At Bullock Campbell Bullock & Harris, we understand the thought of filing any type of legal claim while battling cancer is not something most patients are interested in doing. However, this is because most patients are not aware that their involvement in the legal proceedings will be minimal. This section is devoted to educating patients regarding mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos trust fund filings.
Filing a Mesothelioma Legal Claim - What You Really Need to Know:
- How do mesothelioma cases work?
- What will it cost me to file a mesothelioma case?
- Do I have to travel if I hire Bullock Campbell Bullock & Harris to take on my case?
- How long does a mesothelioma case take?
- How much time do I have to file a case after I have been diagnosed?
- I see you are based in Texas. Will my case be filed there, in the state in which I currently reside, or in another state?
- Can I file a legal case if I don’t have mesothelioma?
- How much is my case worth?
- Will I have to testify in a trial?
- Will my case be included in a class action suit?
1. How do mesothelioma cases work?
When you contact us, we will first conduct a phone interview with you to discuss your illness and your background. If we determine that you may have a legal case, we will arrange a day to come to your home (or any location of your choosing) and speak with you face to face. This initial meeting, which usually last 2-3 hours, will allow us to get to know you personally, as well as dig deeper into your work history. This helps us to better understand the kinds of asbestos products you were exposed to and where that exposure occurred. We will also ask that you sign authorization forms so that we may obtain copies of your medical records regarding your diagnosis and treatment thus far, your Social Security records (to get your entire employment information), as well as a retainer that will be the official record designating us as your legal representation regarding your claim.
We will then request copies of all your records and use those, along with the information we are able to acquire during our meeting, to begin the investigation necessary to determine which asbestos manufacturing companies produced the products to which you were exposed. Once that investigative work is completed, we will know against which asbestos companies we will file claims. There are two types of companies against which we file: those that have filed for bankruptcy and those that have not. In most circumstances, you cannot file any kind of lawsuit against a bankrupt company, which is still true for mesothelioma cases. However, mesothelioma cases are unique, in that those asbestos companies filing for bankruptcy were required to set money aside for people they exposed to their asbestos products, but had not yet been diagnosed with an asbestos disease.
For the bankrupt companies, we will file claims on your behalf with the asbestos trust funds established when each company filed for bankruptcy protection. For companies that have not filed for bankruptcy protection, we will file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. If you are the surviving family member of a patient who passed away from mesothelioma, we will file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the patient’s estate and any appropriate surviving family members.
Most lawsuits are settled out of court before the trial date or during the earliest portion of the trial. The asbestos trust funds established by the bankrupt asbestos companies work on a different time frames than the lawsuit. Some of these claims resolve earlier than the lawsuit and some take longer.
2. What will it cost me to file a mesothelioma case?
You pay nothing out of pocket. We will take your case on a contingency fee basis, which means we will be paid a percentage of only what we recover for you. As such, our law firm doesn’t get paid unless we recover money for you. Even if we take on your case and are ultimately unable to recover any money for you, you still pay us nothing and will not be charged for our time working on your case.
3. Do I have to travel if I hire Bullock Campbell Bullock & Harris to take on my case?
In most cases, no, you will not be required to travel. Most of the time, if we need to take your deposition in order to preserve your testimony, we will travel to you. In some rare instances where your case may later go to trial, you will be asked if you are able to attend the hearings and testify in front of a jury. In many situations where a case does go before a jury, we are able to use your videotaped answers during your deposition, in lieu of having you attend in person.
4. How long does a mesothelioma case take?
Each case is different, so it can be difficult to determine how long your case will take. Your length of case can be affected by many variables, however, we make every attempt to carry your case in an expedited manner through the system. In some cases, we will opt to file your case in jurisdictions where mesothelioma cases are effectively given “front of the line privileges”, so that we can measure the time it will take your case to be adjudicated in months rather than in years. So, while there is no way to know how long your case will take, until we are able to investigate your situation, a majority of cases are adjudicated in 18 months to 2 years.
5. How much time do I have to file a case after I have been diagnosed?
The time limit established by the laws of the various states that designate how long you have to file a legal case is called the Statute of Limitations (SOL). Each state has its own SOLs for both personal injury and wrongful death cases. Most SOLs are 2-3 years from the date of diagnosis; however, there are states with an SOL as short as 1 year from diagnosis, so it is imperative that we begin working on your case as soon after diagnosis as possible. This will allow us the time necessary to investigate your background and file all necessary court documents before the SOL expires.
6. I see you are based in Texas. Where will my case be filed?
We are a National Mesothelioma Law firm, which means that we are able to handle mesothelioma cases regardless of where you currently live or where you were exposed to asbestos. We will determine where we can file your case based on which jurisdiction best fits your case. These jurisdictions allow us to maximize your total recovery and significantly shorten the time it takes to adjudicate your case.
7. Can I file a legal case if I don’t have mesothelioma?
Yes. If you have an asbestos-related lung cancer, we may be able to file a legal case for you as well. However, you must be diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness in order to file a claim. Exposure to asbestos, in and of itself, does not constitute an injury for which you can file a personal injury lawsuit. We would be glad to assist you with locating an expert who could assess your lung cancer for underlying asbestos disease.
8. How much is my case worth?
Every case is different and the amount you are entitled to varies with many factors such as:
- How many asbestos products were you exposed to?
- How many of those asbestos manufacturing companies have already filed for bankruptcy, leaving the value of the claim with only their trust fund?
- Of the bankrupt companies, how much does each company’s trust fund pay out to mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer patients?
- Of those asbestos companies that are not in bankruptcy, how much will they be willing to offer to settle the case out of court, if at all?
- If a case does go to trial, what will the jury award?
As you can see, these variables and many more need to be taken into consideration in assessing your estimated case value. We will not have a good idea of what your case is worth until we have had a chance to interview you and conduct a thorough investigation into your asbestos exposure history. And while we can provide you with a list of previous clients and how much we were able to recover for them, there is no way to know what your case is worth until we have gone through the investigative process.
9. Will I have to testify in a trial?
In most cases, you will not be required to testify at trial. If your case does go to trial, and you want to testify in front of the jury, then every effort will be made to afford you that opportunity. However, most mesothelioma patients are not physically able, or interested in having to travel to appear in court. If you cannot testify in court, the answers you provided during your deposition will be played for the jury. In addition, most cases are settled out of court before a trial even begins.
10. Will my case be included in a class action suit?
No. Class action suits are applicable when a large number of people who have similar, or identical grievances are filing a legal case against one, or a few companies or entities. We handle your case on a purely individual basis, which means we will represent only you and your applicable family members in your case. We will not file a case against one or two companies that produced asbestos products to which you were exposed, rather, we will file against all of the companies that played a role in exposing you.
Have more questions? Contact us.