What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. This form of cancer typically occurs in the lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen, or heart. In the U.S. there are about 3,200 people diagnosed each year with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Before 1980, asbestos was a popular material used in thousands of products due to it’s heat resistance, strength, and relatively low cost. However, when asbestos-containing products are disturbed, tiny asbestos fibers can be released into the air. These fibers, which often look like dust, are easily inhaled or swallowed. Once in the body, asbestos fibers can settle in the lungs or stomach and cause mesothelioma to develop.
Symptoms of mesothelioma can take as long as 20-50 years to appear. Early detection offers the best chance for a positive outcome. If you experience any of the following symptoms, meet with your doctor as soon as possible.
A mass in the abdomen
Ascites (abnormal build up of fluid in the abdomen)
Chills and fever
Decreased appetite, weight loss
Lower back pain
Pleural effusion (fluid surrounding the lung)
Shortness of breath
Special court-ordered trusts, estimated at over $30 Billion, have been set up to provide money for mesothelioma victims and their families that file a successful claim. This money can be used to help cover the high costs of hospital bills and medical treatment, lost wages, and suffering.
Don’t let unpaid medical bills pile up and place a financial strain on you and your loved ones. Prioritize possible financial security and file an asbestos claim through the Mesothelioma Claims Center.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process
If you decide to file a lawsuit, your attorney will assist you through the process. While everyone’s case is different, there are a number of steps that apply to nearly everyone who files an asbestos-related lawsuit. Your attorney will handle each of these steps and explain the process as it goes along. For the most part, mesothelioma lawsuits follow these steps:
Step 1: Preparation
Your attorney will gather information about your asbestos exposure and illness to determine who is responsible for your condition and in which court to file your lawsuit. You may be eligible to file your lawsuit in more than one court.
An asbestos and mesothelioma attorney will be able to use the information gathered earlier in the preparation stage to help you choose the most favorable court for your lawsuit.
Step 2: Filing
Your lawyer must file a written complaint with a court to start the legal process. Your attorney will prepare and file this document. For your case to move forward, your complaint must follow different court rules on how the document is written and the details it provides about your claim. An experienced attorney will be familiar with these rules, the issues that often arise in asbestos lawsuits and use this knowledge to help present your claims to the court.
Step 3: Responses
Each defendant in your lawsuit will also receive a copy of your complaint and have the chance to respond. Because many years likely have passed since you were exposed to asbestos, the responsible company could now be a different company or could be bankrupt. It may take some time to locate and provide the appropriate people with your complaint. Your attorney will oversee this process.
Once served with a copy of your complaint, each defendant will have a certain amount of time to respond, usually 30 days. Understand that defendants rarely admit fault. They most likely will deny your claims and defend themselves. They may argue that your complaint is not valid or that someone or something else is responsible for your asbestos exposure. They may even claim that your condition is not related to asbestos exposure. Don’t worry. This is normal. Your attorney will reply to each defendant’s responses.
Step 4: Discovery
During discovery, lawyers on both sides gather information about your allegations. Both sides will ask the other side to answer written questions, produce documents and participate in depositions. Some of the information gathered will become the evidence used at trial. Discovery may take several months, but if you are very ill, your attorney can ask the court to speed the process along before your condition worsens.
The defendant’s lawyers will look for evidence that something or someone else caused your illness. As a result, they will demand very personal information about you like your medical history, work history and information about your personal habits. They will also seek information from your loved ones, doctors, co-workers and former co-workers.
You probably will need to participate in a videotaped deposition. If so, you will answer questions under oath from the defendant’s lawyer. This process may take a few hours or several days, but can be performed from the comfort of your own home.
Your attorney will prepare your responses to any written questions and document requests. Your lawyer will also go over likely deposition questions with you in advance and be present to assist you during the deposition. In addition to helping you respond to discovery requests, your lawyer will also make similar demands to the defendant for information supporting your claim that the defendant negligently exposed you to asbestos.
Step 5: Settlement
Before a trial starts, a defendant may offer to resolve the case by offering you money. If you decline the settlement offer, it’s possible the defendant will make another offer during trial. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf. Visit our verdicts and settlements page for more information about factors that can influence your decision whether to go to trial.
Step 6: Trial
The trial process varies depending on where you file a claim. In many cases, it is not necessary for you to appear in court. If you win and the defendant does not appeal, you will usually start receiving payments a few months after the trial.
Step 7: Appeal
If you win the trial, the defendant may decide to file an appeal. There is a limited amount of time to file an appeal, usually between 30 and 180 days. This will delay any monetary award, but the defendant will need to post “bond” for the amount awarded while the appeal proceeds. If the defendant loses its appeal, you will start receiving payments. If the appeal is successful, the defendant may end up paying a smaller amount or nothing at all.
An appeals court generally accepts any facts the trial judge and jury found to be true. Usually the only thing an appeals court decides is whether the trial court correctly applied the law to the case. If a mistake was made that affected the result of the trial, the appeals court may order a new trial. Sometimes the appeals court can just correct the mistake without a new trial, such as when the amount of the award was calculated incorrectly. If your case is appealed, your attorney will be available to explain the process to you.