Frequently Asked Questions
What will it cost me to file a lawsuit?
Be certain to work with a firm that is willing to accept your case on a contingent fee basis. This means that they assume the entire financial risk of the case on your behalf and only get paid if they are able to obtain compensation for you. They then take a percentage of the settlement as payment.
In the same way, your attorney should pay all the costs of your case including research, filing, expert witnesses, depositions, interrogatories, and trial and only take reimbursement from the recoveries he or she obtains. You should never pay for anything out-of-pocket or be required to pay any legal fees if the firm is unable to obtain compensation for you.
How do I know if I should file a lawsuit?
If your life, or that of a loved one, has been devastated by exposure to a toxic substance or dangerous drug, it is natural to want to know your rights. A qualified attorney can advise you if you have a strong case and help you understand the process involved in bringing a claim.
Will I have to testify?
You will likely have to give a deposition. Depositions are formal interviews given under oath that are recorded by a court reporter. The deposition is attended by all the attorneys involved in the suit and may later be used in court as testimony.
If your case goes to trial, you may have to testify in court. Your attorney should prepare you by helping you understand the kinds of questions to expect and giving you advice on how to tell your story. Frequently, the parties try to negotiate a settlement instead of going to trial. It is your choice whether to accept any settlement offers. See Your Involvement.
How long does it take?
Each case is unique and how long it takes will depend on many things, including where the case is filed (what state, the level of the court - state or federal), how many cases the court has to hear, and how quickly that court tends to bring its cases to trial. Your attorney is responsible for moving your case through the process as efficiently as possible. See What to Expect.
How long do I have to bring a lawsuit?
You have a specific amount of time in which you can file a lawsuit, so you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The rules (called statutes of limitation) are complicated and vary by situation and by state. In some states you have one year from the diagnosis or death, but in other states it could be longer. Keep in mind that it often takes weeks or months to fully investigate a claim before filing suit, so you should not delay in talking with a qualified attorney.
How much might I be awarded?
Every case is unique and the amount of compensation depends on the specific circumstances of each case, so it is very difficult to say how much you should expect.
What are my chances of success?
The success of your outcome will depend on the circumstances of your case. After you have chosen an attorney, you should meet with him or her to discuss and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case.