If you believe that you may be entitled to an asbestos lawsuit settlement or trial award, then this informative article is for you. Many litigants allow themselves to form expectations based on television commercials or solicitation mail-outs from competing law firms. Unfortunately, much of the information provided by such sources is often exaggerated, stated out of context-or even just plain wrong.
To get the best, most accurate, and up-to-date information about what to reasonably expect from your individual case, contact an experienced asbestos attorney and schedule a free consultation. Here are three simple facts you should be aware of, as you prepare to meet with an attorney and begin the claims process:
1. You must have the necessary qualifications and corresponding evidence to win your claim.
Your attorney will be able to evaluate the validity of your personal injury claim during your very first meeting. To have a valid claim first requires two things: documentation showing a diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis; a history of exposure to asbestos that occurred at some time over the past 50 or so years and the means to prove it (through housing records, employment logs, etc.).
The majority of asbestos victims experienced occupational exposure, which is generally relatively easy to prove. Do not worry if you don’t have the necessary evidence to prove your case on hand. Your attorney will be able to conduct a thorough investigation and compile necessary substantiation for the facts of your claim, assuming that you do meet the first two requirements listed above.
2. An asbestos lawsuit settlement is not reached overnight.
Litigation-even if it ends in negotiation-is a process. It takes time. In fact, it will almost certainly take at least a few months and possibly more than a year to receive compensation for your claim (assuming it is successful). It is worth noting that most cases today settle out of court, which is considerably less time-consuming than going to trial, but nothing is guaranteed.
The process goes something along the lines of the following:
1) Your attorney files the claim with the court(s).
2) The defendant(s) are served and enter a response.
3) If the other side does not challenge your claim and accepts liability outright, your case ends there with a settlement negotiated quickly. (This is rare.)
4) If the defendant(s) challenge your claim, both sides enter a phase called discovery-during which both sides provide to the other evidence relevant to the case.
5) It is typically during the discovery phase that the other side will choose to offer an asbestos lawsuit settlement. Your attorney will negotiate an acceptable amount on your behalf.
6) If no settlement can be reached, or the defendant(s) forgoes the pre-trial settlement offer completely, your case proceeds to trial. Both sides present their respective arguments, and a judge or jury will issue a verdict and subsequent order.
3. An experienced and well-qualified attorney is key to receiving a settlement or trial award.
You will need an attorney who is experienced in asbestos and mesothelioma litigation to fight for your case in court OR successfully negotiate a settlement agreement on your behalf. Cut no corners in selecting your legal representation, as this decision quite likely holds the entire outcome of your asbestos lawsuit settlement or trial award-which can easily be worth a million dollars or more. Choose wisely and carefully.