How to Choose a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Pennsylvania
Choosing a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Pennsylvania
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by long-term exposure to asbestos. It develops in the thin layer of tissue that covers many internal organs. Mesothelioma more commonly affects the lungs and the lining of the chest wall, but the disease can also occur in the abdominal lining and sac around the heart.
Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber that has been used in the production of several industrial and commercial products. It is especially popular for its resistance to heat and chemical damage. Unfortunately, when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become lodged in the mesothelium and eventually cause genetic changes that lead to cancer.
There is no cure for mesothelioma but there are several treatment options that may help to manage the symptoms and extend a patient's life. However, the chances of survival are primarily dependent on the time of diagnosis.
Given the nature of asbestos, the state of Pennsylvania enacted several Pennsylvania mesothelioma and asbestos laws in a bid to protect state residents and workers from asbestos exposure. These laws require buildings to be inspected for asbestos and employers to provide safe working conditions, use proper safety equipment, and train workers on safely handling asbestos-containing materials. Landlords or employers who fail to comply with these laws can be held liable for any injuries or illnesses that their workers suffer from due to asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma victims may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and related damages. To obtain compensation, Mesothelioma patients in Pennsylvania may file Mesothelioma lawsuits against companies that manufactured products containing asbestos, companies that used asbestos-containing products, or against the property owner where exposure occurred. To navigate the process of obtaining a claim, victims are typically advised to seek the expert counsel of a legal representative; in this case, a Mesothelioma lawyer, who will help gather evidence, file the lawsuit, and represent the victim throughout the process.
Asbestos exposure can occur anywhere. However, there are a few specific locations in Pennsylvania where exposure is known to have occurred at one point or the other. These "asbestos hotspots" include power plants, factories, mills, construction sites, and other places where asbestos-containing products were used. Some of the companies located in these areas that have been allegedly linked to asbestos exposure include U.S. Steel, Lukens Steel Company, Peco Energy Company, and Philadelphia Electric Company.
What Does a Mesothelioma Lawyer Do?
A mesothelioma lawyer is a specialized attorney who represents clients diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma lawyers have a vast knowledge of Pennsylvania asbestos litigation and the experience necessary to navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding this disease and can help their clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
Mesothelioma lawyers may work on an hourly or contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if their client wins their case. This arrangement gives mesothelioma patients and their families the ability to seek justice without incurring any upfront costs.
There are different types of Mesothelioma claims and the mesothelioma attorneys suited to them. The different types of Mesothelioma claims include:
1. Personal Injury Claims: These are claims brought by individuals who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. In a personal injury claim, the individual seeks compensation for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.
2. Wrongful Death Claims: These are claims brought by the family members of individuals who have died from mesothelioma. In a wrongful death claim, the family members seek compensation for their loss and any medical expenses and funeral costs incurred.
3. Asbestos Trust Fund Claims: These are claims brought against asbestos trust funds set up by companies that have gone bankrupt due to asbestos-related liability. Asbestos trust fund claims allow mesothelioma patients to receive compensation without filing a lawsuit.
No matter what type of Mesothelioma claim a claimant pursues, they are advised to have an experienced mesothelioma lawyer. Mesothelioma lawyers can help the plaintiff gather evidence, file paperwork, and negotiate with insurance companies and asbestos trust funds.
Why Hire a Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Lawyer?
Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma are unsure of where to turn for help. A mesothelioma lawyer can provide much-needed guidance and support throughout the process of seeking compensation. Here are four key reasons to hire a mesothelioma lawyer:
- A mesothelioma lawyer will have in-depth knowledge of the legal process and will be able to navigate the complex issues involved in a mesothelioma claim.
- A mesothelioma lawyer will be able to gather evidence to support the plaintiff's claim, including medical records and exposure history.
- A mesothelioma lawyer will be able to negotiate with insurance companies on the plaintiff's behalf to get the best possible settlement.
- A mesothelioma lawyer can help file a lawsuit if necessary and will be their side throughout the legal process.
On the other hand, there are a few reasons a plaintiff might consider representing themselves instead of hiring a Mesothelioma lawyer.
First, if the case is relatively straightforward and they are confident in their ability to navigate the legal system, they may not need the assistance of a lawyer. Second, self-representation will save the plaintiff money, as lawyers typically charge high hourly rates. Finally, if the Mesothelioma victim represents themselves, they will have complete control over their case and make decisions about how to proceed without having to consult with or get approval from a lawyer.
However, many risks are associated with representing oneself in a legal claim. One of the most significant risks is that the plaintiff may not completely understand the law and how it applies to their case. This could lead to making errors in your argument or failing to present substantial evidence. Additionally, with no experience in court, the plaintiff may be at a disadvantage when navigating the legal system and presenting their case effectively.
Another risk is that they may not be able to assess their opponent's case's strength adequately. If the claimant underestimates the opposition, the defense will likely take advantage of the plaintiff's lack of preparedness and win the claim. Finally, even if the plaintiff is confident in their abilities, there is always the chance that the judge or jury will not see things their way, and they will lose the claim. Overall, representing oneself in a legal claim can be a risky proposition.
How to Choose a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Pennsylvania
When diagnosed with mesothelioma and seeking a settlement, one of the first things to do is choose a lawyer. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a mesothelioma lawyer:
Experience: The claimant will want to choose a lawyer who has experience handling mesothelioma cases. This way, they can be sure that their legal representative knows the ins and outs of the legal process and will be able to fight for their rights.
Resources: A good mesothelioma lawyer will have the resources necessary to build a strong case on their client's behalf. This includes access to expert witnesses and investigators.
Track record: When choosing a Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyer, ask about their track record. How many cases have they won? What are their success rates?
Compassion: It's essential to choose a lawyer who cares about the case and is committed to fighting for their clients. The legal representative must have a healthy balance of brilliance and respect for their work and client.
Cost: The plaintiff must consider their ability to finance the court proceeding and cover the rate of their legal representation before choosing a lawyer.
There are a few red flags to consider when choosing a Mesothelioma lawyer. Here are some of the most common red flags:
- The lawyer does not have experience in the area of law required; in this case, Mesothelioma and asbestos laws in Pennsylvania.
- The lawyer seems more interested in financial remuneration than helping resolve the case in the claimant's best interest.
- The lawyer does not seem to be very knowledgeable about the nuances and peculiarities of their client's situation.
- The lawyer seems to be more concerned with their interests and cannot communicate the progress of the case, possible setbacks, and reasonable expectations.
A qualified and experienced mesothelioma lawyer will be able to help a claimant with their legal needs and ensure that their rights are protected.
How Much Do Mesothelioma Lawyers Charge in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, mesothelioma lawyers charge different fees depending on the case. Some lawyers may work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win the case. Other lawyers may charge an hourly rate. In some cases, mesothelioma lawyers may charge a flat fee.
Some mesothelioma lawyers may offer free consultations. During a consultation, the lawyer will review the case and determine whether or not they can take it on. If the lawyer opts to take on a case, they will likely provide their client with a fee agreement. This agreement should outline the lawyer's fees and how they will be paid. Claimants are advised to read over the contract carefully before signing it.
Mesothelioma lawyers who charge a flat fee may require their clients to pay their fees upfront. Other lawyers may allow the client to pay the fee over time as the case progresses. If the claimant cannot pay the entire fee upfront, they may be able to negotiate other payment options depending on the attorney's preference.
In some cases, mesothelioma lawyers may offer a discount if you agree to pay a portion of their fee upfront. This is called a retainer fee. Be sure to ask about this option before agreeing to any fees.
Mesothelioma lawyers who work on a contingency basis typically charge a percentage of the settlement or verdict they recover for you. The contingency fee is usually 30% to 40% of the total amount recovered. On the other hand, the average hourly rate of Pennsylvania mesothelioma lawyers is $250-300.
Some lawyers may also charge additional fees, such as expenses for expert witnesses or court filing fees.
Pro-bono Mesothelioma Lawyers in Pennsylvania
Where the plaintiff cannot afford to pay a lawyer, they may be able to find a pro-bono mesothelioma lawyer. Pro-bono lawyers are lawyers who agree to represent clients for free. Many pro-bono lawyers work with low-income or indigent clients. To find a pro-bono mesothelioma lawyer in Pennsylvania, contact the legal aid office in the relevant judicial district.
Claimants can also search for pro-bono lawyers online. Several websites such as offer directories of pro-bono lawyers in Pennsylvania.
When searching for a pro-bono lawyer, be sure to ask about fees. Some pro-bono lawyers may charge reduced fees for their services. Others may agree to represent the plaintiff at no cost.
If finding a pro-bono mesothelioma lawyer proves difficult, the plaintiff may be able to find a lawyer who offers reduced-fee services. Contact the local bar association in the jurisdiction of interest to find a reduced-fee lawyer.
Many bar associations have referral programs that can connect you with a lawyer who charges reduced fees. Some lawyers may also offer payment plans or sliding scale fees based on the plaintiff's income.
When searching for a reduced-fee lawyer, ask about the lawyer's fees and how they will be paid. Be sure to also ask about any additional fees that may be required, such as court filing fees or expert witness fees.
How to Find a Mesothelioma Lawyer in Pennsylvania
The first step in finding a good mesothelioma lawyer is to ask for referrals from friends or family members who have dealt with similar legal issues. Interested persons can also check with their local bar association or the American Bar Association for recommendations. With a few potential lawyers in mind, take the time to research their experience and qualifications. Ensure that they have experience handling mesothelioma cases and are familiar with the Pennsylvania Asbestos laws.
The claimant may also schedule a consultation with each lawyer to get a feel for their personality and how they would handle your case. They can ask the mesothelioma attorney questions about their experience, fees, and how they would keep them updated on the case progression. After meeting with several options, the plaintiff should be able to choose the mesothelioma lawyer they feel most comfortable with.