WILL THIS COST ME ANY MONEY OUT OF POCKET? HOW DO YOU CHARGE?
No, this process will never cost you any money out of pocket. All cases are taken on a contingency basis. That means that the lawyers front all of the expenses associated with pursuing your claims, and we recover those expenses and a fee ONLY out of money that we recover for you from the asbestos companies. If we do not recover for you, you will not owe us anything.
The contingency fee that the lawyer keeps (which is a percentage of the amount recovered from the asbestos companies) can vary according to state law. Some law firms may decrease their fee by a few percentage points if you ask and they think you have a good case. However, do not choose an inferior firm simply because they will agree to a lower fee. Some firms might offer a really low fee just so you will choose their firm. Be careful – as with anything else, you might get what you paid for if you look for the cheapest lawyer.
HOW LONG WILL IT ALL TAKE?
Generally speaking, the process takes approximately 24 – 30 months to complete. You will typically start seeing the first settlement money approximately a year from the time we get started (and, sooner in some instances).
WHAT IF I PASS AWAY BEFORE THE CASE IS FINISHED?
There will be administrative tasks that will need to be taken care of, but we can continue the case on behalf of your spouse, your kids, or other heirs.
I SMOKED, OR MY DOCTOR HAS TOLD ME THAT MY LUNG CANCER WAS NOT CAUSED BY ASBESTOS, BUT ONLY THE SMOKING
If you or someone you have lived with worked with or around asbestos, then we can help you even if you smoked. Almost every lung cancer client I have worked with since 2002 has smoked. Ever since the 1950’s the U.S. medical community has recognized that asbestos causes lung cancer, and that when someone is both exposed to asbestos and smokes, the risk of developing lung cancer skyrockets. Medical literature recognizes that the combination of smoking and asbestos increases your risk of developing lung cancer 60 to 90 times. In addition, because they are doctors and not lawyers, cancer doctors are typically not familiar with what is needed medically to file claims for lung cancer. In fact, most of them are NOT familiar with asbestos lung cancer medical literature that dates back to the early 1900’s. We use doctors who are familiar with this literature to support our client’s claims, and your treating doctors will not be needed to support your claims.
DO I HAVE TO FILE A LAWSUIT? WILL I HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
No, you do NOT have to file a lawsuit in order to make claims. However, depending upon your particular asbestos exposure history, you might be passing up significant money by not filing a lawsuit. This is a decision that should be made in consultation with us.
If no lawsuit is filed, you will not have to go to Court. And even if a lawsuit is filed for you, the chances of you having to go to Court are very slim because the vast majority of asbestos lung cancer cases (i.e. 95%+) settle without having to go to Court. In addition, if a lawsuit is filed for you, your claims will be filed and pursued individually; there is no large class action asbestos lawsuit.
HOW MUCH ARE MY CLAIMS WORTH?
Anybody that tells you how much your case is worth during your first meeting or phone call is lying to try to get you to sign a contract with their firm. If someone tells you they can get you a ton of money or some other large amount before they have thoroughly investigated your case, you should send them away. Instead, a reputable law firm may will likely answer with a range (low to high) based on similar cases they have resolved in the past, or tell you that they have to do some research first.
The value of each case depends on certain factors, including:
- whether or not a lawsuit is filed
- how, when, where and how often you were exposed to asbestos
- the years you were exposed to asbestos
- your age
- the state and county of filing
- the Judge that is assigned to your case
- who you choose as your lawyer
…and a lot of other factors.
Who you choose as your lawyer is the only factor you have control over.
Asbestos companies will NOT pay you just because you have worked around asbestos and have lung cancer. And contrary to what some lawyer advertisements on television suggest, there is not one giant trust fund full of billions of dollars that will throw money at you just because you have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
The law requires that we show a “connection” between you and EVERY asbestos company we pursue on your behalf. That’s why you need to help of someone who knows:
- The thousands of products that contained asbestos
- What companies manufactured those products
- What years the products contained asbestos
- Where the asbestos products were sold / used
- How the products were used
If you hire a law firm that does not do sufficient research into your asbestos exposure, you could lose a lot of possible compensation because companies will not be pursued that could have been pursued.
WHAT IF MY EMPLOYER(S) WHERE I WAS EXPOSED TO ASBESTOS IS NOW OUT OF BUSINESS?
That is not a problem. The laws of many states prevent employers from being sued even if they are still in business.
WHAT IF I CAN’T REMEMBER EACH TIME I MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO ASBESTOS DURING MY CAREER?
Because lung cancer appears typically decades after the initial asbestos exposure, I have never had a client who likely had perfect recall of every single exposure or their work history. Nobody’s memory is that good! So, do not worry about it; you do NOT have to have perfect recall for me to be able to do something for you. We’ve got all sorts of ways of figuring out how, when, and where a person was exposed to asbestos.
SOMEONE IN MY FAMILY WORKED WITH ASBESTOS, AND THEY ARE FINE, BUT I HAVE LUNG CANCER. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
Spouses and children develop can develop lung cancer because they were exposed to asbestos when their spouse / parent brought asbestos covered work clothes into the home. They can develop lung cancer even though the person in their home working directly with the asbestos is perfectly healthy. There are even documented medical cases of household pets developing asbestos cancer because they lived in a home of someone working with asbestos.
Some professions had greater risk of asbestos exposure because asbestos containing products were used a lot. Some of these professions and worksites that are traditionally associated with asbestos exposure include:
- Boiler Makers
- Construction Trades
- Vehicle Mechanics
- Equipment Mechanics
- Plumbing Trades
- Power Houses
- Chemical plant
- Steel Mills
- Fertilizer plants
- Navy Veterans
….. and many, many others.
In other words, if you lived with someone who was exposed to asbestos you can get asbestos-related cancer.
However, do NOT assume that if you did not have asbestos exposures if you or someone you lived with were not involved in one of the above trades or worksites. Those working in hundreds of different crafts were exposed to asbestos at thousands of different locations. Asbestos was everywhere.
HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHER ASBESTOS LAWYERS, LIKE THOSE I SEE ON TELEVISION?
After assessing your case (i.e. how, when and where you were likely exposed to asbestos), I will pursue your case in the state where I believe it will get the best value. That might NOT be your home state. And, it might NOT be the state where a firm you choose from the internet has an office.
The reason is this: the law governing asbestos cases varies from state to state to state. The law in some states is simply better than the laws in other states – which means your legal claims are worth more if filed in one state than they might be in another state. Now, a given case cannot be filed in any state, but very often there are several options. That might NOT be where it is convenient for your lawyer.
I cannot overstate the importance of this consideration. A case might be worth a lot more filed in State “A” with good law, and may be worth a fraction of that value if filed in State “B” with bad law.
Then, I will bring in another law firm in the state of filing to help with your case so that we have “boots on the ground” where the case is filed. I have worked with other asbestos lawyers all over the country since 2002, and have a large network of firms that I work with that are experienced asbestos attorneys.
Then I continue to monitor your case. I can’t count the number of people I’ve spoken to throughout the years who hired a firm and were disappointed with their service. I’ve heard stories of unreturned phone calls, clients being asked to provide information to a firm that seems to disappear, promises not kept, etc. Mesothelioma is a dreadful disease that takes its toll on families emotionally, physically and financially. The pursuit of legal claims should not make a very difficult time even more difficult or stressful. This is why every client has my personal cell phone number and email address.
Your lawyer is going to build your case, and how they build your case affects the value of your case. Law firms have no incentive to tell you that another firm may be a better fit than they are for your case. In fact, it is the opposite. Many firms try to get every possible case they can even if another firm would be a better fit.
The question to ask yourself is, “Who do you want building your case?” Someone you find on the internet who you select at random, or me – who has worked with a network of experienced asbestos lawyers all over the country and is going to place your case to try to obtain the best value for you and your family, and then monitor its progress.
Let me be your advocate.
YOU HAVE ONE CASE, AND ONE CHANCE TO HIRE THE RIGHT LAWYER – SOME FINAL WORDS
There are no class action asbestos cases where you will get paid just because you have been diagnosed with lung cancer. There is no giant trust fund where you pre-qualify for payment. You and your chosen lawyer will stand on your own.
There are no “Do-Overs.” You cannot restart your case if it doesn’t turn out the way you would have liked.
There are hundreds of asbestos lawyers in the US. Many lawyers out there just scream how much better they are than the next one. But once they get you to sign, will they look after you? It’s impossible to say until it’s too late. There are a lot of good lawyers out there – let me help put your claims in the right place.
Remember: It is difficult to change lawyers once you have signed a contract with a firm. Once you have signed with another firm, I cannot help you. Call me before you hire a lawyer so I can help you find one worth hiring, and I will stay with you throughout the legal process.
You get one chance to get your case into the hands of attorneys who have the experience and resources to try to maximize the value of your claims.
I would welcome the privilege of trying to help you.
Charles E. Valles
Questions? Looking for help? Please reach out for assistance.