A mesothelioma diagnosis can prove devastating. You may find yourself dealing with serious health concerns and a long road to recovery. Unfortunately, a mesothelioma diagnosis often comes years, or even decades, after the initial asbestos exposure. Choosing the right attorney to help you with your claim can prove essential.
Many people, however, may not know what to look for in a mesothelioma lawyer. By carefully considering these criteria, you can select a lawyer that fits your unique needs better.
Start with a lawyer with experience in mesothelioma claims.
Mesothelioma claims may look very different than other types of injury claims. If you need to file a mesothelioma claim, you may find yourself dealing with challenges that other personal injury victims might not face.
In many personal injury cases, you must file a claim before the statute of limitations expires. That means you must file a claim within around three years of the initial event. However, your claim may look a little different when it comes to a mesothelioma claim. Your last exposure to asbestos may have occurred years before you ever have symptoms. The latency period of mesothelioma may mean as much as 50 years before you develop those symptoms.
That means your claim may look very different from a claim for an incident that occurred just weeks or months ago. You may find yourself fighting much harder to establish that you deserve compensation for the challenges you have faced due to your asbestos exposure.
The medical bills associated with a mesothelioma claim may look slightly different from those related to a typical personal injury claim. Where most personal injury victims find themselves dealing with things like emergency room bills and the cost of surgery, mesothelioma victims may have more long-term treatment costs, including hospitalization.
When choosing a lawyer to help with your claim, you need a lawyer who understands the specific medical bills necessary to help you recover from mesothelioma and who will help you lay out those medical bills clearly and concisely.
To establish your right to compensation following a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may need to show precisely when mesothelioma exposure occurred. Sometimes, collecting all the evidence related to your claim may not be easy, especially if you have worked with asbestos-containing materials for a long time throughout your career.
You need a lawyer who understands the evidence necessary to process your mesothelioma claim and can help you collect that evidence to maximize your odds of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Working with a lawyer who has experience dealing with mesothelioma claims can make the entire claim process much easier and ensure that it progresses more smoothly.
Consider the lawyer’s communication style and how convenient the firm makes it to get in touch.
You will need to communicate regularly with your lawyer throughout your mesothelioma claim. You want a lawyer whose communication style fits well with your own: one who will get in touch with you in a timely, convenient way, who will answer your questions when you have them, and who will work to ensure that you have the information you need to proceed effectively and confidently with your claim.
Furthermore, you may want to work with a lawyer who communicates the same way you prefer to get in touch, whether by email, text, or calls. Get a feel for how the lawyer communicates before you sign your contract, and make sure you ask questions during your initial consultation.
Look for a law firm with the resources needed to fight for the compensation you deserve, if required.
Sometimes, mesothelioma claims can turn out more complicated than anticipated. Even though you clearly deserve compensation for your injuries and losses, you may end up fighting with the liable party or the liable party’s insurance company to get that much-deserved compensation.
When you have to fight for the compensation you deserve, you need a law firm that will stand up for you and help fight on your behalf: a firm that can help you obtain full compensation for your injuries and losses.
That may mean looking for a firm with the resources you need to bring to that fight. You need a firm that can stand up to the big names in construction or insurance if necessary. If the firm does not have the resources needed to fight on your behalf, you may find it much more challenging to get the full compensation you really deserve for your losses.
Seek a law firm with the proper credentials to take on your case.
Pay attention to the law firm’s credentials and recognitions. Does the law firm receive recognition within the local community? Has the law firm handled high-profile claims in the past? What awards has the lawyer or law firm received? By taking a careful look at those elements before you begin your case, you will often find that you can choose a lawyer with the skills and resources needed to handle your claim successfully.
Determine whether the firm has the availability necessary to handle your case
When choosing a lawyer, you need to feel confident that the firm can reasonably handle your case based on its current caseload and the number of lawyers available. Like any other business, law firms may struggle to ensure that they have all the team members they need to handle a complex array of cases, especially during busy periods.
Talk to the lawyer you speak to during your consultation to understand better whether the firm has the resources needed to take on your case. If the firm has experienced a sudden jump in popularity or a sudden influx of cases, the firm may not have the resources needed for your case. Not having the resources means you may not get the availability, support, and extensive investigation required to help you get compensation after your injuries.
Take a look at past reviews and consider talking to a past client.
Looking at reviews can give you a strong understanding of the law firm’s priorities. However, if you want to know what it will look like to work with a specific law firm, consider going beyond the reviews and talking to a client who has previously worked with the law firm.
Ask the client questions like:
- What is it like to work with the law firm? Let the past client provide honest feedback about those key elements so you can get a better idea of how your mesothelioma claim might progress.
- Does the law firm communicate regularly? Did the client feel confident that he received the highest possible standard of support?
- How did the firm handle it if the client and the lawyer disagreed about how to proceed?
- Did the client feel confident about the results of the claim?
Ideally, you want to talk to a client who has filed a mesothelioma claim with the firm in the past. However, talking to another type of personal injury client can also give you a decent idea of what it might feel like to work with the law firm as you file your claim. Keep in mind that past clients cannot provide you with legal advice.
Determine who at the firm will actually handle your mesothelioma claim.
Before selecting an attorney, ensure you know who at the firm will actually handle your claim and that you feel confident with that attorney. In many cases, the attorney you meet with during your initial consultation will not actually handle your claim.
You may meet with a big-name attorney who does not often handle relatively minor claims, or you may meet with an attorney who happens to have availability during your consultation appointment but may not have the needed availability to handle your case.
In addition, for relatively routine claims, you may find that the lawyers hand routine tasks, from communicating with the other party’s insurance company to filing paperwork for your claim, to other members of the firm. You should make sure of who will actually do most of the work on your claim and make sure that you feel confident with that specific attorney.
Furthermore, you do not want to assume that you will have a big-name lawyer at the firm handling your case only to discover later that your claim will end up being handled by another team member.
Discuss what it will cost to use a specific law firm to handle your claim.
In most cases, lawyers will take mesothelioma claims on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that you will not have to pay upfront for legal services, which can make it easier for you to pursue the compensation you deserve, even when you may find yourself facing significant financial difficulties.
However, a contingency claim does not mean you will not have to pay for those legal services at all. Rather, it means that you will pay for the legal services you receive as a percentage of the damages you ultimately recover. Before choosing the law firm you want to work with, ensure you have a solid understanding of the payment structure.
What Percentage of the Claim Will the Law Firm Require in Compensation?
Make sure you know how much of your claim the law firm will take out. Lay out that percentage in your contract. Remember that the law firm may have different percentages or fee structures if the claim settles out of court versus a claim that has to go to court since a court battle may involve significantly more time and effort on the part of the firm.
What Other Fees May Come Up?
Most of the legal services you need may fall into that contingency fee amount. However, in some cases, law firms may require you to pay additional fees associated with your case. Before starting your claim, ensure you understand what other costs you may need to cover and when they could come due. Talk to your lawyer about your financial needs and standing.
Do You Need a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
If you have faced a mesothelioma diagnosis due to asbestos exposure, working with a lawyer offers the best odds of recovering the full compensation you deserve for those injuries. Contact a mesothelioma lawyer as soon after your diagnosis as possible to better understand your next steps and how you can best handle your claim.