At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys have witnessed the devastating effect a mesothelioma diagnosis can have on a patient and their loved ones. We understand that filing a lawsuit may not be a top priority for mesothelioma patients, and strive to simplify the legal process for those who elect to file claims. Our attorneys will handle each step of the legal process, which may involve accessing medical and work documents, and allow our clients to decide on their level of involvement in the case. We understand that many of our mesothelioma clients have more important matters, such as medical treatments, on which to focus, and we respect their decision to separate themselves from the filing process. Our goal is to provide support to mesothelioma victims and their families from the initial consultation to the resolution of their case, while working to ensure negligent asbestos manufacturers and companies are held accountable for their actions.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it's important to contact an Orlando mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible. There is a time limit for filing all mesothelioma claims and failure to take action within this window may bar you from seeking compensation for your illness. We are willing to travel to meet our potential clients, so do not hesitate to contact us today. Our initial consultation is always free.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally-occurring toxic mineral that has been used for decades in a number of industries such as shipping, mining, construction, and automobile manufacturing. Asbestos, a known carcinogen, enters the body through inhalation of its fine particles, but can also be transferred to family members through contact before showering or changing clothes. Asbestos exposure is a primary cause of mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural disorders.
Reports indicate that, as early as the 1920s, medical evidence linked asbestos exposure to mesothelioma and other similar illnesses. However, many manufacturers and employers disregarded this information and continued to manufacture and use asbestos. Companies were able to hide the harmful side effects of asbestos because mesothelioma patients typically experience a latency period of 25 to 50 years after their initial exposure to asbestos. It was not until the government placed restrictions and bans on the use of asbestos that workers became protected from this toxic substance. For those that developed a serious illness from exposure to asbestos, legal recourse may be available.
There are two types of mesothelioma lawsuits: personal injury and wrongful death cases. Typically, the victim’s former employer or the company that manufactured and sold the asbestos product will be named as the defendant, regardless of the type of claim.
A personal injury case is brought by the mesothelioma victim. These claims must be filed within four years of the diagnosis. These cases can allege:
A wrongful death case is filed by a family member of the deceased. There is a limited window in which a suit may be filed after a loved one’s death, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
In some instances, compensation for mesothelioma injuries can be sought through a workers’ compensation claim. If the victim was exposed to the asbestos while in the military, veteran’s benefits may be available. To learn more, contact the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. These claims can be just as complex as traditional mesothelioma lawsuits and may require the assistance of an experienced mesothelioma attorney.
In a mesothelioma lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove the following:
Because asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, the plaintiff and their attorney must establish proof of exposure, which may have occurred decades before the diagnosis. The following evidence can help substantiate a link between the plaintiff’s illness and their exposure to asbestos:
Typically, the defendant will deny any guilt or wrongdoing when presented with the plaintiff’s allegations. The defendant will attempt to prove that the victim contracted the disease elsewhere, and not under their umbrella of employment. In these cases, the defendant may respond with claims that:
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our lawyers can investigate your employment history to determine the source of your exposure. This will allow us an opportunity to show a causal link between your exposure and diagnosis, and to refute the defendant’s claim(s).
While each case is different, the following provides an overview of the lawsuit process:
Preparation: After explaining your legal rights and options, your attorney will gather documents and evidence related to your disease. These documents may include medical records, as well as an overview of your employment history. Then, your attorney will determine the appropriate court in which to file your lawsuit. Once you have decided to file a claim, your attorney will ask you to sign a client agreement, which outlines your relationship and expectations.
Filing: Your attorney will file all necessary paperwork, including a formal complaint, with the court. An experienced Orlando mesothelioma attorney will be familiar with the rules and expectations of the court and should be able to file your claim without any issues.
Responses: At this stage, all parties will receive a copy of the complaint and will be given the opportunity to respond. It is most likely that the party you are accusing will deny any responsibility and attempt to have your case dismissed.
Discovery: If the court denies the request for dismissal, each party will have an opportunity to gather and collect evidence which will support their case. Typically, this will involve deposing witnesses, former employees, or anyone who may have information vital to the case; reviewing medical and work history records; and answering questions posed by the opposing party. Your mesothelioma attorney will prepare you for any questions posed by the defendant so that you can answer each one truthfully and appropriately.
Settlement: There are times when parties will avoid a verdict by reaching a settlement agreement prior to or during the course of the trial. If both parties can agree on an amount, and a judge signs off, the case will not proceed to trial.
Trial: If a case is not settled out of court, it will proceed to trial. This process includes jury selection; opening statements by both attorneys; presentation of your evidence and witnesses; presentation of the defendant’s evidence and witnesses in an attempt to rebut your claims; and closing statements by both attorneys. After this has been completed, the case is handed over to the jury for deliberation.
Appeals: If the jury reaches a verdict, it is possible that the defendant will appeal the decision to a higher court for reconsideration. The appeals court will typically only reverse the verdict or send it back to the lower court if they feel that an error in law, not fact, was made. The appeals court can either deny the appeal, send the case back to be retried, or correct a miscalculation in damages. If the appeal is accepted, the court typically accepts the facts presented in the initial trial and will act in the defendant’s favor only if they believe the law was not applied properly to the case.
Plaintiffs in a mesothelioma case may be able to recover compensation for:
Since asbestos has been regulated, many asbestos manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy. This may deter a potential plaintiff from naming the company as a defendant in the lawsuit; however, some bankruptcy courts have ordered asbestos manufacturers to create a mesothelioma lawsuit funds, or trust funds, to protect potential mesothelioma victims. In these cases, mesothelioma patients may be able to collect compensation from the manufacturer through these trusts.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please fill out our case form today. An experienced Orlando mesothelioma attorney will review your claim and may be able to help you file a lawsuit for damages.