What Are the Costs of Hiring a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
The average costs of hiring a mesothelioma lawyer vary depending on the location. In many areas, attorney fees cost hundreds of dollars per hour. Furthermore, the process of filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for an asbestos cancer case can last months and require substantial legal work.
Typically, asbestos cancer attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. As such, they get paid when your case is successful.
In the U.S., those affected by mesothelioma (or another type of asbestos-caused disease) typically have a history of negligent toxic exposure. Often, affected individuals choose to file a lawsuit against the business (or businesses) responsible. Yet, the potentially high cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer prevents some people from pursuing a legal claim.
However, an asbestos attorney offers the best chance of receiving compensation for work- and exposure-related health problems. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer knows which products and companies exposed large groups of people to asbestos – as well as where people were exposed.
Additionally, a good lawyer will be familiar with the state of your health. Consequently, many legal teams often handle all the travel and court appearances involved in your case.
Starting Costs and Other Lawyer Fees
Generally, there are no upfront costs or contracting fees associated with hiring an asbestos lawyer. In other areas of litigation, lawyers tend to require consultation payment before making a meeting. Too, many lawyers require paying a retainer fee before they’ll begin working on a case. Depending on the case, retainer fees cost between $2,000 and $100,000.
Conversely, mesothelioma lawyers do not usually charge a retainer fee. Instead, they receive payment when you win your case. When the court decides in your favor or the defendants settle and agree to pay a sum, asbestos attorneys take a portion of the compensation amount.
Types of lawyer fees include:
- Client costs (i.e., court costs)
- Contingent fees
- Flat rate fees
- Hourly rate fees
There are many costs to the law firm when it comes to taking on a case. Some hard costs (or expenses related directly to your case) for legal counsel include:
- Court filing fees
- Court reporting fees
- Deposition expenditures
- Medical record acquisition charges
- Witness and expert testimony expenses
Other expenses a law firm incurs during a case cover direct services provided to the client, such as the cost of:
- Clerical duties
- Delivery services
- Mail postage
What Do Mesothelioma Lawyers Charge for a Consultation?
If you try to find a lawyer online, you’ll usually see the firm’s phone number next to their initial consultation cost. The consultation charge covers the first meeting with an attorney to discuss your case. Often, mesothelioma lawyers do not charge a consultation fee and will meet to discuss your case for free.
To start, you’ll meet with an attorney or a representative of their law firm. Commonly, your legal counsel travels to your location and may even visit with you in your home.
Initially, you will go over the details of your asbestos disease diagnosis with the law firm’s representative. During the meeting, the lawyer will ensure you have a legal right to file a lawsuit. Typically, if you have not passed the applicable state’s statute of limitations, you can seek legal compensation for asbestos injuries.
The statute of limitations ranges between 1 and 5 years for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
If you decide to hire legal counsel, your attorneys will tell you what’s expected of you as a plaintiff and client of the law firm. First, you will sign a contract sometimes known as a fee agreement, client agreement, or retainer agreement. The contract outlines the hiring details the client and the attorney agree to, such as:
- Beginning date of contract and length of the agreement
- Hiring costs and how the lawyer will be paid
- How to terminate the agreement
- Which expenses the client must pay for
Generally, hiring a mesothelioma lawyer does not cost you anything right away. Litigators that represent plaintiffs with asbestos cancers normally accept payment through a contingency fee.
A contingency fee payment allows you to pay your legal team with a percentage of your settlement award. If a case settles before trial, you may owe a lower percentage. According to the American Bar Association, most contingent fee arrangements range from 33.33% (or one-third of the settlement) to 40% of the total.
For example, let’s say you sign a client agreement with a set 35% contingent fee. If your compensation award is $500,000, the legal team would be entitled to $175,000.
Payment of the contingency fee is only due in the event you win your case. If you lose at trial, you will not owe the law firm. Though, you may still be required to pay some client or court costs – as outlined in your hiring agreement.
Before signing a contract to hire a mesothelioma lawyer, be sure to ask about contingent fees and what costs you’ll be responsible for if your case is not successful.
Cost of Filing an Appeal
Most attorney agreements end at the conclusion of the case. Normally, trial litigators do not stay on a case even after an appeal is filed. Instead, lawyers trained in appeals will handle the case moving forward.
Appeals attorneys, also known as appellate lawyers, take over cases when one of the parties requests a higher court to review a lower court’s decision.
Your client agreement will tell you who will handle your case (or if you’ll need to find new representation) should the defendant(s) appeal. Additionally, the agreement will explain how case materials and paperwork will be transferred to the appellate law firm.
Mesothelioma makes many patients too sick to work. Call us for help finding other compensation options.
Is It Worth It to Hire a Mesothelioma Lawyer?
Though mesothelioma lawyers receive a percentage of your settlement, you will still receive compensation. Choosing the right asbestos attorney can help to increase your total award amount. It’s important to hire a firm with experience and acumen. Simply searching for a low-cost lawyer near you could negatively affect the outcome of your legal claim.
Meet with more than one lawyer when hiring counsel. Too, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The best personal injury lawyer for you will understand your personal situation and know how to shape a winning case.