When confronted with a diagnosis of an Asbestos Exposure related disease, can be overwhelming. How did you get it, when were you exposed, why were you exposed? What are my legal rights, am I entitled to compensation from those individuals or concerns that put me in harm's way? You will need to contact a lawyer to sort out the legal matters you face. It's a good idea to have a set of questions ready for your lawyer. You should consider the following.
Is my first appointment free?
Some lawyers provide the first appointment free. Ask about this when you make an appointment.
Is this lawyer/law firm experienced in dust/asbestos cases?
Many lawyers specialise in particular areas of law. Ask your lawyer what experience they have had with your type of problem.
Are all the lawyers experienced in dust/asbestos cases?
Find out who will actually be doing the work. Ask to be told if your case is referred to another lawyer in the firm.
What are my options?
After you have explained your problem, ask your lawyer to outline your options and how your problem can be solved. If you don't understand something ask the lawyer to explain. Ask if there are any ways to solve your problem without going to court.
What are my chances of success?
Ask your lawyer about your chances of success. Discuss what you consider to be a successful result. Take time to think things over.
What work will your lawyer be doing? Ask the lawyer how the work will be done and to explain what steps are involved. Also ask your lawyer about how you will be informed of the progress of your case.
How long will it take?
Can anything be done to speed things up? Ask if there might be delays and how they can be avoided.
How much will it cost? You can shop around - remember you can negotiate. Cost is not the only factor in choosing a lawyer. In most cases your lawyer must advise you in writing how much the work will cost or, if that is not possible, how costs will be calculated.
When do I have to pay?
In most cases your lawyer must advise you in advance and in writing how and when you will have to pay. You are entitled to receive a detailed bill before you pay. Some lawyers will agree to wait until the matter ends before you pay them. Remember how and when you pay can always be negotiated.
Ask if the case is run on a 'no win, no fee basis'. If it is, ask what else you might have to pay and if you have to pay anyone else's legal costs if you lose the case. Ask who pays for tests and additional information which needs to be researched. If so, ask if any of these need to be paid up-front.
Only sign if you are happy with all of the above. Don't sign any agreement about fees unless you understand it and are happy with it. Tell your lawyer you want to be kept informed about costs as the case progresses.