If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be considering bringing a lawsuit against those responsible. Finding a good law firm to represent you can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be.
When you are looking into law firms, first check their credentials. Most mesothelioma law firms will readily tell prospective clients about their track records and successes. Find out how many mesothelioma trials the firm has been through as well as how many cases have been settled out of court. Ask how many cases they lost or couldn't settle. This information will help you establish whether a specific firm is credible. However, keep in mind that a perfect track record doesn't guarantee you a substantial settlement, and a less-than-stellar record doesn't mean you won't be successful.
Second, ask the firm who would handle your case. Will a team of attorneys and paralegals work on your file, or will a clerk do most of the work? Will the lawyers work alone, in pairs or in a large team? Will your case stand alone or be part of a class action? Once you find that out, you can ask more detailed questions about your attorneys.
You'll want to know where that person or group of people attended college and law school and how long each has been practicing law. You'll also want to know how much of that time has been spent handling mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses. What types of experts will the attorney use? What are their credentials?
Third, do some digging about the firm's reputation. Ask around, visit mesothelioma websites, chat rooms, and Internet forums to see if other victims know anything about the firm. See if you can find others who were represented by the firm and learn their outcome and opinion. Word of mouth can be the best referral, but it can also reveal bad experiences.
Lastly, ask the firm if it thinks your case is viable and what its value might be. If the amount is worth pursuing, find out what approach the firm would take. Look into the firm's fees and billing processes, such as whether you need to pay upfront for a retainer or if the firm will take a percentage of your settlement. Also ask what happens if you lose — will you be held financially liable for any attorney's fees? In addition, talk with them about what plan of attack would be most reasonable. Ask about your odds of winning a settlement without going to trial as well as how long it might take to prepare.
Hiring a good mesothelioma law firm is similar to making any other important decision. Do your homework, find out as much as possible about the people who will be involved, ask what they think of your situation, how they would handle it and what they think about your settlement chances. Once you have all of that information, you can decide whether you want to work with that firm or if you need to move to the next one on your list.