When choosing a mesothelioma attorney it is important to choose someone who will handle your case properly, and explain exactly what is going on every step of the way. The first step in choosing the best mesothelioma attorney is to compile a list of lawyers that you believe may be a good fit. If you know other people who have had a mesothelioma lawsuit successfully litigated, or settled to their satisfaction, ask who they used and what they thought of the experience. For someone exposed to asbestos in the workplace, finding others who have current or settled lawsuits is relatively easy.
For people who suffered from asbestos exposure many years ago, such as from exposure in the military, it may be difficult to find first hand recommendations for an attorney. In this situation, pull out the local yellow pages, and look in the attorney listings. There will inevitably be more than one listing for attorneys specializing in mesothelioma cases. The Internet can also be a useful resource for this as well.
Take the list and call each office to schedule a consultation. Consultations should be free, and are an important part of the decision making process. When meeting with the mesothelioma attorney ask how many mesothelioma cases they have handled, how many went to trial, and how many were settled before trial. It is also important to ask his or her success rate. Experience with many cases is not valuable if the attorney rarely receives an award for the client.
Additional questions to ask of the mesothelioma attorney are whether he or she has handled a case against the particular defendant involved in your case and, if so, how that case was resolved. Another question to ask is how successful the attorney is when cases go to trial. Many attorneys who negotiate large settlements for clients are less skillful in the courtroom. Ideally, you want an attorney who is comfortable negotiating, but does not hesitate to take a case to trial if he or she feels like it is in the best interest of the client.
During the consultation, pay particular attention to how easily you communicate with the attorney. If you feel rushed or like you are bothering him or her, choose a different mesothelioma attorney. An attorney who does not answer your questions, is abrupt, or who tries to rush you will not likely improve in this regard after he or she takes your case.
Finally, make sure you understand the payment arrangements. Most mesothelioma attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, meaning that they will only receive payment if they win money for their client. With this arrangement, there is no looming legal bill. The drawback is that the attorney receives a larger fee than with a traditional hourly billing for services arrangement.