How much will it cost to file?
There is generally no out-of-pocket cost to the client to file a lawsuit for mesothelioma or lung cancer. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay us only once we obtain a monetary recovery for you. Our fee is a percentage of each recovery in your lawsuit. Ordinarily, our firm does not charge an hourly fee for services when performing legal work. Most lawsuits based on a diagnosis of mesothelioma are brought against more than one defendant. It’s often the case that one or more of these defendants enters into settlement negotiations with us before a case is called for trial. When this happens, you may receive one or more individual settlements early, before your entire case is resolved. From these settlements, we may reimburse ourselves for some of the expenses incurred in prosecuting your case. These expenses are referred to as “disbursements,” and they cover such items as court filing fees, the cost of serving papers on the defendants, the cost of arranging for medical and other expert testimony, etc. No lawyer can promise a client a particular outcome, because each case depends on its own set of facts. A lawsuit filed by a young man who can no longer work due to mesothelioma will likely recover more money than one filed by a retiree. At the same time, a retired worker who has suffered years of medical treatments, including chemotherapy and surgery, may recover more than a plaintiff who died shortly after being diagnosed. Each case is based on a unique set of facts that determines a particular outcome.
Will you tell me how strong my case is before I decide to file?
Our legal staff will evaluate your case and make a recommendation as to whether or not you should file. We will only recommend that you file a lawsuit if we think that your case is strong enough to succeed. In making this evaluation, we consider the strength of the medical evidence supporting your diagnosis and the likelihood that we’ll be able to identify the companies legally responsible for exposing you to asbestos. There is no charge for an initial consultation with our office and no charge for the time it takes us to evaluate the facts of your case. When we do recommend that you file a lawsuit or other claim, it is usually important to proceed without further delay.
How often do you succeed in getting money for people like me?
In the vast majority of cases we take on, our clients obtain some type of financial recovery. Although we cannot promise a particular result, we’re usually able to identify at least one route to success. In most cases, filing a lawsuit against one or more non-bankrupt asbestos companies results in a significant cash settlement. In cases where we are unable to identify individual companies to sue, we are usually able to file claims with one or more Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts established by the courts to cover the liabilities of bankrupt asbestos manufacturers. (For example, the Manville Trust, which was established many years ago to pay claims brought against the Johns-Manville Corporation.) If your case involves losing a spouse to mesothelioma or lung cancer and we are able to identify your loved one’s employer, we have a good record of success in establishing your right to receive weekly benefits under New York State workers’ compensation law.
Most lawsuits settle before trial, but there are cases that must be tried before a jury in order to obtain a fair result. This happens when the responsible parties refuse to pay reasonable settlements and insist on going to trial. Our firm has a highly experienced team of trial lawyers who do not back down when going to court is the only way to obtain appropriate compensation for you and your family.
How much money will I get if my lawsuit is successful and how much will I owe you?
You pay us on the basis of a contingency fee agreement. Ordinarily, after we deduct the costs of pursuing your case, you will receive two-thirds of the total recovery and we will receive one-third as a legal fee.
What information or documentation will I need in order to file a lawsuit?
When you meet with a Lipsitz & Ponterio attorney, we will ask you to provide the following information to the best of your knowledge and ability:
- Biographical data about the injured party, including the names of parents, siblings, and children.
- If the injured party is deceased you will need to provide the death certificate and/or the date, cause, and place of the person’s death.
- Any medical records you have in your possession and the names of any doctors by whom and hospitals where you were treated.
- Social Security and Medicare numbers for you and/or your spouse.
- Addresses where you or the injured party resided from birth to the present.
- Job titles and dates/places of employment.
- Dates of military service (if applicable).
- Names of and contact information for any living coworkers.
Who is responsible for my illness?
The companies that manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing products without adequately warning consumers and users about the health hazards of asbestos exposure are responsible, as well as certain companies that maintained work sites where asbestos was used without adequate controls. Identifying those companies and products responsible for your injury is critical to obtaining the money you’re entitled to. Our staff is extremely experienced in compiling this type of information. They will interview you in detail, speak to your coworkers, obtain information from your employer, investigate the places you lived and worked to determine where and when you were exposed to asbestos, ask you about any products you may have used at home for remodeling and/or hobbies, and leave no stone unturned when it comes to gathering information relevant to your case.
How long do I have to file an asbestos-related claim?
In New York State, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim based on toxic exposure and disease requires that an action be commenced within three years of the date on which you discovered or should have discovered your illness. This three-year period begins either from the onset of symptoms associated with mesothelioma or lung cancer or from the date of your diagnosis, whichever comes first.
If a person has died from mesothelioma or lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, any wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the death in question. Applying the statute of limitations to the facts of a particular case requires a licensed attorney’s professional judgement. If you’re wondering whether your case falls within the statute of limitations, please consult an attorney.
If you do decide to file a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who is very ill, it’s important to act quickly so the case can be heard and decided before that person is unable to participate.