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What does an Asbestos Lawyer do?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin Oxendine
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Asbestos is a mineral used to make a fibrous material for insulation and other products placed in buildings and homes. In recent years, scientists have linked asbestos-containing materials to cancer and other serious medical conditions and certain countries have banned the use of asbestos in buildings and homes. Although not banned in the United States, the US has placed strict regulations as to how and where asbestos material is used. Due to the controversy surrounding this material, lawyers have begun specializing in asbestos litigation and help individuals and companies understand the rules governing asbestos use.

An asbestos lawyer consults with clients, gets information surrounding the incidents of the case, and gathers documents regarding the clients claim. In asbestos litigation, the asbestos lawyer will typically draft discovery requests to get documents from opposing counsel. To try to determine asbestos exposure in a claim, the attorney will have to get the claimant’s employment history and file a claim against the employers where the worker allegedly received exposure to asbestos. The attorney may have to get the client’s medical records and review his or her chest films and tissue samples if the claimant alleges a cancer claim. One such cancer claimants often have from exposure to asbestos is mesothelioma, which has symptoms including coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

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Often, expert witnesses provide second opinions on asbestos exposure claims and the asbestos lawyer may contact an expert to examine the building or property involved or to review the radiological films. When the expert sends back a report, the attorney will review it and if it is favorable, may send the review to other parties with an evaluation of the claim. Sometimes the attorney may want to take depositions of the defendant’s expert witnesses and will draft subpoenas for their testimony and ask for any expert reports from the defense.

After the attorney has gathered the facts of the case, the lawyer will usually contact the insured’s insurance adjuster and try to negotiate a settlement that is mutually agreeable for the parties. If the claim does not settle, the attorney may want to mediate the claim or take the case before a judge for a hearing. Sometimes, judges may issue an order or verdict that the attorney finds unfavorable and the asbestos lawyer may have to file a brief or appeal the verdict. At some point, if the case can be resolved, the asbestos attorney will draft a settlement agreement that sets forth the terms under which the case settled and include any funds paid by opposing counsel.

Lawyers who specialize in asbestos-related claims have extensive knowledge in government regulations regarding asbestos and have a law degree from an accredited institution. The asbestos lawyer will try to help a client who is suffering from alleged asbestos exposure get medical treatment and care that the person needs. If the asbestos lawyer is retained by the insured, he may also help the client establish damages or possible liability and provide information on removing asbestos from old buildings so as not to break any laws or expose anyone else to asbestos dust.

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