You or a loved one may have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Now, you want to take legal action. However, you may be unsure about what lies ahead. Not knowing what to expect may actually make the idea of pursuing a mesothelioma claim seem very daunting.
At Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, our role is to ease your stress by using our legal skill, experience, and resources to efficiently and effectively handle your claim. While you focus on getting the best treatment possible, we can focus on pursuing the compensation that you and your family need and deserve.
The following is a brief summary of how the mesothelioma lawsuit process works in Louisiana. We would be glad to explain this process with you in more detail, discuss your case and answer all of your questions in a free consultation.
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As difficult as it may seem, you will need to take legal action as soon as possible. Under Louisiana law, you have only a brief period to file a mesothelioma claim. The limits are:
- One year from the date of diagnosis or discovery of the disease, or
- One year from the date of your loved one’s death.
You should meet with a mesothelioma lawyer from Neblett, Beard & Arsenault when you are ready to take action. Your consultation will be free and confidential. We can meet at our Alexandria office or a location that is most convenient for you – even in your home.
During your consultation, you can feel free to ask as many questions as you have about our law firm’s background in mesothelioma claims, our approach and the services we can provide.
We will also want to learn more about you and your case, including:
- Your work history, including military service
- Your personal habits such as whether you are a smoker
- Your family’s history with cancer or other health problems
- Your diagnosis and medical history.
Once we agree to work together, we will get immediately started on your case. However, this won’t be the last time you hear from us. You can expect us to stay in constant contact with you. We will keep you informed about your case at every stage. We also will always be available to answer your questions.
INVESTIGATION AND PREPARATION
Because of our experience with mesothelioma claims, we know what it takes to research and prepare a solid case. Our main focus will be on identifying the cause of your disease and who should be held responsible for it.
Mesothelioma has been directly linked to exposure to asbestos, a toxic material that was once widely used in:
- Auto parts (such as brakes or brake components)
- Insulation (due to its flame-resistant properties)
- Construction materials (such as tiles, shingles, cement, stucco and siding).
Asbestos also was used to line pipes and boilers, making exposure common among dock workers and shipbuilders.
We will research your military and work records to determine how and when you were exposed to asbestos. It may take anywhere from 10 to 40 years after exposure for mesothelioma to appear. So, this research must be thorough and may require overcoming many obstacles.
Even if you were not directly exposed to asbestos at work, you may have developed mesothelioma from inhaling asbestos fibers that were carried home from work by a family member. For this reason, we will investigate their work history, too.
Generally speaking, you cannot sue an employer for asbestos exposure from work. However, you can take action against the company that made, sold or installed asbestos-containing materials – without warning about health risks. Our goal will be to identify those parties.
Additionally, we will review your medical records and consult with experts. We believe that the more solidly prepared your claim is, the faster it can be resolved.
After we have gathered and analyzed as much evidence as possible, we will proceed with filing your mesothelioma claim with either a victims’ trust fund or in the proper court.
Many companies that have exposed people to asbestos have set up special funds to compensate victims or their surviving family members, including companies that may now be bankrupt or closed. We can file a claim if such a fund is available in your case.
Otherwise, we will likely file a lawsuit, or complaint, in court. Typically, the court will be in the parish where the asbestos exposure occurred or where the company is based. However, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in another state or in a federal court.
The lawsuit will allege the facts in your case, describe the harm you or your family members have suffered and state the legal theory that your claim is based on.
After a mesothelioma lawsuit is filed, the party that is sued – or the defendant – will have 30 days to file a response, or answer. The party will either admit or deny your allegations.
The next stage will be a formal evidence-gathering process called discovery. We can request documents, submit written questions (called interrogatories) and seek sworn written statements (affidavits) or oral statements (depositions).
The defendant(s) may ask you to give a statement in a deposition or to submit to medical examination. We will be your side throughout that process. Our goal will be to ensure your rights are fully protected.
If the defendant(s) resist during discovery, we may need to get a court order that compels them to cooperate. If any evidence is destroyed, we can file a claim based on spoliation of evidence.
SETTLEMENT OR TRIAL
The goal of investigation and discovery is to present your case for a settlement demand. We can make this demand in a carefully prepared demand letter or in a demand package that contains documents, graphics and videos.
Any demand we make will seek full and fair compensation for your:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and inability to earn future income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a loved one’s services and companionship
If your loved one dies from mesothelioma while a claim is pending, you may step into his or her place. If your loved one has already passed away, it would be proper to bring a Louisiana wrongful death claim that seeks a different set of damages, including compensation for burial expenses or lost financial support.
A settlement may be reached if liability is admitted or clearly established, and if your claim for damage has been solidly supported with evidence. However, if the defendant(s) refuse to agree to a reasonable settlement, our legal team will be well-prepared to take your case into court. You may not need to testify or even appear for the trial.
The trial may focus on establishing liability and damages. However, if liability is admitted, the trial may only concern how much you are entitled to receive in compensation.
Both sides can present evidence, including exhibits and testimony. They can also cross-examine each others’ witnesses. At the end of the trial, a judge or jury will return a verdict, and the judge will enter a judgment.
After a judgment is entered, either side can file a post-trial motion. For instance, a defendant may file a motion to reduce the amount of a judgment. Either side can file an appeal.
At Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, we will stay on your case and resolve any post-trial litigation. Also, we can continue to seek a settlement throughout trial and even after a judgment.
COLLECTION AND DISBURSEMENT
If a settlement is reached, we will move quickly to collect the funds and properly disburse them. The settlement may be paid in a lump sum or in a series of payments.
It is possible that a lien may be attached to your recovery such as one filed by a health care provider or workers’ compensation insurer. We can resolve those liens as efficiently as possible.
If a judgment is entered, we will take any actions necessary to enforce the judgment and collect the funds owed to you, including interest. We won’t rest until you have been paid.
REACH OUT TO OUR LOUISIANA MESOTHELIOMA LAWYERS
The mesothelioma lawyers of Neblett, Beard & Arensault will work hard to resolve your claim as quickly as possible, whether it is through a trust fund claim, settlement or verdict. Our goal will be to ensure you are paid for all of the harm you have suffered due to wrongful exposure to asbestos.
When you are ready to take action, please contact us by phone or online. We serve clients throughout Louisiana. We can get to work for you today.