Friday, November 9, 2007
Mesothelioma is a rare but fatal form of cancer that almost always develops as a result of asbestos exposure. This disease typically affects the lining that encases the lungs, but can also occur in the chest or abdominal cavity. Most people with mesothelioma will die within one to five years of diagnosis, depending on how far advanced their disease is. Being diagnosed with mesothelioma is a distressing time for the sufferer and their family, and it can be difficult to cope with the strain and expense of dealing with the disease.The stress of coping with the expense of treatment and lifestyle changes associated with mesothelioma can be alleviated considerably by employing an attorney who can help you fight for compensation from the company that was responsible for your asbestos exposure. A mesothelioma attorney who is experienced at dealing with these types of cases can work with you to secure not only compensation, but also justice for the pain and suffering you experience. Choosing your AttorneyChoosing a mesothelioma attorney may seem like a daunting task-there are many attorneys who are specialized in dealing with such cases. Ideally you'll want to choose an attorney who has plenty of experience, with a proven track record of winning or settling lawsuits successfully. Of course, no attorney will be able to tell you any personal details about the clients they have worked with, but a good attorney should still be able to provide you with general details such as how many cases they have dealt with, how quickly these cases were resolved, and the amount of compensation their clients received.There are several other questions you should ask when selecting an attorney. One of the most important is how the fees for your case will be handled. Most people with mesothelioma will find that money is tight, and because of this, many attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means your attorney is paid only when you receive compensation-if you do not receive any money, the attorney does not charge a fee.It's also a good idea to ask a prospective attorney what your role will be in the case, and how the case will be handled. Try to get an overview of what the process will be like, both before and during the court case. You may also want to ask the attorney what percentage of their mesothelioma cases were settled out of court. Many cases of this type are settled before the court date, and this not only means the process is completed more quickly, but it also puts much less strain on you.Selecting your attorney as quickly as possible once you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma is important. All states have a statute of limitations on this type of case, which means that if you do not file a lawsuit within a certain period of time, you lose your right to make a claim. In most states, this period is one to three years after diagnosis-your attorney will know all the details, but your job is finding that attorney quickly to prevent any unnecessary delays in getting your case resolved. However, do not feel pressured to select the first attorney you talk with-in most cases there will be time to talk to several different people and choose the one that you feel most comfortable with.Working with your AttorneyOnce you have chosen an attorney, the next step is working with them to put together the facts of your case. This can be a somewhat difficult task, simply because there can be a gap of up to 40 years between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis. That means it may be hard to remember exactly when, where and how you were exposed to asbestos. Your attorney will be able to help you with this-most attorneys will have considerable research tools at their disposal, and you won't need to do any of this work alone.Most mesothelioma attorneys will make every effort to build a case with as little inconvenience to you as possible. In most cases, you'll be required to sign documents that give your attorney the legal right to gather medical and other relevant information. You may need to give depositions to your attorney and perhaps to the defendant's attorney as well. An experienced mesothelioma attorney will understand that you may not be up to repeated visits to their office and will do their best to make sure the process does not put too much strain on you.
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Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit www.johnsonlawgroup.com