Choosing a mesothelioma lawyer
Diagnosis of mesothelioma is shocking, especially considering the fact that in most cases it is diagnosed in later stages and prognosis is poor. Mesothelioma is primarily caused due to exposure to asbestos at the job, and the person and family are compensated for the health harm caused due to the occupation.
After a diagnosis of mesothelioma starts the difficult task of fighting with the disease, and at the same time looking for various legal options, although one can learn about multiple options through online resources, in the end, one would need the well-experienced lawyer. There are many legal options, and understanding them by self could be quite intimidating.
Mesothelioma lawyer should be “Experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate, and should have proven winning track record.” Such a lawyer would not only help get enough compensation to cover up the medical bills but would also help get sufficient payment for the family. Mesothelioma lawsuits can be quite complicated due to too many options.
No doubt that treatment of cancer itself is costly. Moreover, diagnosis of mesothelioma is not merely about treatment expenses. Its diagnosis is a massive shock for the family, it invariably means reduced lifespan even if a person diagnosed with mesothelioma is in good shape and the person has been diagnosed early. It is also shocking to learn that it is cancer that could have been prevented. Therefore, one must be compensated for suffering from something that is preventable.
As with any lawsuit, just any lawyer would not do in a mesothelioma-related trial. Lawyers specialize in one field or another. Winning a mesothelioma lawsuit is not simple, but even more difficult is getting proper compensation. It is vital for the patient and family that the legal process is hassle-free as no one would like to add one more burden. As for the patient and family necessary is to focus on the treatment and health.
A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer would promptly explain all the options, would explain in details the upsides and downsides of all the legal options. A talented lawyer would help to make the best decision and would be able to handle the case from start to finish.
Experts advise that “one should choose a legal attorney for mesothelioma with the same seriousness as a good cancer specialist or hospital for the treatment of mesothelioma. As a cardiologist is of little value in mesothelioma treatment, similarly just any lawyer would not do.”
On the brighter side, mesothelioma and its causes are now well understood or established. Thousands of cases have already been won and billions given in compensations. Moreover, unlike other occupational diseases in case of mesothelioma, there are special funds holding billions of dollars for payment – it means that mesothelioma lawsuits are settled faster if the lawyer is experienced enough.
It is an experienced attorney who can immediately tell the type of lawsuit to file. Thus if a person is a military veteran than lawyer knows that claim should be filed with the US Department of veterans affairs.
Why look for an experienced lawyer?
Due to the specific nature of mesothelioma lawsuits, for an experienced lawyer legal battle can be quick and straightforward. On the other hand, a non-experienced lawyer may not even know the available options.
- The experienced lawyer has better resources and thus can handle the complexities of a mesothelioma lawsuit. He/she will be able to tell the type of suit to file and types of compensations available. In fact, an experienced lawyer can even give estimates of compensation that one can expect, and the period required for that.
- Choose a lawyer who is compassionate about the job and understands the problems of the client. An experienced lawyer would ensure that either he/she or their representative is always with you, helping to collect the documents and assist whenever necessary. Moreover, the good law firm would ensure that you spend the minimum time in a law court and would ensure that you need to come to the court only when it is essential. On the other hand, a non-experienced lawyer may merely give you a list of documents to be collected, and you would be entirely on your own to arrange for all the papers. Worst of all, if the lawyer is not experienced, you may need to spend too much time visiting courts.
- Find a lawyer who is knowledgeable. Getting compensation for mesothelioma is not regarded as troublesome. But proving the fact of exposure to asbestos at a job is quite complicated. Moreover, an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can bring the case forward in such a manner that one gets the maximum compensation. A knowledgeable lawyer would be expert in asbestos exposure and would know every way in which a person can get exposed to it. Sometimes, even the client may have difficulty in recalling the times when he or she was exposed to asbestos as mesothelioma is diagnosed decades after the primary exposure. Thus in some cases, work of lawyer may be more like a detective, helping the person to identify the exact cause of mesothelioma.
- An experienced lawyer would have a winning track record. It is perhaps the most important way to verify if the lawyer is knowledgeable of the subject or not. Very few lawyers of law firms would ever say that they do not have ample knowledge or experience of handling such cases. However, one should insist on the proof that the lawyer or law firm has dealt with such matters and were able to get reasonable compensation for the clients.
What is covered in legal compensation?
Your legal attorney does not make decisions regarding compensations. Thus he/she or law firm would always be cautious telling anything in this regard. Nonetheless, one of the signs of an experienced lawyer is the ability to say the probability of winning the lawsuit and expected compensation along with the time frame.
For the patient, it is essential to understand that such lawsuit would not cover just costs of treatment. Any mesothelioma related suit would also include lost wages (it means that lots would depend on the average salary of the person and age). The lawsuit would cover travel expenses, caregiver costs, funeral expenses, therapy and grief support, and other expenses not covered by insurance.
Therefore, it is vital to collect the documents regarding proof of income (if the person was working at the time of diagnosis), one would need to maintain all the records regarding expenses. Further, a mesothelioma lawsuit would not include merely compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, but it would also cover punitive damages. In some cases, punitive damages may be more significant than other rewards, especially if the company against which the lawsuit filed is big, and a lawyer can prove that the company knew about such health risks and still did not take enough measures.
What are the legal options?
Mesothelioma lawsuits differ from other trials in a way that cancer has been caused due to asbestos exposure, something that is wholly preventable. Moreover, in the majority of cases employer knew about such health risks and still failed to inform the employee or take adequate measures. It explains why the compensations in mesothelioma-related lawsuits are significant and the legal process is brisk. After all, we are talking about causing injury to another person intentionally. It is the reason that there are many ways to settle the claims in quite a short period, and in many cases plaintiff may not need to set foot in the court. In many cases, things may be settled out-of-court, or one may get compensation from the funds set apart for such rewards.
Depending on the laws of the county of the state, one can file a different kind of lawsuits. It is also vital to understand that in case of death of a person his or her family can still file a claim for compensation. Thus there are two types of lawsuits, and an experienced lawyer can help by submitting one of them.
- Personal injury claim– it’s a lawsuit in which a person diagnosed with mesothelioma files against the company or group of organizations, whom the applicant considers being responsible for the injury.
- Wrongful death suit– in many cases diagnosis of mesothelioma may be quite late. In such cases, a family of the person can file the wrongful death suit.
Filing a claim outside the court – Trust claim
Quite often a person may find that the company or job during which he or she was exposed to asbestos has become bankrupt long ago. However, in such cases govt. has created special trusts that have enough funds to settle the claims. It is estimated that such trusts have more than 30 billion dollars in funds.
VA benefits for military veterans
Military is one organization that continues to use asbestos made products to some extent even to date. Thus military veterans can claim for coverage of health care costs and monthly disability compensation. As per 2016 data, a monthly allowance of a single veteran (without children) could be about 2900 USD per month, while the married veteran can expect even higher.
Further, it is vital to understand that in case of death of a veteran from proven asbestos exposure even family (spouse or children) can file a claim for monthly compensation – called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit.
Pros and Cons of out-of-court settlements
Such settlements are common in cases of mesothelioma. For the applicant, it means getting compensation quickly, and without the need of going through the lengthy legal battle. On the other hand, in the case of trial one may expect higher compensation, though such a case can be lengthy. Moreover, even after winning the case it may still take a long time to get compensated. Only an experienced lawyer can tell which path to use in a particular situation.
Isn’t an experienced attorney going to charge a lot?
Protracted legal battles are often expensive for the plaintiff; thus this question is natural. Fortunately, in most cases, one may not need to pay any fee out-of-pocket, as experienced lawyers would work on a contingency fee basis. It means that you only pay if the case is won, else you pay nothing. In such case, all you need to agree is the percentage of compensation that you would share with a lawyer. Such an arrangement is often preferred by applicants as it means that lawyer would only file a suit when there is a high probability of winning the case.
Further, there is a need to understand that most law firms would provide the free consultation. Thus one should not make a mistake of delaying the legal battle. In many cases, a person thinks that he or she should first concentrate on the health issues and the lawsuit can be filed later on. However, it is always best to do both the things together. In the case of an experienced lawyer or law firm, it would not cause much burden on the person living with mesothelioma.
Therefore, it is essential to understand that association between the asbestos exposure and mesothelioma is well-established fact. An experienced lawyer knows which legal path to choose so that to win a legal battle in the adequate timeframe and still not to compromise on the amount of compensation. These legal claims are filed against the companies for their negligence and not against the government. Thus there is nothing to worry about. Moreover, it is highly possible that one may get compensated out-of-court.
Major mesothelioma verdicts
If you are still unsure about how fast the things can move when the lawyer is experienced, search online for some major verdicts on mesothelioma. That would also help you to choose the best option. Consider the case of Rhoda Evans, who developed the mesothelioma due to the nature of her husband’s job. Her husband Bobby Evans was an employee with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and his job included cutting asbestos-containing pipes. Bobby Evans and his family were neither aware nor told about the risks of asbestos exposure. In the case, Bobby Evans wife Rhoda developed mesothelioma as he brought the particles of asbestos every day to home through the clothing. In the case, the family received the compensation for economic loss, compensation for pain and suffering and punitive compensation, totaling $208 million.