A Guide to Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit: The Basics
If you are a victim of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you are also likely a victim of corporate negligence their best opportunity to recover some of the losses incurred as a result of the disease. Throughout the 20th century, millions of innocent people were knowingly exposed to a toxic carcinogen by the companies that profited of off it manufacture, sale and distribution.
You now have the opportunity to file personal injury claim and collect compensatory damages for the medical expenses, lost wages and suffering that you’ve endured as a result of this corporate carelessness. While it may at first seem intimidating, the claim-filing process is relatively simple and straightforward and the following three-part series is dedicated to helping you understand how to proceed.
The process of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit involves three or four overarching steps, which are taken with the constant guidance of an attorney that specializes in what are called toxic tort cases. (More on what exactly an asbestos attorney is and how to choose one later.) The sections below outline the gist of those key steps to pursuing a claim and compensation in a simple and easy to understand format.
One: File a Claim
Your attorney will first determine the validity and strength of your case. If it deemed to have sufficient weight, he or she (with your input) will identify both who the defendant(s)in your case are and which court(s) the claim should be filed in. With the help of support staff, will draft the paperwork and then file your claim with the court clerk(s). Once the proper documents have been filed, the defendant(s) named therein will be notified of the suit via a process server for the court.
Two: Engage in Discovery
Once served, the defendant(s) will have a set amount of time to enter a response with the court—in most cases, the suit is challenged. If so, both parties then engage in what is called the discovery process, which is essentially an exchange of information intended to facilitate the collection and sharing of evidence in a way that maintains transparency and ensure adequate trial preparation. Even before filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, your attorney will (with your participation) collect the necessary evidence to back your claim—including documentation of your diagnosis and proof of past exposure. You will also likely give a deposition to preserve your testimony, which will be included in the discovery response submitted by your attorney to the other side.
Three and Four: Negotiate a Settlement or Go to Trial
In most cases, the defendant(s) will admit some degree of liability either during or after discovery and offer an asbestos settlement to you through your attorney. There will generally then be some back and forth, as lawyers for the respective parties attempt to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both. You can get an idea of how much you might expect to receive in a mediated settlement agreement receive asking your attorney before even filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.
Finally, cases in which no settlement can be reached will proceed to trial with a final judgment being handed down and enforced by the court. In this scenario, your claim will either be denied, or you will receive a trial award – the amount of which is determined by the judge or jury assigned to your case.