Legal Options

Mesothelioma Attorneys

Mesothelioma patient and their loved ones who wish to seek compensation as a result of asbestos exposure may wish to hire a lawyer with experience in the litigation process. Because of the nature of asbestos disease and mesothelioma and the massively complex and difficult issues involved, asbestos litigation has become a sub-specialty all its own. Locating an experienced, qualified lawyer is an important step in the legal process since experienced litigators have prior knowledge of past successes and may have access to research and evidence to help in trial.

The asbestos industry was well aware of the health hazards of asbestos in the 1930s and possibly earlier, but worked to keep this under wraps for more than 40 years in order to preserve the high profitability of their market. This was exposed in 1977 with the discovery of the "Sumner Simpson Papers," a series of documents found in a storage closet at a major asbestos manufacturing corporation. This led to a large amount of asbestos litigation.

The Challenges

Part of what makes asbestos litigation so complex is the fact that asbestos disease, such as mesothelioma, can take several decades to manifest symptoms. The proximate cause - in this case, the asbestos exposure that actually caused the disease - is usually far removed from the injury.

In the meantime, witnesses who might testify have often either passed on or do not clearly remember events. Factories where asbestos-containing products were created may have either closed down or been sold. The manufacturers of asbestos products have often gone out of business, or have been purchased by or merged with other business entities (not all of them necessarily asbestos-related).

Once you contact a mesothelioma attorney, it will be necessary to provide a detailed employment and (if applicable) military service record. The attorney will engage in detailed research in order to determine where the asbestos exposure took place, under what circumstances, what products were used and how, and most importantly, who manufactured the asbestos products.

This last issue is key, and often the most difficult and time-consuming part of building a case. Most of the asbestos manufacturers that were in business 30 to 60 years ago either cease to exist or have been taken over. In the case of mergers and acquisitions, the company that purchases another company also purchases its liabilities - meaning that if XYZ Financial, Inc. acquires Asbestos Building Supplies & Co. and the latter has been sued or has sold asbestos products in the past for which they may incur liability, then the suit is filed against XYZ Financial, Inc. It addition, exposure may have been due to a number of different products made by several different companies. It is not unheard of for an asbestos lawsuit to have as many as 100 different named defendants.

Seeking an Attorney

There are two issues to keep in mind when seeking counsel:

Experience: it is important to hire a law firm that has had a good amount of experience in dealing with asbestos issues as well as a demonstrated record of success in winning cases.

Cost: most reputable and successful asbestos litigation firms will take cases on a contingency basis, meaning that instead of having to pay a retainer up-front, the firm will take a percentage of your award in payment for their services.

In addition to these factors, it is important to understand that injury cases have a statute of limitations as well, meaning that if you fail to bring legal action within a certain amount of time, you lose your right to do so. This statute of limitations is different in every state, but usually you must file your case within twelve months of your diagnosis.

The litigation process can be confusing and 1800Asbestos.com offers a comprehensive packet with additional information to interested mesothelioma patients and their loved ones who fill out the packet request form on this page.

Free information packet on Mesothelioma
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