The thought of filing a lawsuit in addition to undergoing treatment for mesothelioma may seem overwhelming, but the truth is that patients themselves may not have to do the work to obtain compensation. Once you retain an attorney for your mesothelioma case, the law firm takes over the majority of the filing, preparation, and gathering of evidence, making the process as easy as possible for you.
The Different Stages of a Mesothelioma Injury Claim
The first step you must take to make a claim for compensation is to reach out to an attorney with experience in asbestos cases. At Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, we offer free and confidential consultations to all of our mesothelioma clients.
Once you retain an attorney, your representative will begin the many steps necessary to process your case, including:
- Preparation. Before your lawsuit may be filed, we must establish who is responsible for causing your illness. The person or company that we will sue for damages is called the defendant. More than one defendant may be named in your mesothelioma lawsuit, since you may have suffered asbestos exposure on several different worksites. We will also total up the amount of your financial losses, including past and future medical expenses and lost wages and lost earning capacity.
- Filing. The amount of time you have to file a mesothelioma lawsuit varies depending on the state in which file your case. In Louisiana, victims have only one year from the date of a mesothelioma diagnosis to file suit against an asbestos manufacturer or former employer, and families have just one year from the date of a loved one’s death to file a mesothelioma wrongful death claim. Once the case is filed, your attorney will notify all defendants of the lawsuit and each defendant has a limited amount of time to respond.
- Discovery. Discovery is a process that both parties in a lawsuit go through to gather evidence they will later use in the court case. Your lawyer may obtain the testimony of medical experts, witnesses, former employees, and of course yourself. You may be asked to give a deposition, or a recorded question-and-answer session, with your attorney. The purpose of discovery is to show beyond any doubt that your condition was a direct result of the defendants’ negligence. On the other side, the defendant(s) will do anything they can to avoid taking the blame for your condition.
- Negotiations. Attorneys may meet for settlement negotiations throughout the discovery process to agree on the amount of damages in your mesothelioma case. If you settle your case, you will recover damages more quickly and will not have to go to trial. There is always a risk of losing a case if it goes to trial, and even if you win, the defendant has the right to appeal the decision. Your attorney should take all of this into account but still negotiate for an amount that properly compensates you for your pain and suffering.
- Recovery. If the case goes to trial, your attorney may request that your trial date be expedited based on the severity of your condition. If you must be present for any part of the proceedings, your attorney can make sure you are made comfortable and that accommodations are made for your condition. If you are successful, a jury or judge will declare a verdict and award your damages, potentially including an additional amount of punitive damages.
- Attorney fees. All of our mesothelioma cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that we don’t charge anything upfront for our services, but receive a percentage of your settlement or verdict after we win your case.
The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault understand that cancer diagnosis is both frightening and exhausting. We make it a point to ease your burden any way we can, allowing you to focus on your health and spend time with your family. To schedule a free consultation, simply fill out the contact form on this page or call us at (318) 541-8188. To learn more about options, order our free eBook, Mesothelioma and Your Legal Rights.