An asbestos attorney handles asbestos-related disease claims and other litigation such as asbestos removal complaints. These attorneys represent people claiming personal injury and the companies accused of causing the asbestos exposure. Lawyers who specialize in asbestos-related matters try to get compensation for their clients' medical expenses and try to resolve disputes for the companies.
Some of the main types of asbestos disease cases an asbestos attorney faces involve cancers caused by asbestos. One common type of cancer related to asbestos exposure is mesothelioma. This disease is a cancer of the mesothelium, which surrounds the lungs, lining of the heart and abdomen. Other diseases related to asbestos exposure are asbestosis, lung cancer and non-malignant lung and pleural disorders.
When an asbestos attorney gets a case, the attorney will meet with the client, known as the plaintiff, for an initial consultation. The attorney reviews the case file, organizes the records, and drafts initial discovery requests to the other party. During the case review, the asbestos lawyer will summarize the plaintiff's medical records and obtain the amount of the client's expenses from treating medical providers.
One of the responsibilities an asbestos attorney has is to analyze the injured person’s employment history in order to determine which employers are liable for the plaintiff's asbestos disease. The attorney will compile a list of relevant places the plaintiff worked and the length of time worked for each company. Factors such as the number of years and frequency a person was exposed to asbestos are crucial because this determines the extent of the company’s liability, which the attorney takes into consideration when calculating a settlement demand.
Another type of representation that an asbestos attorney provides is defense for companies sued for alleged asbestos exposure. The company or their insurance carrier may retain the attorney when a plaintiff files suit. If a company is accused of exposing a plaintiff to asbestos, it is up to the attorney to prove the defendant is not liable. The asbestos attorney will hire an asbestos expert to conduct an inspection of where the plaintiff worked, review company safety regulations and take photographs of any machinery used by the worker. Part of the asbestos attorney’s defense duties consist of deposing the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s medical doctors, and work supervisors.
The main role of an asbestos attorney is to try to settle the case on behalf of the client without the case going to trial. If he or she is unable to do so, the attorney will have to prepare for trial, including drafting pre-trial briefs and sending notices about the hearing to witnesses. Once a judge hears the case, the attorney will draft a settlement agreement if he agrees with the judge’s decision or, in the alternative, will file an appeal.