Legal How-To: Steps to Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
For anyone who has developed the terminal cancer mesothelioma, a lawsuit is not just an option but is a highly recommended step towards legal recourse and financial stability. Mesothelioma is rare, but of the estimated 3000 people who are diagnosed annually in the United States, at least 90 percent are believed to have been exposed to asbestos. In such cases, a responsible party may owe damages to the victim of exposure—a possibility that can be pursued through the counsel and guidance of an asbestos cancer lawyer.
Below, you will find the basic steps necessary for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit outlined, with details explaining each.
Step 1: Hire an attorney to represent you.
Your first step towards compensation is to find and retain a qualified lawyer to represent you and your interests in court. You may want to ask for referrals from other people that have been in your shoes—namely, former co-workers who experienced the same exposure and garnered the same diagnosis. You can also research firms in your area online—just beware of advertisements and solicitations. Attorneys can be a dime a dozen—you want to make sure that the one behind you is qualified and knowledgeable with a strong history of successful cases behind him or her.
Step 2: File the claim.
Your attorney will handle much of this part of the legal journey. He or she will draft the appropriate paperwork and—with your input—determine which court is ideal for filing your mesothelioma lawsuit. He or she will need your help in pinpointing exactly where, when and how you were exposed to the deadly carcinogen asbestos, in order to decide whom the responsible party is and file your claim against that entity. Fortunately, you won’t have too much on your to-do list for this part of the process.
Step 3: Compile and present to your lawyer all necessary documentation backing your claim.
Your lawyer will need medical records, showing validation of your mesothelioma diagnosis. He or she will also need documentation proving the exposure that caused you to fall ill—essentially proof that you came into contact with asbestos and that the particular party you have filed against is, in fact, responsible for that contact. This part can be lengthy, extensive, detailed and complex. Be sure to offer full cooperation and respond to any requests your attorney may send you promptly and efficiently. These documents (as well as your sworn testimony) will be part of both the discovery process and, later, the proceedings that take place at trial.
Step 4: Either communicate with your attorney to coordinate a settlement or participate in the trial for your case.
Your attorney will be your advocate and guide through either path that your case takes. Basically, a mesothelioma lawsuit will come to a head in one of two scenarios: either your lawyer will negotiate a settlement on your behalf (and with your input) or he or she will represent you in court, where a jury or a judge will make the final ruling regarding your compensation. In either case, your attorney will be in close contact with you and should keep you involved along the way.