Legal Process FAQs
If you're considering legal action against any defendants who may have been responsible for your asbestos exposure, you'll probably have many questions about how the legal system works in regards to mesothelioma lawsuits. Here are some of the most common:
How long can I take to decide whether or not to file a lawsuit?
A number of factors, including where you live, will determine how much time you have to file a suit once you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma. This is called the "statute of limitations." Your lawyer should be able to advise you as to the statute of limitations in the jurisdiction in which you are filing.
What if I can't afford a lawyer?
Most mesothelioma lawyers work on what is called a "contingency basis." That means they require no upfront fees and will only be paid if you receive a settlement. There will be no out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the plaintiff. Contact your local bar association if you are having difficulty locating an experienced mesothelioma attorney.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
There is no definite answer to this question. Some jurisdictions have new laws that allow them to place a rush on mesothelioma lawsuits with plaintiffs who are still living. On an average, suits often take from one to two years.
How much money will I receive?
Mesothelioma settlements vary from case to case. If you are suing a company(ies) that is still in business, your settlement may be higher than if your suit involves a bankrupt company. Companies who have entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy often have limited funds available to victims of asbestos disease.
Will my case go to court?
Not necessarily. Many defendants try to settle before going to trial. Your lawyer will help you determine whether or not to accept a particular settlement or proceed to a court trial.
If I smoked and have mesothelioma, can I still file a suit?
Yes. The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. While smoking aggravates the condition and may cause it to develop more quickly, cigarette smoking DOES NOT cause mesothelioma.
I don't know how I developed mesothelioma. Can I still sue?
Yes, a good lawyer with a knowledgeable staff can help determine where and how you were exposed to asbestos by examining your work history and other facts about your life. Once they've determined how you were exposed, a lawsuit can be filed.
I'm a U.S. armed forces veteran who has mesothelioma due to exposure during my service. Can I sue the government?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. If you were an enlisted man or woman who developed an asbestos-related disease due to duties performed while in the armed services, you cannot sue the U.S. government. However, if you were a civilian employee who - for example - worked at a shipyard and were exposed to asbestos, you can file suit.
Last modified: December 27, 2010.