Picking A Lawyer After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

May 6, 2014

Finding an attorney with the experience and know-how to succeed.

If you or a loved one is facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, you’re likely facing questions and fears that make the situation more difficult and confusing. But finding the right attorney for your mesothelioma case doesn’t have to be scary.

Your primary tools are preparation and critical thinking: Ask lots of questions and always remember that you are the client! You get to decide who represents your interests, so ask the tough questions and demand clear answers. Here are some thoughts to get you started.

What is the law firm’s actual record in mesothelioma cases? What kind of success has the firm had in cases like yours?

Mesothelioma cases are not identical. A reputable firm with substantial experience will be able to compare the details of your case—how asbestos exposure was encountered, duration of exposure, etc.—with others they’ve previously handled. Of the cases like yours, how many have achieved positive results? How many have they settled out of court?

How many of the law firm’s cases actually make it to court?

Following the first question, you need to ask for hard numbers of cases settled out of court versus those litigated, i.e.: taken to court. An experienced, tenacious law firm will likely have a higher percentage of litigated cases because they’re comfortable fighting for their clients.

Each case is unique, and the facts will determine its course, but most often, cases take one of two paths: litigation or submissions to various Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts (or, a combination of these two paths). A potential mesothelioma attorney that suggests bankruptcy trusts as your only viable option should be questioned. Litigation should not be ignored as an option.

Will the lawyer or law firm directly handle my case?

Some of the law firms you see on TV or the Internet advertising for mesothelioma clients do nothing but farm calls from prospective clients, turning them over to another law firm for a tidy profit. The lawyer and law firm you want should have experience directly prosecuting mesothelioma cases—that experience will serve you well in your fight for justice.

Will I be charged for legal representation? What if the case isn’t successful?

There’s big money at stake in asbestos litigation, but don’t let dollar amounts intimidate you. Many law firms, like Baron and Budd, work on a contingency fee system. This means you pay zero upfront for our expertise in handling your case, and we get paid a percentage of the final overall case result if we achieve compensation for you, along with all of the expenses of handling the lawsuit, such as filing fees. If we are not successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf, it doesn’t cost you a dime.

This is not the case with all firms, who might try to charge you for incurred expenses if the case doesn’t succeed. Always carefully read the contract before you sign!

How much experience does the law firm have with mesothelioma lawsuits?

In this highly complex and specialized area of the law, you’ll want to see lots of recent experience in court with actual mesothelioma cases. Ask about how your potential attorney stays on top of all the changes in this area of the law. How often has he or she gone up against “the big boys,” those asbestos companies that are often targeted in mesothelioma lawsuits? How many years has the attorney been doing this?

Does the law firm have appellate wins?

Large asbestos companies often appeal the large (winning) verdicts of plaintiffs, so your law firm needs to have the wherewithal, expertise and resources to take the case to the appeals level if it comes to that. Baron and Budd has prepared a mesothelioma appeals page specifically to address this issue.

Did clients receive the full dollar amounts listed on the law firm’s website?

Is the law firm listing the gross amount of the recovery on their website, or the actual amount taken home by clients after legal fees and expenses have been taken out? The difference in these two numbers can be substantial and you deserve to know the actual amounts clients and their families received.

More than 35 years ago, Baron and Budd’s mesothelioma attorneys were among the first in the U.S. to take on an asbestos-related case, and our dedication to helping people fight has only increased over the years.

To learn more, call us at (866) 538-0485 or email us here for a free consultation.