How to Find a Mesothelioma Attorney
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may have a claim against the party responsible for exposing you to the asbestos. Mesothelioma cases are unique in the legal field due to the long period between being exposed and getting sick. Therefore, it is extremely important to find an attorney who is familiar with taking on these sorts of cases. You have a limited amount of time to pursue your claim, so you should find an attorney as soon as possible after your diagnosis. You will find lots of lawyers advertising themselves online and it can be hard to determine who to trust. Be thorough in your search, and interview a number of lawyers until you are happy with your choice.
Preparing to Search for an Attorney
Determine the jurisdiction. Before you get started on the search for an attorney, you must make sure you are clear about the appropriate county, or parish, and state in which to bring your claim. A lawsuit should be brought in the county, or parish, and state in which the person you are suing, called the Defendant, lives or operates a business.
- Do not limit your search to your local community. Your case may be filed in a different state to where you live.
- Many specialist mesothelioma attorneys will have practices in a number of different states.
- Before you begin the search for an attorney think about the sort of person and the sort of law firm you would feel most comfortable working with.
- The percentage of the settlement which goes to the attorney can vary widely. You should aim to find a good lawyer who will charge 30-40% of your award. While this may seem high, it is considered a fairly normal fee because of the complexity of these cases.
- If you are bringing your case in states such as Louisiana, California, Washington, or Pennsylvania, there may be even more specific rules regarding fee arrangements in asbestos cases.
- Bear in mind that finding a lawyer with an excellent track record of successful claims and large payouts may make paying a slightly higher percentage worthwhile.
- If a trusted friend or colleague can recommend an attorney this could be a good option.
- If your colleague got a good result, and they had a good working relationship with the lawyer, you should add this lawyer to your shortlist.
- It’s important that you spend some time carefully reading through the legal information each lawyer provides on the website.
- You should be looking for well-written and in-depth information that evidences the expertise, experience and sensitivity of the attorney.
- Be wary of adverts that do not provide detailed information, and just make a bald statement, such as “Millions of Dollars Guaranteed”.
- In general, you should use the internet as part of a larger search process. A lot of the information surrounding these kinds of cases can be misleading and untrue. Be skeptical of internet advertisements and always follow up.
- Popular attorney directories include Lawdingo.com, Lawyers.com, LawInfo,and FindLaw.
- You can also contact your local Bar Association and ask for a recommendation for a mesothelioma attorney.
Evaluating the Attorneys
- Review the site for the quality of information, grammar and spelling, and visual appeal. Attorneys who maintain sites with large amounts of grammar and spelling errors, low quality articles, and a barrage of ads can be crossed of your list.
- Doing a basic name search. Run a search for each attorney in your favourite search engine, putting his or her name in quotation marks, “Joseph Stephens” or “Ann Sterling” for example.
- Searching a person’s name or her name and location will sometimes return valuable information about her such as social media or business profiles, news items, or press releases.
- Locating client reviews. Many business directories and attorney listings include information about each attorney, such as client reviews, which can be a valuable source of information when deciding who to hire in your fight for compensation.
- Getting a reference like this will be better than relying on a brief statement by an anonymous person on the attorney’s website.
- The attorney will only give you the details of somebody who had a successful case, but it is still useful to talk to someone who has worked with the attorney and been through the process.
- Contact an attorney’s office directly and say you are interested in her services, and would like to check some references before making an appointment for a consultation.
- If the attorney is helpful, friendly and accommodating, that is a good sign.
- You can find your local bar association’s website by selecting your state from the State & Local Bar Associations page provided by the American Bar Association.
- When you get to the state bar’s website in the state where the attorney is licensed, do a quick search for any ethics violations. In general, all you will need is the attorney’s name or bar number.
- The attorney’s office may give you a document that outlines what to expect from the consultation and provides you contact numbers and further information.
- A swift and helpful service at this can indicate that the office is professionally run.
- Write down your initial impression of each attorney and his or her answers to your questions.
- Notes about your meeting will help you remember which lawyer said and did what, so that you can better decide which attorney is right for you.
- You should try to ask questions that will help you determine if the professionalism, experience, expertise and sensitivity of the attorney.
- Ask if the lawyer has handled a mesothelioma case before, approximately how many he or she has handled, and what the outcome of those cases was.
- Determine whether the attorney will handle the case personally or if it will be delegated to somebody else in the office.
- Find out the fees and charges, and what percentage of the settlement will be paid to attorney.
- Ask whether the costs for things such as filing fees and expert witnesses will be deducted from the settlement before the money is divided between you and the attorney.
- A good attorney should do this, as it shares the costs of the claim between both parties.
Making Your Decision
Spot dubious lawyers. Before you go any further you should make yourself aware of any practices by attorneys that are dubious or against the profession’s code of conduct. An attorney who has acted in this way towards you should be avoided. Attorneys should not make specific promises about your case, or offer you a “guaranteed result”.
- The attorney cannot change the quality of their representation according to how much you pay, and they cannot suggest a better result if you pay more.
- The fee should be determined by the amount of time and work done by the attorney, the quality should not change.
- Attorneys should not solicit your business unless you have contacted them, or given them permission to contact you.
- Your initial reaction to each. It is important that you trust your attorney and feel comfortable with him or her. You will be spending a lot of time with this person, after all.
- Experience. While a younger less experienced attorney may seem very enthusiastic and committed, but experience is very important. This is a big decision and you should carefully study somebody’s record of successful claims.
- The answers given to your questions. Did the attorney actually answer your questions or did he or she avoid the question by talking about something else? Did all of the attorneys give the same answers? Does any particular candidate stand out as more or less qualified than the others for the job?