Finding an attorney is not an everyday task. Usually, attorneys are seeking to create binding legal documents, arrange final affairs, or file litigation. Of these three, litigation is the most strenuous task.
If you think that you have been wrongfully exposed to asbestos and want to seek justice, you will need an attorney to help you pursue your case. However, the path to justice is long and complex. Without the right attorney, cases can be lost, and your opportunity to seek justice can be lost. That’s why Attorney at Law has put together a brief guide to choosing the best asbestos attorney for you.
Before you seek an asbestos attorney, you should ensure that you have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral family that comes in amphibole and serpentine varieties and has been used in various residential and industrial products.
Once exposed, potential health complications can begin to develop during the decades-long latency period of the condition. For example, 10 to 70 years after the initial asbestos exposure, you may be diagnosed with asbestos pleural diseases, asbestosis, fibrosis, or mesothelioma.
Many of these diseases are indicative of asbestos exposure, especially mesothelioma, which is considered to be almost exclusively caused by asbestos irritation. A pulmonologist may be able to diagnose pleural mesothelioma, and an abdominal specialist may be able to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma.
Once a positive sign of asbestos is confirmed, you will need to begin the mitigation process. While no level of asbestos exposure is safe, additional exposures cause symptoms to worsen. Therefore, you will need to meet with doctors to slow the progression of symptoms and manage your health as you live with asbestos conditions.
If the exposure happened in a residence, then the residence should have the asbestos abated in order to make the residence safe to live in once more. If the exposure happened on the job, then measures should be taken to ensure that proper protective equipment is provided and safe levels of asbestos are maintained.
The first thing to note is that asbestos litigation almost universally falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. Therefore, when you search for an asbestos attorney, you will be looking for a personal injury attorney.
When evaluating whether an attorney is for you, there are several things to consider, including:
Each of these aspects may weigh differently for you, but all of them should be considered.
When it comes to formal qualifications, the most significant priorities should be the attorney’s case record, experience, and locality. An attorney’s case record can tell you a lot about the likelihood of this attorney getting you what you need from their services. An attorney with a dubious case record or a string of losses may not be the most effective advocate for you. The second big question is whether this attorney has the experience that you need. Do they have a lot of experience fighting large corporations or powerful groups? Have they handled many asbestos cases before? How many cases have they had that needed medical expertise and legal conciseness? Finally, there is locality. An attorney from your area will be more experienced with your specific judges at the local, federal, and district levels. This can give them a more significant edge in handling your case than an attorney from out of town dealing with new judges for the first time.
The second category of consideration is how the attorney interacts with you, their client care, demeanor, ease of access, and responsiveness. Client care refers to general measures taken to ensure your comfort. Are you made comfortable when you come in? Do you feel welcome in their office? This leads directly into the demeanor of your attorney. How does the attorney talk to you? Do you feel respected? How do they answer your questions?
The next considerations are two of a kind: ease of access and responsiveness. How easy is it to get in touch with your attorney? Furthermore, how quickly do they respond to your questions? This is important because if your attorney doesn’t answer your questions and keep you apprised of what’s happening, even if they are an excellent attorney, the experience overall may still be unnecessarily upsetting and stressful.
One of the most critical concerns about hiring an attorney is cost. Lawyers are notorious for their by-the-hour pay structure that can cost clients thousands of dollars. This payment structure is formally known as having an attorney “on retainer.” Some attorneys may also charge a flat rate for certain services that are expected to be straightforward or easily handled.
An asbestos attorney will rarely charge a flat rate. Due to the complexities and length of an asbestos personal injury case, charging one lump sum is neither a mathematically feasible nor financially sound course of action. So instead, the attorney will either work on an hourly retainer or a contingency basis.
An attorney working on an hourly retainer is the most traditional method. While working on an hourly retainer, the attorney will conduct themselves as normal and simply bill you for all “billable hours” worked. This means that you won’t be charged for the attorney’s lunch break, but you will be billed for all the hours of research, analysis, or any other pre-trial behind-the-scenes work that the case needs to be in its best possible shape. This payment method is more expensive up front for you but may lead to you getting more of the ultimate settlement. The question becomes whether your funds will last to bring you to the case's conclusion.
By contrast, the contingency method features no upfront costs. Instead, you sign a contract that promises the attorney or law firm a cut of the final verdict. This method can be very advantageous for you, the client, as it puts the initial financial burden on the attorney instead of taxing your finances directly. It also incentivizes your attorney to work as efficiently as possible to bring about a positive end to your case as they do not get paid unless you win. Furthermore, the sooner they can deliver a verdict or settlement to you, the sooner they also get paid.
There are some caveats to this method. While an attorney is not allowed to act in their own self-interest to the detriment of a client, they may be more inclined to advise you to settle if their payday is contingent on you being awarded money. Additionally, the portion of the verdict that is taken is not nominal. Usually, the standard can range from 33% to 40% of the final verdict. Still, none of this money came out of your pocket directly and therefore is ultimately the more cost-effective option for litigating your case.
Finding out that you have been exposed to asbestos is devastating. It feels as though the world around you has fundamentally changed. When you are going through this experience, you don’t want to spend a lot of time shopping around to find the right attorney to seek justice on your behalf. You want someone who knows what they’re doing, who cares about doing it right, and who won’t burden you with expensive retainer fees.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, and if you have subsequently developed an asbestos-related health condition like mesothelioma, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to cover your medical expenses and recover potential damages. In order to successfully file and prevail in your lawsuit, you will need the help of an asbestos attorney.
An experienced Personal Injury attorney can utilize legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. By leveraging their experience with asbestos litigation and legal expertise, the right attorney can shave years off of litigation and get you your settlement or verdict that much faster. The best place to find a Personal Injury attorney is with Attorney at Law.
At AAL, our nationwide network of attorneys can connect you with the best Personal Injury attorney in your area. Not only can AAL find you a Personal Injury attorney to help you achieve justice that most closely fits your needs, but we can do so without costing you anything. AAL’s Personal Injury partners work on contingency. That means you pay nothing upfront and, if you don’t win, you never pay anything.
Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a complimentary consultation and begin your journey to justice.