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Mesothelioma Lawyers San Diego
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos and you believe someone else is responsible for the condition, you might want to consider filing a lawsuit. With that, you can recover payment for pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of consortium and medical expenses.
You might have a case if your exposure to asbestos occurred on a job site, particularly if you worked in construction, plumbing, shipbuilding, mining, milling and manufacturing. In addition, you also could have been indirectly exposed to asbestos.
For example, children and spouses of asbestos-exposed workers are known to develop the devastating disease because the workers carried asbestos fibers and dust home on their hair, skin and clothes.
What gives these cases their power is that the dangers of asbestos have been known for decades, but companies that made and used asbestos-containing products sometimes conspired to keep their workers in the dark. As a result, those companies did not always provide adequate protective gear.
If you decide to pursue a lawsuit against one of these companies because of its negligence, you must prove that the business knew it was putting its workers and their families at risk. You must also prove that it did nothing to mitigate the problem.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always easy. Mesothelioma’s long latency period, as well as the wide range of possible asbestos-containing products that caused the illness, can make establishing liability very difficult.
To get around that issue, some people identify a multitude of possible plaintiffs in their cases. Whether that is the best approach for you is best left to an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Although mesothelioma law is a very narrow specialty, many law firms and lawyers focus on fighting these kinds of cases.
The lawyer you choose will tell you whether you have a case, how much it could be worth and how long you have to file a suit.
Your attorney will also explain all of the potential outcomes of your case and make sure you understand the possibilities before you begin the process.
Typically, a mesothelioma lawsuit can be filed within two years of diagnosis, although the time limit can vary by state. You may file if you are the affected party or if you are the executor of the estate of a loved one who passed from mesothelioma.
Hopefully, the result of mesothelioma litigation will either be a settlement or a recovery that makes dealing with this condition a bit easier.
Mesothelioma Case Value
Treating mesothelioma is costly, so victims of this painful disease should understand the monetary value of a possible settlement from a lawsuit.
With a sizeable settlement, mesothelioma victims can not only have enough money to pay for treatment costs, but also afford other related medical costs and innovative procedures that may not otherwise be covered by insurance. Because of this, it is worth pursuing legal action.
Do You Have a Case?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are looking for compensation from the responsible party, you first need to determine whether your case is valid. An attorney who specializes in mesothelioma lawsuits can review your situation and provide an assessment. In doing so, a lawyer will likely ask several questions:
Do you have a diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestosis?
Both of these medical conditions are an important indicator of whether you have ever been exposed to asbestos, which will be a key requirement to successfully claiming damages.
Were you employed in a field that put you at risk for asbestos exposure?
Such occupations include construction, electrical work and shipbuilding. Jobs that have a history of asbestos exposure and the resulting medical complications are very important to this process.
What is your prognosis?
When determining your case, you need to have a clear understanding of your medical expenses. This includes whether you need to modify your home because of your condition, hire an in-home caregiver and require other accommodations.
Choosing an Attorney
Another important factor is making sure you have qualified attorney. Your attorney should have the knowledge and legal expertise necessary to win your case, including an deep understanding of mesothelioma law and lawsuits. In addition, your lawyer should have enough experience to win this case. [subhead]How Long Does it Take to Receive Compensation?
While each case is different, a verdict can usually be reached fairly quickly. If your lawyer can easily prove that the company you’re suing is responsible for your condition, the case can be wrapped up without haste. After this, attorneys will determine the financial compensation, or damages, you will receive.
If your case does go to trial and the jury finds the defendant guilty, the jury will then determine your level of compensation, which is usually based on case history and benchmarks. These monetary values vary drastically, and your lawyer will shed light on the expected range. Keep in mind that some settlement has been substantial, including a U.S. Steel $250 million settlement, a Foster Wheeler Corporation $33.7 million settlement and a Shell Oil Company settlement for $34.1 million to an employee with pleural mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Law Firms
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be considering bringing a lawsuit against those responsible. Finding a good law firm to represent you can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
What to Ask When Researching Law Firms
When you are looking into law firms, first check their credentials. Most mesothelioma law firms will readily tell prospective clients about their track records and successes.
Find out how many mesothelioma trials the firm has been through as well as how many cases have been settled out of court. Ask how many cases they lost or couldn’t settle.
This information will help you establish whether a specific firm is credible. However, keep in mind that a perfect track record doesn’t guarantee you a substantial settlement, and a less-than-stellar record doesn’t mean you won’t be successful.
Second, ask the firm who would handle your case. Will a team of attorneys and paralegals work on your file, or will a clerk do most of the work? Will the lawyers work alone, in pairs or in a large team? Will your case stand-alone or be part of a class action? Once you find that out, you can ask more detailed questions about your attorneys.
You’ll want to know where that person or group of people attended college and law school and how long each has been practicing law. You’ll also want to know how much of that time has been spent handling mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses. What types of experts will the attorney use? What are their credentials?
Third, do some digging about the firm’s reputation. Ask around, visit mesothelioma websites, chat rooms, and Internet forums to see if other victims know anything about the firm.
See if you can find others who were represented by the firm and learn their outcome and opinion. Word of mouth can be the best referral, but it can also reveal bad experiences.
Lastly, ask the firm if it thinks your case is viable and what its value might be. If the amount is worth pursuing, find out what approach the firm would take. Look into the firm’s fees and billing processes, such as whether you need to pay upfront for a retainer or if the firm will take a percentage of your settlement.
Also ask what happens if you lose — will you be held financially liable for any attorney’s fees? In addition, talk with them about what plan of attack would be most reasonable. Ask about your odds of winning a settlement without going to trial as well as how long it might take to prepare.
Do your homework, find out as much as possible about the people who will be involved, ask what they think of your situation, how they would handle it and what they think about your settlement chances. Once you have all of that information, you can decide whether you want to work with that firm or if you need to move to the next one on your list.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims
With scores of patients being diagnosed with mesothelioma annually after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace, many have turned to the court system for legal justice and financial compensation.
While many patients have been successful in their asbestos litigation and received millions of dollars in compensation, actually getting those settlements is not always easy.
In some cases, the manufacturers of asbestos products, faced with an overwhelming number of lawsuits, have filed for bankruptcy protection. When this happens, the company must submit a reorganization plan to its creditors and the court.
Part of that plan includes setting up trusts that process, settle and pay all legitimate mesothelioma personal injury claims through measures accepted by the bankruptcy court.
Those plaintiffs who file claims against these companies and win must file for restitution against the trust instead of the actual company. Although the money is still coming from the company, the company legally cannot write the check; the trust must do it.
How Trusts Pay Claims
The trust, run by a board of trustees, can’t pay claims to the plaintiff until the court approves the bankruptcy plan. This can slow the payment of the asbestos bankruptcy trust claims. This process is slowed even further given the sheer number of claims and the complexities of the cases. Once the trustees receives the green light and the court approves the trust distribution procedures, payments can begin.
It is important to note that both medical and asbestos exposure requirements are different for each trust and that claims are paid out on the current payment percentage. Usually, the trust managers decide the settlement value of the claim and assigns a payment percentage — a fraction of the total worth.
Overall, asbestos bankruptcy trust claims are becoming more and more common, especially as the number of victims of asbestos exposure is increasing. Many juries are awarding substantial judgments against the asbestos manufacturers especially if the companies knowingly exposed workers to this toxic substance. This makes working with a trust very likely.