Building a Mesothelioma Case
People exposed to asbestos have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma. Unfortunately, most mesothelioma diagnoses are a direct result of negligent occupational asbestos exposure. Victims and their families are typically eligible for financial compensation from the organizations that used asbestos or asbestos-laden products. If you’re planning to file a claim for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to understand the mesothelioma case timeline to ensure the best outcome possible.
Statutes of Limitations
After a patient receives a mesothelioma diagnosis, there is only a small window of time in which to file an asbestos lawsuit. The statute of limitations defines the amount of time a victim or their family has to file, and for asbestos cases, it’s approximately three years. However, the exact timeframe varies on a case-by-case basis. The process takes time, and it’s important to act quickly.
Mesothelioma Case Timeline
The mesothelioma litigation process doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re well-prepared you can tackle the situation head-on and ensure an efficient outcome. There are a few steps each patient must take before receiving compensation, which includes:
Step 1: Seek appropriate legal counsel
Once you or a family member decides to file a claim, it’s time to find proper representation. Finding an experienced mesothelioma attorney to represent you and navigate your case is extremely important, and will greatly affect your compensation decision. They’ll be the primary voice on the case, gather all appropriate documents, and even investigate the companies responsible for asbestos exposure.
Step 2: Interview
Once you’ve found representation, it’s time to sit down and gather all available information. Your lawyer will assess the situation based on your health history, length of exposure, and medical diagnosis. They’ll advise you on the best way to move forward with your case since there are different types of lawsuits to consider.
Step 3: Gather all relevant documentation
After you’ve discussed viable options with your attorney and decided what type of claim to file, it’s time to start gathering all relevant documentation. This includes your mesothelioma diagnosis and proof you were exposed to asbestos at work. An attorney can help you secure this information.
Step 4: File the asbestos claim
Once you gather all the relevant documentation, it’s time to submit the claim. Legal venue, or where the claim is filed is also extremely relevant, as different cases have varying success rates in certain states. Your lawyer will determine the best place for an optimal outcome.
Step 5: Prepare for the response
The defendants, or companies responsible for your asbestos exposure, will receive a copy of the grievance and recruit their own legal counsel. They’ll have the opportunity to refute your complaint by collecting all the information they have on you, your employment, and health record. The window of time for the defendant to respond, however, is only about thirty days. Typically, companies will deny all responsibility and claim the asbestos exposure happened somewhere else. This is the typical legal strategy and your attorney will be prepared for this.
Step 6: Investigate
This is also known as the discovery stage. Your attorney will start gathering all available evidence from the asbestos companies, and the defendant’s attorneys will also request information from you. They may ask about your illness or other relevant information to the case, and you may even be asked to give a deposition. A deposition is sworn out-of-court testimony that may be used at trial.
Step 7: Establish a fair settlement
Cases only go to trial if a settlement agreement cannot be reached, but this rarely happens. Typically, the defendant won’t want a damaging verdict on their record, so the defendant’s attorney will make an offer. Both sides will negotiate back and forth until a settlement is reached. In the unlikely situation the case goes to court, you may have to testify about your illness and work history. The judge will then make the final decision, or verdict.
Step 8: Receive Compensation
It may take some time to receive compensation. There is always a possibility the defendant could file an appeal. This only happens if another court is asked to verify the legalities of the case, however, there’s only a short window, from 30 to 160 days to file an appeal. The average length of time it takes to receive compensation is between three months to one year.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Learn more about your legal options and complete our free case evaluation form.