It's not unusual to feel nervous and somewhat confused when you decide to take mesothelioma legal action. We've developed a list of Legal Process FAQs, a list of questions that our past clients have frequently asked because you may have many of the same questions. The list below gives some additional insight on what to expect when filing a mesothelioma claim.
These are the main preliminary steps you will go through when filing a mesothelioma claim:
1. Preliminary Interview
The first step is to meet with your mesothelioma attorney for a detailed interview. He or she will ask you very specific questions, and your answers will help determine if you have a case. Some of the questions might be:
- Why, how, when and where did you receive your mesothelioma diagnosis? The more details you provide, the more your lawyer will be able to tell if your case can be successful.
- How, when, where and why were you exposed to asbestos? Your attorney knows how to help you review your life and work history to get the most accurate information even if you don't have a clear memory.
- How is your condition affecting your life and the lives of your family members? Describe the physical, financial, and emotional effects.
2. Formal Agreement of Representation
Once you've completed choosing a mesothelioma attorney, you will be asked to agree in writing to the terms you discuss. In order to support your case, you will also most likely need to authorize your attorney to access personal records such as medical and social security. Sometimes your attorney may call upon strategic partners to assist with the case.
Pursuing an asbestos law suit
After your initial work on pursuing an asbestos lawsuit, your attorney will tell you what to expect as you continue with the process. Next steps will include:
3. Follow-Up Interviews and Conversations
As your attorney builds your case you will be called on for additional information. For example, your law firm might need your help identifying people (doctors, family members, friends and co-workers) who can provide information to support your case.
4. File the Case
Once steps 1-3 are complete, your mesothelioma attorney will analyze all the available information in order to make a strategic decision about your most viable course of action including where to file the case. Sometimes, the location in which a case is filed can have a critical impact on its outcome. Once the decision is made, your case is filed with the courts.
Discovery is the formal legal process for collecting evidence about your case. It begins after the case is filed and is conducted under the rules of Court. Discovery includes research and an exchange of information and testimony. It is during this step that your attorney develops a game plan. The plan, or case strategy, includes identifying the required evidence, the witnesses you need to give depositions (testimony) and the negotiating strategy your attorney will use to try to negotiate a settlement of your case. At the same time, your attorney is also preparing your case for trial. Even though most cases settle before going to court, the better prepared you and your attorney are for a trial, the better settlement you are likely to achieve.
During the discovery phase, periodically your law firm will ask you to provide more information or to verify information already provided. Your law firm should also give you updates on the status of your case. You and any witnesses you have decided to use may be asked to give depositions during this phase.
The final phase of your mesothelioma claim
The final phase of your mesothelioma claim will be the court decision or negotiated settlement. The following describes what to expect in this phase:
6. Settlement or Trial
Most cases settle outside of court because a negotiated settlement is usually better for both sides than the uncertainty of a verdict. If your case should go to trial, you can expect the trial to take two weeks or more.
The entire legal process can often take two to three years from start to finish. It may take weeks or months to coordinate depositions, attend hearings, and obtain evidence during the discovery process. In addition, court dockets (schedules) can be a factor, sometimes requiring that trials be scheduled two years or more in advance.
Though the process can be lengthy, you do not have to feel lost or alone. If HendlerLaw represents you, everyone on our staff will be there to support you—providing information, assistance and counsel—through each step of the process. When you work with HendlerLaw, you're not alone.
Please contact us if you have questions or need more information. HendlerLaw has been successfully representing victims of mesothelioma for more than 15 years. Call us 24 hours a day at 800.443.6353 or e-mail us at email@example.com.