Questions to Ask a Mesothelioma Attorney
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you deserve compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. To get all the compensation the law entitles you to receive, you need the help of a dedicated and experienced mesothelioma attorney.
It’s important that you choose a lawyer who you feel confident will do a great job and who is someone you feel comfortable working with. A good lawyer will offer to meet with you for free to answer your questions before you decide whether to hire him or her.
You should feel free to ask any questions you may have. There are probably things you have been wondering about for a while. A consultation with a mesothelioma lawyer will give you the chance to finally get your questions answered, find out what your legal options are, and hopefully give you some peace of mind, knowing that you are taking action to get the help you need.
In addition to the questions you may already have thought about, you should also ask the attorney these important questions during your consultation:
1. What experience do you and your firm have with mesothelioma cases?
Experience handling mesothelioma cases or cases involving other diseases caused by asbestos is important.
2. My exposure to asbestos happened a long time ago. Is it too late to sue?
There are deadlines for when you can file a mesothelioma lawsuit, but the clock starts ticking from the time you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, not the time you were exposed to asbestos.
3. What’s involved in a mesothelioma lawsuit, and what do I have to do?
The lawyer should give you an overview of the different parts of a mesothelioma lawsuit, including filing the case, investigating the facts, depositions, expert witnesses, negotiations, and, if necessary, preparing for and conducting a trial. The lawyer should explain which parts you need to take an active role in and what you can do to prepare.
4. How long will my case take?
Every case is different, but the attorney can give you a range for how long cases like yours usually take.
5. How much money can I expect to receive?
The average settlement in a mesothelioma case is $1 million. Some cases settle for much more, and jury awards can go even higher. Many factors influence how much you are likely to receive. The attorney can explain these factors but won’t be able to give you an exact dollar amount during the consultation. After you file a lawsuit, and your legal team investigates the facts, your attorney will have a better idea of what you may expect to receive.
6. Will my case go to trial or will it settle? Do you have courtroom experience?
Most mesothelioma cases do settle without a courtroom trial, but your attorney should be prepared to go to trial if necessary.
7. Who can I sue?
In mesothelioma cases, you may be able to sue more than one company. For example, you may be able to sue:
- The manufacturer of the products that caused your asbestos exposure.
- The manufacture of protective equipment you used that failed to protect you.
- The company that owned your worksite, if that was not your direct employer.
- Companies employing people who were responsible for safety conditions at your worksite, if they were not your direct employer.
In cases involving illness caused by asbestos exposure, your mesothelioma legal team may need to conduct extensive investigations to find out who has legal responsibility for events that may have happened a long time ago. This is an important part of the case. While the attorney won’t be able to give a detailed answer at your initial consultation, he or she should explain the different types of defendants you may be able to sue.
8. Can I sue if I’m getting workers’ compensation?
You may be able to sue companies that were not your direct employer even if you get workers’ compensation from your employer.
9. My spouse died of mesothelioma. Can I file a lawsuit?
You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. During the consultation, the attorney should explain how that works.
10. How much do you charge?
You should get a full explanation of attorneys’ fees before you sign a contract to have an attorney represent you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is something that isn’t completely clear. Most lawyers charge contingency fees for asbestos cases, which means that you won’t have to pay anything upfront. Instead, the lawyer will be paid a percentage of your settlement or court award.
If the lawyer charges a contingency fee, ask:
- What percentage do you charge for your fee? Many lawyers charge 33% of the settlement or award.
- Do you advance costs such as court filing fees and get reimbursed for them later from the settlement?
- What happens if the case doesn’t settle or go to trial?
11. Do I have a good case?
The lawyer will have questions for you too. After talking with you and finding out more about your situation, the lawyer will be able to evaluate your case.
After the consultation, you should have a much better idea of what is involved in a mesothelioma lawsuit. You will be better prepared to decide if you want to file a lawsuit and, if so, who you want to choose to be your lawyer to represent you. Before you sign a representation agreement, be sure that the attorney gives you clear answers to your questions and that you feel comfortable working with the lawyer and the law firm.
The Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer law firm has been fighting for justice for our clients for 50 years. Our attorneys have repeatedly been named in lists of the best lawyers locally and nationally. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or with another disease related to asbestos exposure, we would be glad to talk to you. Call us at 1-800-535-1797 for a free, confidential consultation.
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