Feb 16

Personal Injury Lawyers: Protecting Clients’ Livelihoods and Rights

Personal injury lawyers are legal professionals who practice law that relates to damages to a person or property, which can encompass both mental and physical trauma. Working closely with torts and property statutes, personal injury lawyers specialize in navigating cases that relate to workplace injuries, insurance coverage, medical malpractice, auto collisions, medical malpractice, professional negligence, and many more related issues. Therefore, a personal injury lawyer can also be known as the plaintiff lawyer. They can represent private clients or injury victims alike.

An attorney in this capacity basically focuses on obtaining compensation for the plaintiff of the case that has suffered injury. Many will try to get an out of court settlement with the defense instead of going before a jury, as this is a faster way of making sure the client gets the funds they need. In cases where a settlement cannot be reached, a lawsuit will begin. The expertise of a professional injury lawyer will be very valuable in this scenario. A professional’s command over legal language, connections in the field, and knowledge of what steps to take are invaluable.

A personal injury lawyer’s duties include, but are not limited to:

1) Meeting with clients to give updates on the state of the case
2) Keeping full confidentiality, even if the issue does not go to court
3) Suggesting the best legal tactics to be used to elicit a good settlement
4) Evaluate the facts and assess whether the client’s legal rights were infringed upon, whose fault said infringement was, and the scope of the compensation to be asked for.
5) Building an airtight case based on evidence such as company records and witness statements.
6) Creating the necessary legal documents and filing them in a timely fashion.
7) Arguing the trial in front of a jury if necessary.
8) Getting monetary compensation for your injuries and lost wages.

Every area has different laws and statutes governing personal injury. There are codes of ethics as well as specific rules and regulations for practicing law in the injury field. While formal specialization or training is encouraged, the only prerequisite to practicing injury law is holding a juries doctorate and passing the bar exam. However, in some non-US countries, certain ethical tests are administered in order that prospective injury attorneys can qualify.

If you have been injured in an accident, private business, or the workplace, contacting a qualified personal injury lawyer should be your first priority.

Feb 09

Asbestosis Lawyers: Tasked By Time, Type And Future Condition

One of the tragic consequences of asbestos exposure is that in many cases there may be only 6 months from a confirmed diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma for the victim to ensure the future financial security of their spouse and close family members.

In accordance with the strict time limits for pursuing a personal injury claim, asbestosis lawyers representing their clients are required by the Limitation Act 1980 to bring a claim for mesothelioma compensation within three years from the date of a confirmed medical diagnosis.

From initial exposure and inhaling of the fibre dust particles to the first appearance of mesothelioma or asbestosis symptoms, such as the onset of coughing or a difficulty with breathing a long gestation period of up to 50 years or more may elapse. In many instances, the early warning signs may be mistaken for common ailments but almost invariably, cancer tumours would have spread to an advanced stage.

Tracing original employers / insurers

As asbestosis lawyer will be immediately tasked with tracing original employers and their insurers while at the same time collating medical reports, detailed work history and also calling for witness evidence from former work colleagues as part of the claim process. Even if a former employer has ceased trading, the insurers may be identified as the “Employer’s Liability Insurers.”

Each year, more than 3,000 asbestos disease sufferers are unable to trace their original employer and their insurer or find that the company had been dissolved. However, the Employers’ Liability Tracing Bureau, created as a “fund of last resort” for those patients diagnosed with mesothelioma (and no other asbestosis disease) and only after 25th July 2012, is due to come into force in July 2014.

Type of asbestosis affects type of claim

Time is always of utmost consideration and the length of a case depends on variables, such as work history and the type of asbestos- related condition diagnosed. While there are “fast track” procedures available to help progress a mesothelioma claim as quickly as possible, where for example, pleural plaques, pleural thickening or asbestos cancer is diagnosed, a further detailed assessment may be necessary.

According to recent legal pronouncements from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), individuals diagnosed with pleural plaques would only have an increased risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, as a direct result of their exposure to asbestos rather than because of the plaques themselves.

The ‘Pleural Plaques Former Claimants Scheme’ was introduced by the MoJ in August 2011, which allowed one-off payments of £5,000 to those individuals who had already begun but not resolved a legal asbestosis claim for pleural plaques compensation.

Lump sum or damages

Once a claim has been accepted by a defendant, settlement can be made on a full and final basis, which entitles the victim to a lump sum payment. The amount awarded will take into account any current disability related to the asbestos disease and the percentage risks associated with a future deterioration or development of other more serious asbestos related conditions.

If a lump sum is accepted and the condition later develops into a more serious condition it will not be possible to return to Court and secure a further award of asbestos compensation. Alternatively, a claim can be settled on a provisional basis for “damages”, which entitles the victim to a reduced award but does allow entitlement for returning to court if the disease is shown to have seriously deteriorated.

Injuries benefit

Both the above are for a civil claim only, as distinct from eligibility for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, payable by the Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) available for a “prescribed” disease such as diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

In 2011, there was 725 newly assessed cases of asbestosis (Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, 2011) and in 2012, there was an estimated 2,000 asbestos related lung cancer deaths, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The incidence rate of mesothelioma in the UK has been steadily rising in the UK with a four-fold increase just in the last thirty years (Office of National Statistics). According to the HSE there are at least 4,700 asbestos disease related deaths recorded every year, which could reach over 60,000 by 2050.