Qualities of a Good Asbestos Lawyer
If you are interested in filing an asbestos lawsuit, you need to make sure the lawyer you work with can properly handle your case. The lawyer you work with should have all of the qualities listed below.
Ability to Build Strong Claims
To build a strong asbestos claim, lawyers must identify which employers, job sites, and products wrongfully exposed you to asbestos, and how this caused you to get sick.
The stronger the asbestos claim, the more likely that your lawyer can secure compensation for you.
Most lawsuits are settled out of court (before a trial happens), but your lawyer should prepare your claim as if it will go to trial.
This way, if the case does go to trial, a qualified attorney will have paperwork evidence already prepared and experts ready to provide testimony.
History of Past Success
The asbestos lawyer you work with should be able to show you how they have already helped clients with cases similar to yours.
Your lawyer should provide information on:
- How long it has taken previous clients to receive compensation
- How many asbestos victims they (and the law firm they work for) have helped
- How much compensation they have earned for past clients
If the lawyer you are considering does not have a strong track record of helping other asbestos victims successfully receive compensation, it’s not in your best interest to work with them.
Access to Key Information
General lawyers probably do not understand the asbestos industry like specialized lawyers do. Asbestos lawyers have databases of information related to this industry that they can use to build your case.
Asbestos lawyers have access to:
- List of products that were made with asbestos (and their manufacturers)
- If the manufacturers of the products in question are in business or filed for bankruptcy
- Where and when these asbestos-containing products were made, used, and sold
- Testimonies from other victims of asbestos exposure
By combining these resources with the information they gather from you, an asbestos lawyer can likely build a much stronger case than any general lawyer
Experience with Asbestos Trust Funds
The asbestos lawyer you work with may also be able to get you financial compensation through asbestos trust funds.
Did You Know?
Trust funds were established by manufacturers who declared bankruptcy due to a high volume of asbestos-related lawsuits.
When a company declares bankruptcy, it no longer can be sued. Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products filed for bankruptcy to avoid paying victims that filed lawsuits against them.
But thanks to trust funds, manufacturers are forced to pay money to victims of asbestos-related diseases.
An asbestos lawyer can determine which asbestos trust funds you qualify for and file claims with the trusts so that you can receive compensation.
Knowledge About Legal Options
Having access to key information not only allows asbestos lawyers to build a strong case, but it may also give you more legal options to receive compensation.
Did You Know?
Very rarely is one company responsible for a victim’s asbestos exposure. Victims were often exposed to asbestos-containing products from several companies over the course of their lives.
This means that multiple companies may be named in a lawsuit, provided they are still in business and did not file for bankruptcy.
If a manufacturer filed for bankruptcy — but they are still active — then it may be possible to receive compensation from them through an asbestos trust fund claim.
Asbestos lawyers can help determine:
- What manufacturers can be sued
- How many manufacturers can you sue
- What manufacturers have shut down but established trust funds
- What other options can you access to receive compensation
All of these questions are ones that general lawyers may never ask. Instead, they may only file claims with a limited number of manufacturers or trusts — when you could actually seek compensation from many more.
Experienced asbestos lawyers with many resources at their disposal tend to work at national law firms that can handle cases no matter where clients live.
This national reach is very helpful because:
- Lawyers can file your asbestos lawsuit in any court system where you’d want your case to go
- Lawyers can work with other lawyers from across the United States to determine when, where, and how you were exposed to asbestos
- National firms can afford to fly lawyers out to meet with you and file your case so you can focus on staying healthy
- National asbestos law firms understand that dozens of manufacturers could be to blame for your asbestos-related illness
Overall, a national asbestos law firm gives you a broader perspective and more options than if you would work with a local (and general) firm.
Understanding of State Laws
Every state has unique laws surrounding asbestos litigation, and attorneys must be knowledgeable and up-to-date with each state’s legal system.
For example, the statutes of limitations in some states require plaintiffs to file a claim within one year of their diagnosis while other states allow several years.
Did You Know?
The amount of information needed to submit a claim also varies by state. Some states that process a high number of asbestos lawsuits require claims to meet greater protocols. An accredited asbestos lawyer knows how to satisfy the court’s criteria.
In addition to these specialized elements, asbestos lawyers face the added challenge of having to work very quickly.
Many victims are not diagnosed until the disease has advanced to later stages, sometimes leaving them with only months to live.
A skilled attorney has the experience and support team to negotiate a deserving settlement in as little time as possible.
Works on a Contingency Basis
Your asbestos lawyer should work on a contingency basis, which means they do not get paid unless they secure compensation for your case.
You usually do not have to pay your lawyer any upfront fees if they work on a contingency basis.
Lawyers who work on a contingency basis instead take a small percentage of the overall earnings from your case, according to the American Bar Association (ABA).
If your lawyer does not secure compensation for you, you do not have to pay them.