If you’ve been diagnosed with or lost a loved one to mesothelioma, you are eligible for compensation. Navigating the legal process can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to seek the help of an experienced mesothelioma law firm.
From the initial free consultation to reaching a settlement or verdict, here is how to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.
Step 1. Free Consultation
The first step is to have a free case evaluation with a mesothelioma law firm like The O’Brien Law Firm. This consultation gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the firm and its lawyers. Afterward, you can decide if you want to hire the firm; there is no obligation.
Step 2. Build Your Case
Once you hire a law firm, they will begin working with you to build your case.
The legal team will listen to your story, research your exposure history, and gather evidence to understand when, where, and how you or your loved one were exposed to asbestos. Relevant evidence to establish your case may include:
- medical records confirming the diagnosis of an asbestos disease like mesothelioma,
- employment records confirming a work history at asbestos job sites,
- and witness testimony or statements attesting to asbestos exposure from products containing asbestos.
Step 3: Determine Your Recovery Options
Your lawyer will determine the best options for securing mesothelioma compensation.
Mesothelioma patients may file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation from the corporations and entities responsible for their injuries. Family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit if the asbestos victim has passed away.
The statute of limitations dictates how long after an event a person is eligible to file. These statutes are creatures of state law, and they can vary quite considerably. For example, in Missouri, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within 5 years after a mesothelioma diagnosis, and wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within 3 years of the death from mesothelioma. In Illinois, both of these types of lawsuits must be filed within 2 years of the injury or death.
In addition to civil lawsuits, you may be eligible to file:
- a workers’ compensation claim.
- claims against asbestos trust funds set up by asbestos companies who have filed for bankruptcy protection.
Step 4: File the Lawsuit
After building your case and determining your recovery options, your legal team will file a lawsuit on your behalf. This marks the official start of the lawsuit.
Step 5: Begin the Discovery Phase
The discovery phase of litigation then begins. This step, occurring before the trial begins, allows each party to obtain information and evidence from opposing parties. In order to do so, parties make use of:
- interrogatories, which are lists of questions sent to the other party before trial that must be answered in writing.
- formal requests for the production of documents and records.
- admissions, which allow one party to ask another party to admit or deny statements under oath.
- depositions, which are out-of-court, recorded statements given under oath. These may be in the form of a videotape, written transcript, or both.
This collected information and evidence gives attorneys a clearer idea of how the lawsuit may unfold if it goes to trial. Given the potential chances of success, many settlements occur during discovery.
Step 6: Reach a Settlement or Verdict
A mesothelioma lawsuit can end in a settlement or be taken to trial, which may result in a favorable verdict. Verdicts can be quite sizable in asbestos cases, but must be affirmed on appeal by higher courts of law before they are due and payable to clients. Verdicts may also be rendered in favor of the asbestos defendants. If this occurs, clients receive nothing from the trial defendants.
Prospective clients often ask, “How much is my mesothelioma case worth?” This is not an easy answer to provide. Many factors go into this analysis, including the age of the mesothelioma patient and how long they suffered from the disease, the type and strength of exposure, and the quality of the exposure testimony given, which includes how many tortfeasors’ products are implicated in the case.
Some sources indicate that the average settlement for mesothelioma cases is $1 million to $1.4 million. Based solely on the O’Brien Law Firm’s over 20 years of experience, this range is on the low end, particularly if the case is strong. If a case does not settle, it will proceed to trial, and if won, the amount awarded could be large. Some verdict researchers state that the average successful mesothelioma trial payout is approximately $2.4 million.
Outside the civil arena, asbestos bankruptcy trust funds can add significant amounts to recoveries if the facts line up.
Your lawyers will negotiate potential settlements with culpable parties and present them to you, but ultimately, it’s your decision whether or not to accept the offers.
Meet With Experienced Attorneys
Since 2000, The O’Brien Law Firm has provided legal help for individuals and their families diagnosed with asbestos disease.
Our experienced attorneys will:
- meet you in person for a free case evaluation.
- examine and research your exposure to products and job sites to determine the appropriate defendants to pursue.
- file all possible claims, typically within a few weeks of meeting you and determining the liable parties.
- secure all necessary evidence implicating defendants.
- maximize recovery for you by negotiating settlements or trying your case to verdict.
When you’re ready to get started, schedule your free case evaluation by contacting us online or calling us at (314) 588-0558!