Choosing the Best Mesothelioma Law Firm
How do I find the best law firm for my mesothelioma case?
Most mesothelioma law firms are reputable. Only a small number have been sued for fraud or malpractice or have been reprimanded by the courts. There are some key things to consider when evaluating a law firm.
6 Factors to Find the Best Mesothelioma Law Firm for You
Here are six vital considerations when selecting a law firm for your mesothelioma case:
- High ratings from independent lawyer rating agencies
- Awards from important legal and consumer organizations
- Experience with your type of asbestos exposure
- Resources to select the appropriate jurisdiction
- Successful trial record
- Work on cases for individual review and arbitration with trust funds
There are several independent lawyer rating organizations that rate mesothelioma lawyers and law firms for performance and ethics. Probably the best known, oldest, and most prestigious is called Martindale-Hubbel. These ratings are calculated from peer review – other lawyers and judges. You want a firm with the highest scores and for Martindale-Hubbel the highest score is called “AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5.” Only a relatively small number of firms have attorneys with the highest ratings.
2. Awards or accolades from important legal and consumer organizations
3. Specific experience with your type of asbestos exposure
It is important that the law firm you hire has the experience that fits as precisely as possible with you and your type of asbestos exposure. The reason is because there are many different companies that made many different types of asbestos containing products at different times and distributed these products to different cities and states.
Obviously you want to select a mesothelioma lawyer who has experience with your type of asbestos exposure. This means if you are a 65 year old male who worked construction when you were younger in Philadelphia then you should consider hiring a law firm with prior experience representing males in their 60’s who did construction work in Philadelphia. Or if you are a 70 year old house wife in Oregon who washed clothes for your husband who is an ex-auto mechanic then you should consider hiring a firm with experience with secondary exposure (asbestos fibers brought home on another’s clothes) in Oregon.
Specialized knowledge is needed in order to demonstrate who is responsible for your asbestos exposure and to build a case that will withstand legal scrutiny. It can be advantageous to hire a law firm that already has this knowledge. No one should “learn on your dime.”
4. Possessing the resources to select the appropriate jurisdiction for your case
Most asbestos cases are heard in state court and each state is different in terms of its speed of processing cases and their historical values. In addition a legal “nexus” must exist between a plaintiff and defendant in order to file a complaint in a specific jurisdiction. Since most mesothelioma victims are exposed to a variety of asbestos containing products from different defendants, there may be more than one jurisdiction available. You want a law firm that has the resources to select the legally appropriate venue that offers you the greatest advantages in speed and value. Some firms have this flexibility, others do not.
5. Does the law firm have a successful trial record?
It can be a big advantage to hire a mesothelioma law firm that has recent wins in court. This is because trial wins send a powerful message to asbestos defendants that they have to pay appropriate settlements or they may have to face your successful mesothelioma trial lawyers in the court room and risk an even bigger loss. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a law firm that has many recent wins at trial.
6. Does the law firm prepare and present cases for individual review to the trust funds, and arbitrate with the trust funds if necessary?
There are over 62 asbestos trust funds with an estimated $25 billion in trust for asbestos victims. Some of these funds may be available to you. Today, these trust funds comprise a larger and larger percentage of overall compensation for most mesothelioma victims. To maximize the value of your claim it can be helpful to treat your claim individually by submitting for individual review and arbitrating to get a better value when necessary. Unfortunately, many law firms do not do this. This is something you may want to ask about.
Find a Mesothelioma Law Firm
If you would like the names of law firms that meet all these criteria or a list of questions to use when interviewing mesothelioma law firms, please call The Mesothelioma Alliance at 619-599-3112 or fill-out the form below: