Understanding Asbestos Litigation

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For decades, it was common for people who worked in certain industries to be exposed to asbestos fibers without any warning that it was dangerous to their health. Now, people who have worked in manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, and pipefitting, are finding themselves sitting before medical professionals and receiving the news that they have asbestos-related cancers, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Maybe you find yourself or a loved one in this position. If you do, you may be able to receive compensation.

Our History with Asbestos Litigation

For decades, we have built strong cases to pursue damages on behalf of our clients who have received diagnosis and treatment for asbestos-related cancers. Typically, this has included compensation for any expenses or losses incurred from exposure to asbestos, including diagnosis, treatments, lost wages, and any related costs. The cost of getting the proper treatment for mesothelioma or lung cancer is often quite expensive, and the attorneys at Cooney & Conway work hard to deliver the highest financial reward to our clients.

Clients have also been able to receive compensation for pain and suffering damages. It's hard to put a price on pain, but we work hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve for what they and their family have endured. Juries routinely return high awards for pain and suffering damages in mesothelioma cases.

If your loved one has passed away as a result of his or her asbestos-related injury, you may also be entitled to pursue wrongful death damages against asbestos product manufacturers. Mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer are often deadly, and family members are given the right to pursue compensation for wrongful death.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits: The Steps

The amount of compensation that mesothelioma victims and families can be awarded varies greatly and is dependent on each individual case. What one case was able to be compensated for isn't necessarily how it will be for another.

In pursuing a lawsuit, there are a few steps that take place.

1. Research

The first step in building an asbestos-related case is to find out which companies were responsible for exposing you or your loved one to asbestos. Some people know which asbestos products they worked with during their career, they just were never warned that it was hazardous to their health. Many others are unaware that some of the common products they used during their lives, whether on the job or in their personal lives, contained asbestos.

Learn more about Asbestos-related illnesses.

The experts at Cooney & Conway have an extensive bank of knowledge about how a person might have come in to contact with asbestos products throughout his or her life, and we take the time to carefully listen to our clients and investigate all possible leads. We work tirelessly to find out who is responsible, and will go after those companies in any way we can.

2. File the Lawsuit

After we've done our research and compiled all the information we need, we then prepare to file the lawsuit against the companies that are responsible for your asbestos exposure. We determine which state it needs to be filed in, what type of claim it should be, and which defendants should be named in the lawsuit.

Many of the worst corporate offenders who used asbestos for decades have filed for bankruptcy due to the large number of cases against them. Some of these companies have set up large bankruptcy trusts to continue to pay for these claims, and the experts at Cooney & Conway can obtain compensation from these trusts if you have been exposed to that company’s asbestos product. Partner John Cooney is one of the main architects of these bankruptcy trusts, having been member on the creditor’s committee for the Halliburton, United States Gypsum, Owens Corning, Armstrong World Industries, and Bondex asbestos trusts, among many others. John was selected by his peers to be the chairman of many of these trusts. We have the extensive background to help you navigate your way through this complicated system.

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3. Activities Before Trial

After the lawsuit has been filed, the discovery phase begins. This is the time where all the parties involved find out all the necessary information before the case goes to trial. The discovery process includes depositions, written interrogatories, affidavits, and many other forms of written discovery. The attorneys at Cooney & Conway work tirelessly during the discovery process to find out all the information we need to make the best possible case against all the responsible parties.

Once the discovery process is over, our attorneys are prepared for trial. Many cases settle prior to going to trial, and we work hard to make sure each settlement represents fair value to our injured clients.

4. The Trial

If the case is not able to settle prior to trial, the case will be presented to a jury, who will decide whether the defendant is responsible for our client’s injuries and what the fair compensation for the client is. Our primary trial goal is to ensure that we put the best case possible in front of a jury, and our trial attorneys have a long track record of excellent results. We don’t back down from any defendant, and will take any case to verdict if we can’t come to a just resolution prior to trial.

Stages of an Asbestos Lawsuit

The above section provides a high-level overview of the steps we take. Here's a further breakdown of what the legal process might look like.

  • Stage 1- Opening the File In this beginning stage, initial medical, asbestos exposure, and personal information is collected.  A preliminary investigation occurs and contracts, fee agreements, and authorizations are signed.
  • Stage 2- Proof of Injury After a file is open, we will begin to build a case about your asbestos exposure.  We will collect pathological materials of your mesothelioma/asbestos condition diagnosis.  Depending on your particular case, these materials may be sent to an expert for review.
  • Stage 3- Collection of Supporting Documentation Here we will continue building your case with supporting documentation of your asbestos exposure diagnosis by obtaining medical records, billing, and causation reports.  We will also establish proof of where you were exposed through the collection of Social Security, Navy/Military, and Union records.
  • Stage 4- Submission of Claims There are some companies that used asbestos or asbestos-containing products that have filed bankruptcy but have established trusts to compensate mesothelioma asbestos victims.  In stage four, we use the documentation of diagnosis and work history to submit claims to these trusts.  A suit does not need to be filed in the court in order for these claims to be submitted.
  • Stage 5- Continued Investigation While the claims are being submitted your case will continue to undergo further investigation. Here your former co-workers will be interviewed to verify and strengthen your case that you were exposed to certain asbestos-containing products at your various job sites.
  • Stage 6- Filing Suit After a foundation of a case has been established a complaint will be drafted and filed within the court.  The entities named in the suit will be notified.
  • State 7- Discovery Here documents and testimony will be recorded and/or filed with the court in order to prove you have an asbestos-related condition and who caused this exposure.
  • Stage 8- Trial A trial date is set for your asbestos legal case.

What We've Done For Our Clients

We have received many notable awards and verdicts for our clients since we became a national leader in the practice of asbestos and mesothelioma litigation in the early 1970s. The attorneys at Cooney & Conway secured a $200 Million verdict in a consolidated asbestos trial, and secured a $35.1 Million verdict in a single case for a refinery worker. In addition to these record-breaking verdicts, we have settled thousands of cases in excess of $1 Million, including many cases in excess of $10 Million.

Over $1 Billion in Awarded Settlements 

Do you need a strong lawyer on your side who has extensive experience in mesothelioma and asbestos litigation? Get your free case evaluation started today and we'll see what we can do for you!