We understand that an asbestos lawsuit is not something that most people are familiar with, and the procedure can be confusing. In order to better inform our clients as to what to expect as we proceed with an asbestos claim on your behalf, we have put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions. We hope that this answers many of the questions you have about how asbestos cases work. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

No, there is no asbestos class action in place pending right now. Your case is an individual lawsuit filed in Court. You are not participating in the lawsuit with any other asbestos victims. Your case is handled independently, just like any other civil lawsuit pending in court.

That will depend on a number of factors, including where you live, where your exposure to asbestos took place, where the defendant companies are based, and the procedural and substantive law of the potential jurisdictions we are considering. We always try to find the best place to file your lawsuit, so that we can put your case in the best position for a successful outcome. Some states require that asbestos cases all be filed with the same court. For example, in Massachusetts, all asbestos cases are filed in Middlesex County Superior Court, and are heard by Judge Heidi Brieger. Because of budget issues in Massachusetts, Judge Brieger moves around to different courts during different times of the year, so we appear before her in the court in which she is sitting at that particular time.

That will depend on the way in which the jurisdiction in which we file the case operates. In most situations, we file the case whenever we have enough information to put the case in suit. That usually means that we have to research and collect information about the injured party’s use of asbestos products, and try to determine which companies are responsible for those products. We need to make sure we have enough information to go after the right parties, which can take time. In some states, like Massachusetts, we file asbestos cases toward the end of the calendar year, unless there is a statute of limitations expiring before then. This allows us to organize our cases to put them in the best possible position for success.

That depends on how quickly the court moves through its case docket. It varies by state, and by court. In many states, asbestos cases take 3 years from the year of filing to be reached by the court. So if your case is filed in 2019, you can expect that it will be reached by the court sometime in 2022. It some states, like Massachusetts, there is special provision called “exigent advancement” that allows us to advance certain mesothelioma cases to trial much sooner, sometimes in a year or less. Whether your case is appropriate for exigent advancement depends on many factors. We will go over all of that with you when we meet.

No, it doesn’t. Asbestos lawsuits name a number of companies as defendants. We try to identify all of the responsible companies, and name them in the lawsuit. That means that a typical asbestos lawsuit has anywhere from a handful to a long list of companies listed as defendants. Most of those defendants will wait until the case is reached by the court before they will talk about settlement. But some companies are interested in negotiating a settlement of your case sooner than that. In that case, we can get you some compensation earlier on in the process. And as will be explained in more detail when we meet, not every defendant may be found liable.

No, that is not it. Since we name a number of companies in your asbestos case, we have to deal with them one at a time. When you settle your case with a defendant, we just cross them off the list, and we continue on against the remaining defendants. We do this until we have either resolved the case with each defendant, or the remaining defendants have been dismissed from the case because we didn’t have enough evidence to link you to their asbestos products.

No, we aren’t able to achieve settlements with all of the defendants in your lawsuit. We name the defendants based on the information that we have at the beginning of your case. How many stay in the case until the end will depend entirely on your history of exposure to asbestos. In many instances, despite best efforts, we are not able to collect enough evidence to keep some defendants in the case. They get out of the case through either a dismissal or through a process called summary judgment. Every case is different, since no two people were exposed to the exact same asbestos products. You can’t compare your case to cases of your co-workers or friends, because the circumstances of everyone’s case varies depending on the number of products, years of exposure, severity of the injury, age of the victim, etc., etc. Rest assured that we will do absolutely everything we can to try to maximize the recovery that we obtain for you.

If something should happen to you before your lawsuit is reached by the court, it doesn’t end there. We would have someone appointed as executor of your estate, and the lawsuit would continue with that person standing in your shoes. Any settlement money received from the lawsuit would go to your spouse and/or heirs, depending on how your will or estate is set up. We recommend that all of our clients make sure they have up-to-date wills that name an executor who will be responsible for handling the estate. We can refer you to a lawyer who specializes in wills and estate planning, if you would like more information on setting that up.

No, there is no need for concern. Asbestos cases take a lot of work, and a lot of time to put together. We work with you at the outset of the case to gather the information and evidence we need to file your case and move forward with it. We collect medical records from your health care providers, and search for documents and evidence from your working years. We request documents and records from the defendants in your lawsuit, and we take depositions as needed to gather testimonial evidence. When we make requests, we have to wait for responses. We also have to wait for certain court deadlines. While we are putting all of this information together, we may not need any additional information from you, or your signature on any documents. As a result, many months may go by without hearing from us. Don’t be concerned, for we are busy working on your case. We won’t bother you unless there is something to report to you, or unless we need some information from you. You have enough on your plate without having us calling you. If you would like an update, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Please don’t be frustrated if we don’t have any new news to report to you—the legal system can move slowly, and for the most part there isn’t a lot that we can do about it.

TESTIMONIALS

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“They exceeded my expectations by knowing how to handle every situation even when I had my doubts, they would encourage me and told me I would do fine. They never dropped the ball whether is was returning my phone calls or answering my questions, or presenting in court.”

— Joanna S.
Client Testimonial
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“Perhaps the greatest benefit is the appreciation and gratitude clients and their families have expressed to us and our firm for connecting them with Shepard Law to assist with their Mesothelioma case. In addition to finding a great firm to refer clients to, we feel like we have gained a true friend in Michael and the Shepard Law team. "

— Chris M.
Referring Attorney Testimonial
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“Erika O’Donnell was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time. After my husband was diagnosed and recovering from surgery I was overwhelmed. My sons and I were dealing with doctors, medical bills and home care. To add to that, our medical insurance coverage was in question. Erika, with compassion and understanding, walked us through our maze of questions and concerns, and made it easy! She was very professional and answered all my questions, no matter how trivial, calling me back promptly (even on her way home from the office and on the weekends).

— Roxanne C.
Client Testimonial
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"I appreciated that Shepard Law took care of everything concerning my husband’s asbestos case, making the process as easy and comfortable as possible for me and my family."

— Irene Pitman
Client Testimonial