What is involved with pursuing a mesothelioma case against the asbestos companies?
This is the 64 thousand dollar question. Most lawyers will hold back on the true cost to you and your family because they fear you may elect not to pursue a case. It’s an unwarranted fear. The truth is that almost everyone will choose to pursue a case regardless of the costs. This is because they are concerned about providing for their families. The bottom line is that you should know up front precisely what to expect so that the decision you make is an informed one. Unfortunately, asbestos defendants generally do not take kindly to being sued, and in the average asbestos case more than 20 asbestos companies are named as defendants. They fight and they fight hard - some respectfully and some not so respectfully.
While the information presented here appears daunting, it is important to know that it remains our sincere belief that most people suffering from mesothelioma should pursue a case against the asbestos defendants so long as they are prepared for the task ahead. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma and choose to pursue a case against the asbestos companies in California, it is very likely that your case will proceed something like the following:
First, you can expect to spend considerable time with your attorneys. Your attorneys are on your side so the experience is agreeable and even enjoyable depending on your attorney’s bed side manner. However, it is tedious at best and for mesothelioma patients in the midst of treatment it couldn’t come at a worse time. In many cases, there is no choice but to meet at the client’s home and in some cases at a hospital or hospice. In the end, you can expect your lawyers to bend over backwards to accommodate you and simplify the process as much as possible.
Defendants have a right to document discovery. This allows them to ask your attorneys for all documents in your possession relating to your case. The scope of this request is extremely broad. You will need to put together all documents responsive to the defendants’ requests that are in your possession or control. This can include employment records, social security records, medical records, union records, military records and photographs relating to your work. Again, your lawyers will work with you to minimize the burden on you.
For living mesothelioma clients, the case moves relatively fast. Invariably, the most difficult part the case for clients is the deposition at which time the defendants are afforded the opportunity to question you about your claims. This typically involves a detailed account of your work history starting with your very first job (going back to high school paper routes). In addition, you will be questioned about your family’s history, your medical history, your family’s medical history and your military history. In most cases, the depositions go for about six hours a day with a one hour lunch. In California, it is not uncommon for these depositions to last as long as two weeks and often they last even longer. If your disease is advanced, the deposition may take place at your home. Wherever the deposition is held, you can expect anywhere from 5 to 25 lawyers or more present to question you. Your lawyer is there with you to protect your rights and to ensure that the process flows smoothly and according to law. In some extreme cases depending on your health, judges will limit the defendants’ questioning to shorten the total deposition time. While you can count on your lawyers’ aggressive protection, you should expect a long tedious question and answer period that to most people seems repetitive and unnecessary. In some cases, aggressive defense counsel who will make you feel like you’re under the hot lights of a police interrogation, and your deposition will seem to go on forever. Your lawyer will fight for you of course, and may even be able to get a court order putting a halt to abusive tactics.
In addition, your family and co-workers may be subpoenaed for deposition. In most cases, those depositions will be much shorter than yours – usually less than a day unless they worked with you for decades at the same jobsites or for the same employers.
Finally, your trial will come. By this time, most of the defendants initially named in your case will have settled (resulting in compensation to you for your injury) or will have been dismissed. The trial is the least burdensome part of the process on you. Your lawyers will have fully prepared your case for trial and your personal testimony will likely be limited to one or two remaining defendants. You will testify and then go home leaving your lawyers to finish the battle.
This is a brief summary of what a typical case might look like for a living mesothelioma sufferer. It is without doubt an inadequate picture of how your unique case will actually develop. However, it gives a fairly accurate picture of the impact on you and your family during the process. This all comes at a time when you are in the battle for your life, and your greatest concern will be treatment options. Interspersed with these legal battles, most people are simultaneously going through medical procedure after medical procedure including chemotherapy and radical surgery. In some cases, the disease progresses very rapidly complicating this picture further.
San Diego Attorney Donald Oder will sit down with you to discuss your unique case and give you a frank and honest assessment of what will be in store for you and your family should you choose to pursue a case against the asbestos defendants.
For a free consultation, please contact us at (888) 900-9002.