Frequently Asked Legal Questions
Mesothelioma and Your Legal Rights
Mesothelioma Source is dedicated to providing those diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families every possible resource. We understand that coping with mesothelioma is a difficult process, and you may or may not choose to pursue a lawsuit. However, if you are interested in your legal options, this section provides information on the litigation process as well as how to select an attorney.
The Typical Recovery Process
This section covers the key parts of a typical asbestos lawsuit. Please note that every lawsuit is different, and this list covers the major elements that can be reasonably expected.
Before the actual lawsuit lawsuit is filed, you and the lawyer you have chosen will sign an attorney-client contract. In addition, the attorney will request that you sign medical, employment, and social security releases. This information is necessary for the attorneys you're working with to gather information and evidence to assist them in the lawsuit.
In addition, your attorney will ask you a number of important questions about where you have worked and what you remember about your asbestos exposure. This should include the number of years worked, your acquaintances, and the names of any asbestos products you remember working with.
2. Lawsuit FilingThis stage of the lawsuit occurs after your attorney has gathered as much information as possible on the details of your asbestos exposure. A formal document, or ‘complaint' is filed that informs the defendants, typically the companies responsible for your exposure, of the details of your claim. Typically, the defendant(s) will then reply to your claim with either a denial of responsibility or a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. These motions to dismiss are often a tactic used by the asbestos companies to stall, hoping that you won't live long enough to see the trial.
3. DiscoveryThis phase of the process occurs after any motions to dismiss are denied and the defendant(s) reply to the claim. The defendant will typically submit a number of written questions in the form of interrogatories, which you will be required to answer under oath. In addition, they will seek to obtain past medical records and find other possible causes, such as smoking. Another common defense is the claim that you have known about your asbestos-related disease longer than originally claimed, which exceeds the statute of limitations.
4. The Trial - Steps
- Jury Selection
- Preliminary Jury Instructions
- Plaintiff Opening Statement
- Defense Opening Statement
- Plaintiff Evidence & Witnesses
- Plaintiff Rests Case
- Defense Motions to Dismiss Lawsuit
- Defense Evidence & Witnesses
- Defense Rests Case
- Plaintiff Evidence & Witnesses to Rebutt Defense
- Jury Instructions
- Plaintiff Closing Statement
- Defense Closing Statement
- Plaintiff's Rebuttal Closing
- Jury Deliberations
Appeals can occur if the jury awards compensation to the plaintiff. However, if the defense appeals the verdict, they must ‘post bond' in the amount of the award that was decided by the jury.