How do I find a qualified mesothelioma attorney?
When one goes online and types the phrase "mesothelioma attorney" into any search engine, it is likely to bring up over two and an half million listings. Specifying a state can narrow this search to around 1.8 million, on the average; even a search for mesothelioma lawyers in a state with a very low population such as Wyoming will result in more than 650,000 listings.
Malignant mesothelioma is a tragic illness - all the more so because it could have been prevented. Corporations were successfully able to hide the fact that asbestos was an insidious poison for over thirty years. These conditions have resulted in billions of dollars in litigation, court fees, and damage awards in cases related to asbestos.
The severity of the damages and the fact that they were avoidable but for the actions of huge corporations are the main reason that so many attorneys and law firms have gone into the field of mesothelioma law. Plaintiffs in mesothelioma cases are very sympathetic, which drives lawyers to want to help them.
Remember that when you are seeking legal representation on any matter - mesothelioma or otherwise - you are essentially an employer. You are offering an attorney a job. Like any wise employer, you will want to interview the candidate.
This is an important issue.
Mesothelioma, other forms of asbestos cancer, and other related injury cases require a specific type of expertise because of the numerous complex legal, medical and financial issues involved. Therefore, it is in your best interest to retain a mesothelioma attorney who has experience in mesothelioma case law.
What You Need To Know
Your first objective in determining who should represent you and your case is to find out how much experience the attorney and the firm have in the area of asbestos litigation. How many cases has s/he and/or the firm handled?
Once this has been established, you will want to know how many of these cases were settled out of court and how many went to trial, as well as the outcome of these proceedings.
Another important issue is whether or not the mesothelioma attorney intends to handle your case personally. In many cases, a lawyer may refer your case to another attorney who may be of assistance or better prepared to help in your fight. Often this is the case when your mesothelioma attorney needs to file the case in a state where they do not practice - in this type of situation, they will work with a firm who does. It is to your advantage to choose a law firm with a network of firms on their side so that the claim can be filed in the location most advantages to you, not just where the lawyer or you happen to be.
Before getting started, it is vital to understand the financial arrangements, and how expenses and attorney fees are to be handled. You should know that any type of lawsuit involving large corporate interests where substantial amounts of money are at stake require months of preparation. Although some courts could hear the case in as little as 6 months, others could take years; it can differ from court to court even in the same state. This is something you may want to discuss with your lawyer.
During the preparation process and the trial itself, your attorney will incur many expenses on your behalf. These expenses include travel, research, hiring expert witnesses (such as medical doctors), getting depositions (written testimony) and more.
In most cases, an attorney or law firm will take such a case on a contingency basis. This means their compensation will be based on a percentage of the award or other resolution of the claim. Generally, this runs at 40% when a judgment is awarded at the trial's conclusion or the case is resolved by other means.
You may also want to know whether or not your case will be handled on an individual basis, or "bundled" with those of other plaintiffs - which may help weaker cases, but could harm yours if you have a particularly strong claim.
Check the attorney's background and credentials, as well as those of the firm. Profiles and ratings are available online, and information on individual attorneys can usually be obtained through your state's bar association.
Above all, trust your instincts. If you feel for some reason that the mesothelioma attorney in question will not work in your best interests, move on to the next candidate. There is no shortage of qualified, principled law firms and attorneys who are genuine professionals dedicated to the cause of justice.