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Choosing an Asbestos Attorney in Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Aug 17, 2007
Choosing an asbestos attorney to represent you in a mesothelioma lawsuit is one of the most important decisions that you'll make if you decide to pursue compensation for your illness. Your choice of asbestos attorney can make a very big difference not only to the size of your settlement, but to your overall experience in bringing suit.

An experienced asbestos attorney can do far more than fight for your rights in court. He or she and his law firm can help you in many other areas while you are awaiting a court date or awaiting settlement. Your choice will affect whether you win or lose, the size of your settlement, how long it takes to settle your suit or bring it to trial, and how involved you will have to be during the process. That's why it's important for you to make a careful choice when considering which asbestos attorney to choose. Here are some recommendations to help you make your choice.

1. Look for recommendations from others who are dealing with or have dealt with a mesothelioma lawsuit.
There are many networks of people who are dealing with or have dealt with asbestos related diseases. If you belong to a mailing list, support group or online network of people who are living with or have lost loved ones to an asbestos related disease, ask for personal recommendations from the members of your group. A personal recommendation will allow you to get a feel for how a law firm or attorney actually handles asbestos cases.

2. Look online for experienced asbestos attorneys.
But don't stop there. Check your local legal directories and your local and state bar associations. You can find a great deal of information about local lawyers in the Martindale-Hubble Law Directory which you can find in most public libraries. Doing a bit of research can help you narrow your choices down to those lawyers who specialize in personal injury law and mesothelioma cases.

3. Check the background, education and records of the asbestos attorney that you are considering.
Check with your state bar association to be certain that the attorneys you are considering are licensed to practice law in your state. You can also check their background, education, experience and any disciplinary record through your state bar association.

4. Ask questions. Be prepared with a list of questions when you first contact the asbestos attorney or attorneys that you are considering. Among the questions you should ask:

- What is your experience in asbestos litigation?

- Have you handled many cases like mine?

- Will you be handling my case yourself or will you be referring my case to another law firm? Many law firms will refer your asbestos case to a law firm in your area that specializes in asbestos litigation. It's a common practice, but you should know in advance who will actually be handling your case.

- How many mesothelioma and asbestos related cases has your firm handled? How many are you handling currently? An experienced asbestos attorney or law firm has many resources on which to draw when preparing your case. They also have the knowledge to evaluate your case and help you make a decision on whether to settle or go to trial.

- How many mesothelioma lawsuits have you won? How many have you settled out of court?

- What was the average settlement in each case (in court and out of court)? No law firm can give you a guarantee of a positive outcome, nor predict how high an award or settlement you'll receive, but knowing the average settlement won in a case like yours can give you an idea of how successful the law firm is in handling these cases.

- What is the average length of time it takes for your law firm to settle a case? How often do you choose to settle rather than go to trial? Sometimes, it will be in the client's best interest to settle rather than go to trial. Jury trials can be long, involved processes that take up valuable energy and time that you might prefer to spend on your health or with your family. Knowing the philosophy of the law firm that you are working with about this can be valuable.

- What is your fee setup for mesothelioma cases? Most asbestos attorneys work on a contingency basis. You only pay if they win the suit or get a settlement for you. This isn't always the case. Be sure that you know in advance what it will cost you to work with a law firm or attorney.

Consider all of these factors when you're choosing an asbestos attorney, and weigh them against your own personal comfort with the law firm and lawyers. Pursuing compensation in an asbestos case can be difficult and time consuming. The asbestos attorney that you choose can make it much easier for you in so many ways.
About the Author
Tim Dillard is a marketing executive who has worked with some of the largest law firms in America. Dillard is currently the president of Dillard Local Branding (http://www.dlbllc.com), a Houston-based web design, Internet marketing and search engine marketing firm.
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