Once mesothelioma is diagnosed, there’s little time left for some patients. Often, the only recourse a mesothelioma victim has is turning to the legal system and claim compensation for medical expenses, lost income and suing for personal injury damages. It’s at this point that victims must consider their choice in mesothelioma law firm, including the size of the firm and the resources its backed by.
Specialized Mesothelioma Litigation Explained
Mesothelioma illnesses are highly specialized cases to litigate. There is a tremendous amount to know about asbestos-related legislation, regulations and applicable legal precedents with case law. It takes a massive amount of time to research and prepare a mesothelioma lawsuit for trial. There is also a lot of money at stake. Settlements in mesothelioma claims can run in the millions of dollars.
Mesothelioma litigation isn’t an area for attorneys who practice general personal injury law. Specific knowledge and plenty of experience are key factors in successfully litigating mesothelioma suits. Normally, specialized talent is only available at larger law firms. Smaller companies don’t have the resources available to properly represent complex mesothelioma claims.
Differences Between Small and Large Law Firms
There isn’t an exact line that defines what’s considered a small or large law firm by size alone. There’s much more involved in the equation than the number of practitioners with law degrees. The best definition is a firm’s overall presence in their particular field or type of practice and client need they serve.
These are the main types of American law practice both large and small firms handle:
- Criminal Law: Representing criminals is a specialty that some attorneys find appealing. Others, however, find criminal law unpleasant. Most private law firms only defend accused or appealing criminals as prosecutors are normally state or federally appointed. Criminal defense work is evenly spread across all law firms, regardless of size.
- Corporate and Contract Law: These attorneys rarely see the inside of a courtroom, no matter their firm’s size. Lawyers dealing with companies and their contracts work at ensuring registrations are proper, taxes are protected and legal agreements are clearly spelled out. In general, large corporate firms are found in the big cities while small ones serve rural America.
- General Civil Law: Tort law has the largest volume of cases before the American federal and state courts. Torts are wrongdoing claims where a plaintiff alleges a defendant harmed them in some way. Claimants seek compensation for damages—sometimes in the millions of dollars. There are a wide variety of civil torts. Many firms, small and large, have a general approach to taking on every type of tort including all types of personal injury lawsuits.
- Specialized Civil Law: Some law firms seek out specialty niches in civil law practice. They know that to be successful, they need to focus solely on a particular litigation type such as mesothelioma suits. Small firms usually don’t have enough work in mesothelioma claims whereas big law firms are able to staff mesothelioma specialists who have both legal and medical knowledge. It’s this combination that’s so vitally important in properly representing a mesothelioma plaintiff.
Consider That Mesothelioma Cases are Complex
The main difference between small and large firms is their ability to take on lengthy and complex cases. Ability is broken down into a number of components that support a firm’s capability to evaluate, prepare, litigate, negotiate and fairly settle something as difficult as a mesothelioma lawsuit. There’s also the foresight of knowing how to navigate a mesothelioma case through the courts.
Consider That Mesothelioma Litigation is Time-Sensitive
Time is highly important in successfully settling a mesothelioma case. Ill patients rarely have the time to source and educate a law firm on their condition. There’s also the statute of limitations governing when a claim can be filed. Smaller firms usually don’t have the time and resources to start fresh with investigating mesothelioma and asbestos-related law. Large firms that deal solely in asbestos cases already know how to timely proceed with a client’s case.
Large Law Firms are Better Equipped for Mesothelioma Cases
Experience is king when it comes to litigating mesothelioma lawsuits. There have been thousands of mesothelioma cases litigated in American courts both at the state and federal level. Just as no two mesothelioma cases are exactly alike, the courts don’t have identical rules when it comes to mesothelioma suits and settlements.
An experienced law firm specializing in mesothelioma litigation has dedicated attorneys who do nothing but research, prepare and settle mesothelioma claims.
Small firms are rarely equipped with on-staff attorneys who are competent enough to negotiate complex asbestos-caused injuries. This expertise is almost always found in the offices and libraries of large law firms who have built their experience and reputation over a long time.
Properly equipped mesothelioma law firms have these competencies:
- Resources: It takes a lot of resources to investigate and discover information in mesothelioma claims. Large law firms have been in this specialized field for a long time. They’ve built up their resources, including powerful databases, identifying asbestos-producing companies previously held liable. Their resource bank lists thousands of products containing asbestos materials and hundreds of locations where other claimants proved they were exposed to asbestos fibers. Large firms have a team of employees, paralegals and researchers who have a reach not matched by small firms.
- Negotiating Power: Large law firms are big because they’ve successfully grown from the small firm stage. With that, large firms earned the reputation for being smart, tough and formidable opponents. Negligent asbestos companies and their trust fund administrators know who the big players are in the mesothelioma litigation business. Without doubt, large experienced firms have a better track record of reaching sufficient settlements for their clients without the time and delay of a dragged-out court trial.
- National and International Presence: Small law firms have a hard time competing on the national and international stage. Jurisdiction is vitally important in litigating mesothelioma cases. Often, a lawsuit must be filed in a court where the mesothelioma suit originated and not where the claimant currently lives. Small firms usually don’t have recognition in courts outside of their local area. Large firms, however, are normally accredited in every state and federal jurisdiction. Just this factor alone takes a small law firm out of contention for litigating a mesothelioma case with a wide geographical aspect.
Selecting a Mesothelioma Law Firm
All law firms are ethically bound to work in their clients’ best interest. That’s not a matter of their size or location, it’s their duty. In mesothelioma cases, often the best interest is to litigate and settle a claim as fast as possible and for the highest reasonable payment. Large law firms are far better equipped to work in their mesothelioma claimants’ interests than small, inexperienced law firms.
Ultimately, clients need to feel comfortable with their law firm and trust their instincts. Just because a law firm has a large staff and nation-wide representation, it doesn’t mean they don’t have personal attention. In fact, because mesothelioma attorneys specialize only in these cases, they tend to be easier to access than general practitioners who are spread too thin.
For more information on seeking justice for your mesothelioma diagnosis, contact our Justice Support Team today.