tends to produce the most positive outcomes. Contact a local asbestos and mesothelioma attorney to discuss your situation and learn more about how an attorney can help.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.