When diagnosed with an asbestos disease, it is very important that you quickly seek out a lawyer so you can file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out. With asbestos diseases like mesothelioma in which prognosis is often poor, then urgency is even more important. You should never let the urgency of choosing an asbestos lawyer get in the way of you making the best possible decision though. When you have an initial consultation with an asbestos lawyer, make sure that you are covering all of the bases. Here are some questions which you should ask an asbestos lawyer.
Questions about Experience and Resources
- How many asbestos disease cases has the lawyer litigated? How many were won? Also, how many asbestos disease cases has the firm litigated and won? Because of the complexities of asbestos cases, you should only choose a lawyer who specifically has experience with asbestos litigations.
- How much compensation has your firm won for asbestos cases? Make sure you ask about the specific details of each case as they relate to the amount won. For example, whether the case was settled in or out of court, was the disease life threatening, etc.
- How many asbestos disease lawsuits were taken to trial? Asbestos lawsuits most commonly settled out of court but trials will typically give much larger awards. If the defendant knows that your asbestos lawyer has trial experience, you are more likely to be offered a larger settlement.
- How eager is your firm to take on my case? You want to make sure that your asbestos lawyer and his/her firm is eager to take on your case and invest considerable resources in it. Otherwise, you may not get the best possible services.
- What is your current case load? Never choose an asbestos lawyer who is litigating many cases at once. Asbestos disease lawsuits are complex and will require the full attention of your lawyer. If your lawyer is litigating other cases, make sure that he/she has adequate support for all of the cases – such as a qualified legal team to do research.
- How many people will be working on my case and what are their qualifications? While you may only have one main lawyer working in your interest, there will be several people working on your case. Find out how many people are working for you and their experience. Regardless of the amount of people, make sure you know that your asbestos lawyer is directly working on your case and not just delegating the responsibilities to others who are less qualified.
- What resources does the firm have for asbestos litigation? Lawyers and firms experienced in asbestos disease litigation should have adequate resources on hand like databases of asbestos manufacturers and expert witnesses on call.
Questions about Your Specific Case
- How much time do I have to file my claim? What if I need to start treatment before then?
- How long will it take to file my claim? Once the claim is filed, what happens next? Some cases can be settled very quickly out of court while other asbestos lawsuits may need to go to trial. This can take a lot of time and preparation.
- How long before I receive compensation? The length of time before you receive compensation can vary considerably. Make sure you get an estimate for settlement and for trial. Also, be sure you ask about how long after settlement/trial it will take before you or your family receives compensation. States each have their own specific laws about this.
- What compensation can I expect? No asbestos lawyer will be able to give you an exact amount of expect compensation. Rather, the lawyer should be able to give you an approximate range based on the specificities of your case and related case history.
- What is expected of me during litigation? As a victim of an asbestos disease, you may not be able to participate in your lawsuit because of medical demands. Find out what is expect of you to help the case, such as documenting the disease progress, finding work history, or handing over medical records. Also ask about how you will be updated about the progress of the case. This can alleviate the stress of worrying about a lawsuit and asbestos disease treatment concurrently.
- What happens if I die before the case is settled? Unfortunately, the possibility of death before settlement must be considered when filing a lawsuit for asbestos diseases. Discuss what will happen if you die before your lawsuit is resolved. Often, your case will then be re-filed as a wrongful death case by your family who will be able to receive compensation.
Other Questions Related to Asbestos Diseases
- What other services do you provide related to asbestos diseases? Aside from lawsuits for compensation, there are many other legal matters related to asbestos diseases. By using one legal firm for all of these legalities, you can save yourself time and stress. See if the asbestos lawyer has resources for estate planning, preparing a living will, setting up trusts, or funeral planning. If not, see if the lawyer can offer a referral.