Asbestos litigation is one of the longest-running and most expensive mass torts in the history of the United States. For those who do not know the term, "mass tort" refers to a class-action lawsuit. This means that a mass tort is a lawsuit which involves a group of people instead of just one individual.
Currently, asbestos litigations involve more than 600,000 people suing more than 6,000 claimants. If you are one of the people who think that a company has put your life in danger and who wishes to gain justice by bringing that company to the court, then there might be a few questions you want answered. Here is a list of the Frequently Asked Questions by people regarding Asbestos law suits:
How soon after I am exposed to asbestos should I file a law suit?
Many people are frequently unsure regarding whether or not the time is right to file an asbestos law suit. This may be because they are yet unsure regarding whether or not they will be able to claim damages. One of the best pieces of advice that people can give you would be to consult a doctor first. This is because exposure alone to asbestos cannot serve as grounds for litigation. You need to show that your health has been adversely affected by exposure to asbestos before you can start a law suit. An asbestos law suit should definitely have a strong base if it is to go far. You need to remember that some asbestos-related illnesses can be hard to diagnose. This means that you need to be very sure before you attempt to file an asbestos law suit.
If you have been exposed to asbestos but have not yet developed symptoms, then you should definitely try to monitor your health very carefully. Some asbestos-caused illnesses like mesothelioma actually only show about 20-50 years after the person has been exposed to the substance. Watch for any telltale signs of illnesses and then contact a doctor right away. This is because some states have a statute of limitations which prevents people from suing a company when a certain time period has passed after they learn about the disease.
What is a contingency fee?
If you plan to go ahead with an asbestos law suit, then you may be thinking hard about how to pay for it. Most firms actually understand how hard it must be to face the disaster caused by asbestos in your life and they do not want to further add to your burden by charging you for every hour of their advice. In fact, most firms today accept payment in the form of contingency fees.
What exactly are these fees? Well, a contingency fee is a fee that the law firm collects only after the case is finished. A contingency fee is actually based on the amount of damages that you will be receiving as this is often stipulated in contract as being a percentage of the total proceeds of the case.
You have to be careful when agreeing to contingency fees. Some firms take the contingency fees out of the gross proceeds of the case. That is, they take the agreed upon percentage out of the total amount and then subtract the legal fees from your share. This means you will only keep a very small percentage of your cash. Try to look for a firm which deducts the fees from the net proceeds. By doing this, they will bear an equivalent share of the legal fees that you have incurred during the case. If you wish to know the percentage which you might have to part with as a contingency fee, most firms actually charge 1/3 or 33.33 percent.
How much money do litigants get?
This question cannot really be answered without enough information regarding your case. The amount of cash which a company will be willing to part with in your case depends on the particulars of the case. Some people can be hurt because of the fact that the damages that a person receives in an asbestos law suit often depends on how important his or her case is in the light of other people's complaints. This is because to every person, especially those whose lives have been shattered because of their exposure to asbestos, their case is the biggest one.
What is the first step in filing an asbestos law suit?
Always consult a lawyer first. The lawyer will be able to help you by handling all of the details which you may need to complete in order to get on with the asbestos law suit. When you consult a lawyer, you would then be required to cooperate in the information-gathering process. That is, you would be required to disclose any information which is possibly relevant to the case. There are steps following these, but the two described above ought to get you started in an asbestos lawsuit.