Mesothelioma Lawsuits - Frequently Asked Questions

by Peter Kent - Date: 2007-10-04 - Word Count: 655 Share This!

It's a disastrous diagnosis - mesothelioma contracted from occupational exposure. It is well known that the symptoms of mesothelioma can appear years, even decades, after occupational exposure, and its effects can be life-changing at best, life-threatening at worst. As soon as you have found competent medical care for your mesothelioma, you should consider filing a mesothelioma law suit with an experienced attorney. But what does mesothelioma litigation entail? This article will answer some frequently asked questions about filing your mesothelioma law suit.

What does "occupational exposure" mean?

"Occupational exposure" means that you were exposed to the agent that caused your mesothelioma - usually the toxic mineral asbestos in its insulation and fireproofing forms - in the usual course of business. If you worked with asbestos and then contracted mesothelioma, even if it was years after the exposure, you experienced occupational exposure.

What does a mesothelioma lawsuit entail?

Litigation is a long and often confusing process. When you contact a lawyer about a potential mesothelioma claim, you will typically present your medical records and diagnosis for his assessment before he can tell you if you have a chance in court. If the lawyer determines that your case is sound and will probably recover some monetary compensation and damages, he will take on your case, usually with a retainer or fee agreement. The lawyer will then file a complaint and summons suing the appropriate parties for the exposure leading up to mesothelioma.

The court will set a series of dates for discovery and trial and, if the case does not settle, both parties will begin to work towards building a case. Since mesothelioma is a disease, an Independent Medical Examiner (IME) will probably be involved in your case. An IME conducts an unbiased medical investigation into your mesothelioma and examines your medical records. The other side will probably request your medical records, as well, in order to determine if you had a pre-existing condition or other medical problems that may relieve them of responsibility for your occupational mesothelioma. Be prepared to sign waivers releasing this medical information to the requesting parties. Your attorney will advise you which documents to sign and which releases to give. During the discovery process, your attorney may also consult with medical and other experts, who perform a variety of services such as document review and reports, medical examinations and detailed expert testimony on issues related to asbestos exposure, mesothelioma and employment.

If your case goes to trial, expect your lawyer to consult with other experts such as trial preparation specialists, who conduct mock trials and coordinate convincing exhibits, multimedia experts who can help present the evidence at trial in the most convincing manner, and witnesses who can bolster your own testimony in your mesothelioma trial. In an effort to avoid the cost and expense of a lengthy jury trial, many states require a mandatory settlement conference (MSC) or arbitration at which both parties sit down for a last-ditch attempt to resolve your complaints. This may or may not result in a monetary settlement. If a jury finds in your favor, you may be eligible for damages above and beyond just your medical treatment; pain and suffering, loss of employment, and other damages may apply.

Do Patients Win Mesothelioma Law Suits?

It may seem like a daunting process, but patients do effectively fight and win against employers who have caused them to be exposed to toxic asbestos and its devastating health effects. Often, employers knew of the health dangers of asbestos but did not warn their workers or enable them to work in safe conditions. This negligence, both willful and accidental, means that employers bear some responsibility for the health damages of asbestos exposure incurred during occupational work. Patients can and do win mesothelioma law suits, and many multi-million dollar payouts have been recorded for the victims of mesothelioma and their families. If you have mesothelioma, it is vital to contact an experienced and competent mesothelioma lawyer in order to recover your rightful compensation.

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