The mesothelioma lawsuit process begins with consulting an attorney and gathering information. For instance, victims will need medical records of their diagnosis, employment records and evidence around asbestos exposure. Lawyers will assist you throughout the process, providing guidance and representation.
By filing a lawsuit, plaintiffs may be able to receive compensation.
Step 1: Receive a Free Consultation
Before filing a lawsuit, a mesothelioma law firm typically provides a free consultation to talk about the process. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and express any concerns you may have.
The consultation also gives your law firm the opportunity to understand more about how you or your loved one might have been exposed to asbestos. You’ll then discuss your medical history, including your diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.
Step 2: Research the Details of Your Lawsuit
Once the initial consultation is completed, your mesothelioma lawyer will start collecting information and documents. This will help build your case to make it as strong as possible. To build a strong mesothelioma lawsuit, your attorney will assist in collecting:
Medical reports: Medical records confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis and provide verification of treatment costs. These records should come from facilities where the patient received diagnosis or treatment for mesothelioma.
Employment history: Records from any jobs with potential asbestos exposure are vital for building a case. This may include military service records, union memberships or any other work-history documentation.
Witness statements: Statements from coworkers, family members and friends who can testify about your exposure can be helpful. Other parties, such as industry experts and specialists, can also provide strong evidence.
Before filing a complaint, it is also important to choose the most appropriate venue to file. A venue is the state where your case will be handled. Factors that can impact which venue is best for your lawsuit include:
Statute of limitations
Settlement and verdict history
Local and state laws
Plaintiffs may file a mesothelioma lawsuit where they have lived, worked or served in the military. There are also “open forum” states that may allow filing if no other suitable venue is available. A lawyer can help decide the best venue for an individual’s case. Your mesothelioma attorney will help the process of organizing the details of your case go smoothly.
Step 3: Determine Your Recovery Options
Your asbestos attorneys will investigate different possibilities for compensation. In addition to lawsuit verdict awards, compensation may be available through asbestos trust funds, settlements or veterans’ claims.
Your legal team will provide guidance about the best course of action for your case. In some instances, this may include both filing a lawsuit and pursuing trust claims. An experienced attorney will help navigate these options to give asbestos victims the best chance of receiving compensation.
Step 4: File the Lawsuit
After conducting research and determining a venue, your lawyer will file a formal complaint on your behalf. This complaint will detail legal causes of action against the defendants. The number of defendants named in the complaint will depend on your asbestos exposure history. Some individuals may have come into contact with various types of asbestos at several jobs and will name all of these employers in a lawsuit.
Step 5: Begin the Discovery Phase
Upon filing the lawsuit, the legal process will move to the discovery phase. In this phase, your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will present information to support each side of the case. Both sides will file various motions, often with the intent of reaching a financial settlement before the case goes to trial.
Step 6: Reach Resolution Through a Settlement or Verdict
Some complaints will be settled before going to trial. Mesothelioma settlement amounts average $1 million – $1.4 million. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf if a settlement is offered.
If the mesothelioma lawsuit does go to trial, your attorney can guide you through the process. A trial may result in a verdict in your favor. The average verdict for asbestos cases is $2.4 million.