If you’re suffering from an asbestos illness, asbestos lawyers can help you understand your legal options and rights. Over the past decades, numerous companies have been held liable for irresponsibly exposing people to asbestos, a harmful mineral that leads to health-damaging diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. In turn, many lawyers now specialize specifically in asbestos-related lawsuits.
There is currently more than $30 billion available in asbestos trust funds. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
What Does an Asbestos Lawyer Do?
An asbestos lawyer is an attorney who specializes in asbestos-related cases, such as asbestos-related lung cancer lawsuits, mesothelioma lawsuits, and any cases involving asbestos-related diseases and injuries. There are a variety of different areas of law practice specialties, such as car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and criminal cases. Some attorneys choose these special areas of practice to go into, while others may choose to be general practice lawyers, meaning they take on a wide variety of different cases.
Asbestos lawyers, however, may be experienced in other areas of the law, but generally choose to take on asbestos cases only.
Asbestos cases are extremely complicated and detailed. These types of cases almost always often require an attorney who has the knowledge, experience, and understanding of everything that’s involved in the process of proving negligence against the parties who exposed unknowing victims to asbestos.
Retaining a lawyer who doesn’t have specific training in asbestos-related issues is generally not the best option for people who are seeking compensation for their injuries.
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“With my husband passing away so many details needed to be taken care of. The attorneys have always taken their time with us when I didn’t understand the paperwork and explained everything in a language that I could understand.”~ Gurtie
An experienced asbestos attorney not only understands how people get exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), but they also understand that many of their clients are undergoing tremendous stress and are often weak due to serious health issues.
In turn, most asbestos lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the treatment options, medications, and other health factors that their clients are experiencing. This alone prompts many attorneys to do what it takes in order to help people win their case and obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Key Factors an Asbestos Attorney Understands
Mesothelioma is an insidious disease. It lies dormant for decades, but when the first symptoms finally appear, health rapidly deteriorates as the illness becomes more progressive. Because of this, asbestos cases generally have a higher than average compensation amount once a plaintiff wins.
However, since it takes so long for mesothelioma to develop, tracing back the origins of the asbestos exposure is difficult at best for the average person. In most instances, asbestos exposure occurred over 20 years before the actual diagnosis of the illness, meaning it will take a lot of research and sharp investigative skills to uncover the details of the responsible parties.
The good news is that asbestos lawyers understand that once the culpable parties are found, there is a great chance that they can prove liability. Since the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) confirmed reports linking asbestos exposure to mesothelioma, an asbestos attorney can prove the link between the asbestos supplier and how it caused damage.
How Do I Choose the Best Asbestos Lawyer?
Choosing the best attorney to represent you is an important decision that will affect how your case ultimately turns out. Never rush to choose an attorney, especially in cases such as an asbestos lawsuit. There are several things to look for when choosing a lawyer that’s right for you, including:
Proven Track Record
Reputable, experienced asbestos attorneys should have a proven track record of past successful asbestos cases. A proven track record should include recently-won cases (within the past five years), large settlement amounts or verdicts won.
Experience with Asbestos Trust Funds
Asbestos trust funds are continuing to grow. A good asbestos lawyer will know details regarding these trust funds and how to properly file claims on behalf of clients. There are a number of factors that go into asbestos trust fund claims, including:
- Obtaining the required evidence needed for your case
- The claim filing process
- The claim filing review
- Claim liquidations, and more
Ability to Travel If Needed
On many occasions, asbestos cases require traveling to other states and cities. For example, even if you were exposed to asbestos at a job site in your city, the manufacturers that supplied the asbestos to your employer may be located in another state.
In these instances, you may be required to file your asbestos lawsuit out of state. It’s highly recommended to find an attorney who is financially capable of not only coming to you for your deposition, but also traveling out of state, if needed, and filing on your behalf.
Offers a Contingency-Based Payment Plan
A contingency-based payment plan consists of paying no money until you’re case is won. When you win your case, your attorney’s fees will come out of your final compensation. It’s important to retain a lawyer who offers fees on contingency basis as it shows that the law has the financial resources available to work on your case.
Other Factors to Consider
A reputable, trustworthy lawyer will never:
- Tell you up-front that you will win millions in your lawsuit. There is no way to know the exact amount you will win.
- Guarantee an outcome of a successful verdict or settlement. While it’s perfectly normal for lawyers to tell you what your chances are, no attorney should guarantee a win right away.
- Leave you out of the loop in regards to what’s going on with your case.
How Can an Asbestos Attorney Help Me?
You probably have a lot of questions and concerns regarding your case. The majority of people who file asbestos lawsuits have no idea of who is truly responsible for their injuries. For instance, most people believe that their employers are responsible, when in fact it’s usually the manufacturers that supplied the asbestos to the employer that’s generally liable. In addition, there may be several manufacturers that are responsible.
An asbestos attorney can help you by researching your case and uncovering the party or parties responsible.
Additionally, if you have a valid case, your attorney will let you know after reviewing your information, and will be able to give you ballpark figure regarding your lawsuit’s worth. Although, as mentioned earlier, no lawyer should tell you an exact amount you can expect to win, a reputable attorney can let you know the average amount you may win after factoring in lost wages, physical pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, and other factors associated with your illness.
Furthermore, attorneys can help you understand the process of the lawsuit, including what steps are taken, how long your case may last, and any extenuating circumstances that may hold your lawsuit up.
Frequently Asked Questions for Asbestos Lawyers
Will a lawyer charge me to review my case?
Most experienced asbestos attorneys offer free legal evaluations before taking on your case. Although this is the norm, you should always ask each potential lawyer beforehand if they charge for a case consultation.
How long does it take to resolve a mesothelioma lawsuit?
Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers as to how long your case will take, as one case is different from the next. Part of determining how long a lawsuit may be depends on the state the case is filed in. Other factors include:
- If your case settles or goes to trial (settlements are generally resolved faster than trial cases)
- How progressive your disease is (in some instances, cases can be expedited for those who are in extremely poor health)
In general, however, some cases may take many months, up to a few years.
How do I pay for my lawsuit expenses while waiting for my case to resolve?
An experienced lawyer who offers a contingency-based payment option will not charge you for any lawsuit expenses. Until your case is settled and you’ve been compensated, you generally do not have to pay any lawsuit-related expenses.
Will an attorney take most of my compensation?
Mesothelioma lawsuit compensation amounts, on average, are extremely high. Experts speculate that the norm for mesothelioma compensation is around $1 million to $1.4 million. Regardless of how much compensation you get, however, asbestos attorney fees are usually between 25% to 40% of your total compensation if your case goes to trial. Fees for settlements can go as low at 3% to 5%, depending on your attorney. Refer to our Attorney Fees section below for additional information.
Will an attorney accept a settlement on my behalf? What if I don’t agree with the settlement?
By law, you have to formally agree and sign paperwork that acknowledges you agree to a proposed settlement amount. An attorney will not accept the settlement without first getting your approval.
I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, but my spouse is the one that worked around asbestos. Can I still file for compensation?
There have been a myriad of asbestos victims who successfully won their lawsuits after second-hand exposure. A common myth about mesothelioma lawsuits is that you must work directly around asbestos in order to qualify for compensation, which is untrue. Whether you’ve been exposed to asbestos through a spouse’s or parent’s work clothes, through school buildings, or any other kind of indirect exposure, you have the legal right to file for damages.
My spouse passed away recently after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Can an attorney help me?
If you’ve lost a loved one due to asbestos exposure, you have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You may also be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you get the process started and help you understand what you may be entitled to.
What Are the Attorney Fees?
Attorney fees are not set in stone, and each lawyer may have different fees. While there is no way to definitively answer how much your fees will be, most attorneys who specialize in such sensitive cases as asbestos understand that people who are undergoing expensive medical treatments usually cannot pay up-front. As mentioned early, a contingency-based fee helps ensure that clients have the option to retain an attorney without any up-front fees.
However, if even your attorney offers a contingency-based fees, you should always ask how much the fees will be so that there are no surprises when a percentage of your compensation is taken out to pay for attorney fees. Again, most attorneys have their own set of fees; some may take 40% to 45% in fees while others may take 20% or 25%. Others may take 15% or 30%, and as mentioned earlier, fees for settlement cases can go as low as 3% to 5%.
Keep in mind that having trust in an attorney and being confident and comfortable in their experience and knowledge is an important factor. Although you may find a lawyer who offers low fees, if they don’t have the dedication and experience working with asbestos cases, you run a heightened risk of losing your case. While you want to get the best rates possible, you’ll need an attorney who knows how to fight for you and help you win your compensation.
Where Can I Find an Asbestos Attorney?
Recent studies performed by the American Bar Association (ABA) state that, while referrals are still a popular method when searching for an attorney, more and more people are turning to the Internet to find legal help. The majority of people who search on the Internet typically find legal representation on websites that allow them to post legal questions and receive answers from attorneys and/or comprehensive sites that provide information regarding the details of the type of the case they potentially have.
In addition, people are turning to social media for legal referrals, but per ABA, since social media is still relatively new, it’s not as popular as attorney websites that provide more a intimate approach and in-depth information.
“First, it is possible that social media is too recent and too few people are participating in it for it to be a widespread method to help find a lawyer. Second, it is possible that the selection of a lawyer for a personal legal matter is simply too intimate a decision to come into play in the everyday use of social media,” the report states.
It’s also a good idea to search for a site that not only has expert information, but also clear and convenient contact information.
Where Can I Get Additional Assistance?
If you or a loved one are suffering from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, keep in mind that you may be eligible for a substantial amount of compensation. Get our free Financial Compensation Packet for info on the top mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers in your area. Over $30 billion is available in trust funds. For additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540.