Articles, Finding a Lawyer

How to Choose a Mesothelioma Lawyer

Written By: Amanda Winstead
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated September 29, 2021

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mesothelioma lawyer

Are you looking for a mesothelioma lawyer? Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating for you and your family. A cancer diagnosis will likely cause you stress, worry, fear, and anger. There’s so much that goes into fighting cancer, including finding a lawyer if your cancer was caused by workplace conditions, which is often the case when someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you have never searched for a lawyer before or have never needed one because of a cancer diagnosis, you might be feeling overwhelmed with the process. Let’s explore how you can find the best mesothelioma lawyer for your case so you are properly represented.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, the tissue that covers your organs. This form of cancer has no cure; however, there are treatment options available for those diagnosed. Despite the treatments, mesothelioma is a highly deadly cancer. The most common form of this type of cancer is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the tissue that covers the lungs. Mesothelioma can also occur in the abdomen and is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. 

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

Patients that exhibit the following symptoms might be suffering from pleural mesothelioma:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss that cannot be explained
  • Unusual tissue lumps on your chest under the skin

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Patients exhibiting the following signs might be suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma:

  • Nausea
  • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Pain in the abdomen

It’s important to note that these signs and symptoms are not specific to mesothelioma and are often caused by many other diseases and illnesses. This is why you should see a doctor when you are not feeling well or when symptoms begin to concern you or last longer than you had hoped.

Asbestos is the Main Risk Factor for Mesothelioma

Asbestos is the main risk factor for mesothelioma. Also, asbestos is a part of nature and was once used widely in construction because of its resistance to heat and high temperatures. Asbestos was used in insulation, flooring, shingles, brakes, and other products. When products with asbestos are destroyed, such as during demolition, dust is created. If the dust is inhaled, the person can wind up developing mesothelioma. 

Researchers are still trying to figure out how asbestos particles cause mesothelioma when they settle in the stomach or lungs. However, it can take anywhere from 20 to 60 years for mesothelioma to develop after someone is exposed to asbestos dust. Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma, which means that an inherited predisposition to cancer could be a factor that increases your risk. Other factors that could include your risk include the following:

  • You live with someone who works around asbestos
  • You work around asbestos
  • A family member had mesothelioma
  • You underwent radiation therapy to your chest

The most common professions that are exposed to asbestos include the following:

  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Asbestos miners
  • Pipefitters
  • Brake mechanics
  • Demolition professionals
  • Insulators
  • Home contractors
  • Shipyard employees
  • Some military personnel

Financial Strain Caused by Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is so devastating, treatment such as telehealth appointments can cause large financial strain on you and your family. You can use telehealth for check-ups as well as mental health checks, but the costs can add up. As the disease progresses, you will have trouble working, making it difficult to provide for your family. Mesothelioma is a long-term disease, which means that you will be eligible for Social Security disability benefits (only issues when the disability will last for more than one year). Even with benefits, you will likely still struggle to pay the bills.

Because of the financial struggle placed on you and your family by a mesothelioma diagnosis, you should pursue damages against your employer, manufacturers of the product you worked with, and other entities when filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Doing so can ensure that the bills are paid, your family is fed, and that there is money available for future medical costs.

When Should I Find a Mesothelioma Lawyer?

The process of finding a mesothelioma lawyer should commence not long after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Finding a lawyer sooner rather than later can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your illness and that your family is in a good financial place before you pass away. 

Having a lawyer specialized in mesothelioma cases by your side will also ensure that you file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations set forth by the law in the state where you reside. Missing the statute of limitations can lead to the court dismissing your case.

When you choose a lawyer to represent you after a mesothelioma diagnosis, you won’t have to deal with the attorney for the defendant in the case or the defendant’s insurance company/adjuster. A lawyer helps remove a lot of the stress and work associated with mesothelioma. 

Finding a Mesothelioma Lawyer

When the time comes to find a mesothelioma lawyer, the search could wind up adding more stress to your life as you battle with this disease. This is an overwhelming process that needs to be handled with care so that you find the best lawyer for your situation.

Ask for a Referral

One of the best ways to find a mesothelioma lawyer is by asking for a referral from a family member or trusted friend. Yes, you can find a lawyer by conducting an online search, reading or watching ads, or using a referral service. However, there’s no better way to find a lawyer than by receiving a direct, personal recommendation from someone you trust. When you can receive feedback from someone you know who personally used the lawyer for their case, it can make the decision much easier.

The Lawyer’s Area of Specialty

You will want to choose a lawyer who specializes in mesothelioma cases, not just personal injury or medical malpractice. Mesothelioma cases are intricate. A lawyer who has experience with mesothelioma cases will be able to build a case in your favor that outlines why you deserve to be compensated for your injuries.

Check the References of the Lawyer

Every mesothelioma lawyer you speak with should have contact information from satisfied clients. Request that information and contact those clients to hear what they have to say about the work performed by the lawyer.

Review the Lawyer’s Case Results

The best mesothelioma lawyers will have no problem sharing their case results with you when determining whether or not you will use their services. If the lawyer hasn’t won large lawsuits related to mesothelioma, you might want to steer clear and find someone else.

Contact the Local Bar Association

The state bar association where you live can tell you if any of the lawyers on your list have had complaints or disciplinary actions taken against them. You can also browse lists of mesothelioma lawyers that are published by the state bar association, making it easier to narrow down your search.

Schedule a Personal Interview

Choosing a mesothelioma lawyer is very important. That’s why you should schedule a personal interview with each lawyer who makes it onto your list of candidates. The interview should include a case evaluation, which is where the lawyer will provide an honest assessment of your case and the chances of winning the lawsuit.

Be sure to ask plenty of questions at these interviews and take notes. Request to record the interview using the voice app on your phone. This allows you to pay closer attention to what is discussed instead of worrying about writing down notes. You can then listen to the interview once you return home.

Many lawyers will provide you with a written document that explains how your case will be handled by the firm and by whom. This document should include how quickly your phone calls and emails will be returned as well.

Some of the questions you should ask the mesothelioma lawyer during the interview include the following:

  • What are the claims you can help me with?
  • Will I need to do a lot of traveling?
  • Can the lawsuit be filed in a different state?
  • Do you specialize in asbestos cases?
  • Can you outline your experience with asbestos litigation?
  • While the case is pending, who covers the costs?
  • How do you handle compensation?
  • Will any expenses come out of my own pocket?
  • Will my case be referred elsewhere or will your firm handle it directly?

Ask About Fees

One area that many people forget to discuss when meeting with potential mesothelioma lawyers is what it will cost to be represented by the lawyer. The majority of mesothelioma lawyers charge a contingency fee for representing you, which ranges from 30-40% of the award you receive if the lawsuit is successful or you reach a settlement outside of court. The best mesothelioma lawyers will help share the costs of expert witnesses and filing fees with their clients.

Read more: How to Sell a Structured Settlement

Fighting for Compensation After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

It is in your best interest to fight for compensation if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Receiving compensation for your illness can help alleviate the financial burdens set about by the disease. If you follow the tips provided above, you should have no problem finding a mesothelioma lawyer who can build a strong case in your fight against this horrible disease.

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