For the thousands of Americans suffering from mesothelioma, compensation via a class action or personal injury lawsuit may be the best way to regain some control of their lives and finances. In addition to the tragedy of facing a terminal illness, victims of mesothelioma are further saddled by growing medical debt and economic insecurity.
But help is available. By pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit, victims can be the beneficiaries of a settlement that will help cover expenses and give their families some peace of mind during uncertain times.
Listed below are five steps to receiving mesothelioma compensation through a hard-fought legal settlement.
Step one: Choose an attorney.
Step one is by far the most important of the five, because the attorney of your choosing will guide you through the next three or four steps. Look for an attorney with a background in mesothelioma- or asbestos-related litigation and be sure that she or he is experienced and knowledgeable about this very specific type of case. Understand both how and how much the firm will charge for representation, and ask any and all important legal questions up-front. When you are sure that you have found your attorney, you will sign a contract detailing the expectations of both parties that will facilitate the lawyer-client relationship.
Step two: Document your case.
The first thing your attorney will need to do is collect all pertinent information about your case, including your medical history and possibly your occupational background. The purpose of doing this is to compile adequate proof that, not only were you injured by exposure to asbestos, but that the target of your lawsuit is indeed responsible for your exposure. Mesothelioma compensation is reliant on the accuracy and validity of your claim, so be sure to provide all requested documents and records to your attorney in a timely and organized manner.
Step three: File a claim.
Once he or she is satisfied that the necessary burden of proof can be met, your attorney will begin the process of filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. This includes drafting the appropriate documents and filing them within the court or courts that you and your attorney have determined should hear your case. A process server will deliver a copy of the papers to the defendant, and from there, the path to a settlement unfolds.
Step four: Negotiate a settlement.
The majority of claims do settle out of court, meaning that the liable party concedes to pay you a sum of money that you both agree is fair, without ever going before a judge or jury. This is generally the quickest and easiest way to receive mesothelioma compensation.
Step five: Go to trial.
If your case does not reach a settlement before the trial date set at the time the lawsuit was filed, your attorney will represent you in court. You will usually have options as to whether you prefer your case to be heard by a judge or a jury, and the good news is that each and every court of law has strict regulations in place to protect the legal rights of mesothelioma victims.