When you learn you have mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, it is time to look for a lawyer. Mesothelioma is expensive to treat since it requires cancer medication and extensive aftercare. Therefore, a lawsuit can help you compensate for the financial loss you may incur. However, you should hire a seasoned legal professional before turning to courts. A qualified mesothelioma or asbestos injury expert will guide you on filing, submitting evidence, and informing you on the types of claims you are eligible for.
As you prepare for your first consultation session, there are specific questions you should ask your lawyer. These queries will help you prepare for your lawsuit and provide you with the necessary details you need to know what is in store for you. So be sure you touch upon these topics:
- What experience does the lawyer have?
You should have some insight into the lawyer you’re going to work with. Only a seasoned expert should handle a case as complex as a mesothelioma lawsuit. Ask your lawyer how long they’ve worked in the profession and what their win-to-loss ratio has been. This is extremely important as only a well-versed legal expert will be equipped to handle all your questions and know how to supercharge your claim.
- Can I sue as a veteran?
If you were in the armed forces back in the 1980s, there is a chance you got mesothelioma from your service. Weapons, ships, and even military headquarters had asbestos in them, so you were exposed whether you were in the navy or the air force. By consulting Mesothelioma Veterans Center, you will get the necessary details to file as a veteran.
A lawyer handling veteran affairs will also inform you what compensations are available for you as military personnel. However, bear in mind the lawsuit will be against the responsible asbestos companies and not the government or the military itself.
- When is the best time to file a lawsuit?
You should look into filing right after you’ve been diagnosed. Every state in the US has its statute of limitation. For instance, in New York, you have three years after receiving your diagnosis to file. However, it is in your best interest to contact your state’s top law firm as soon as possible.
- What is the duration of my case?
Most cases get settled within a year. But you may face delays if the defendants challenge your claim, refuse to compromise, or if you sue a large number of companies. The state you file in may also have a bearing on how fast or slow it will go.
- How will my personal injury claim get judged?
A personal injury case rarely goes to trial. Instead, most of them get settled out of court. Your claim may end up getting judged individually or as part of the multidistrict litigation. These are as follows:
- Individual lawsuits. These cases involve a single plaintiff who sues all asbestos companies related to the case.
- Multidistrict lawsuit. Your lawsuit will be grouped with other similar cases and presented to one judge. The total value of all the claims gets calculated, and you will receive a percentage of it.
- How much will I be compensated?
Your lawyer will best inform you of the ballpark figure your claim can win. However, most asbestos lawsuits will award you anything between $200,000 to $2,000,000. This will depend on the severity of your case, the damages you incurred, and the losses your family faced. You may also get disability compensation, access to veteran affairs healthcare services, or a special monthly compensation as a veteran.
- What evidence will I need to submit
Generally, you will need to submit your medical transcripts, doctors’ notes, medications used, financial statements, and diagnoses charts. If you are a veteran, you will need to show discharge papers to determine when you got exposed. If you worked in an asbestos company, you must deliver paperwork legitimizing your employment. Additional details depend on your case, and your lawyer should be able to provide more information.
- Can my family sue on my behalf?
Your illness may take a toll on you and prevent you from focusing on legal lawsuits. In such cases, your family can step in for you. If you’re alive but severely unwell, your siblings, partners, children, and parents can all take your place. They can file for loss of consortium a personal injury claim on your behalf. At the same time, if your family member has mesothelioma, you can also sue on their behalf.
- Will my family still get compensated if I pass away?
If you pass away after you filed but didn’t make it to the settlement, your family will get compensated. They will receive funds based on your medical expenses, both paid and unpaid, the number of dependents in your family, including those who are minor, and funeral expenses. If you pass away before you get the chance to file a lawsuit, your family will be eligible to file on your behalf. However, instead of a personal injury lawsuit, they will opt for a wrongful death lawsuit and be compensated accordingly.
- What additional resources does the lawyer have for me?
Besides being a good lawyer, you need to know what resources the law firm will offer you. These include nurses and doctors affiliated with the legal establishment who can verify and translate your medical transcript into evidence. You will also need access to police officers who can verify the authenticity of your documents. The resources can also include access to medical facilities that monitor your condition as you attempt to file.
- Can I file on a worker’s compensation?
You can file for worker’s compensation, but only other asbestos-related companies, not your direct employers, pay for your worker’s compensation.
- What is the cost breakdown?
Most mesothelioma lawyers will charge you on a contingency basis. This contingency fee will be about 30 to 40 percent of the total amount you will be awarded. If you lose the case, you don’t have to pay anything. However, some law firms have other costs you may need to pay. Your first consultation session is usually free, but some lawyers may charge for them. While the costs will vary with different legal experts. Here’s what you need to know:
- Flat fee. Certain law firms will charge you a flat fee to represent and get paid whether they win or lose the case.
- Hourly fee. A lawyer may charge you on an hourly basis which can be anything from about $200 to $1000.
- Filing expenses. A law firm will outline what costs you will need to bear. These include court filings, photocopies, and deposition transcripts. The legal establishment may also reimburse you for the total price, but you must discuss it with your lawyer.
Mesothelioma is an expensive case, so you don’t want to mess up the opportunity to make the most of your lawsuit. You should always ask your lawyers’ qualifications before deciding to trust them with your case. Your questions should include filing as a veteran, the evidence required, whether others can file on your behalf, and the timeline of your case. Don’t forget to ask how much you will win and how much the process will cost you. If there are any legal limitations to your case, like the statute of limitations, be sure you get information. With these questions, you will be ready to file a successful claim.