The Critical Importance of Buying Local When It Comes to Your Asbestos Claim

The Critical Importance of Buying Local When It Comes to Your Asbestos Claim

We have all seen the ads. You’re sitting there, watching afternoon or late-evening television when it comes across your screen. That generic, print-only with the back-ground typewriter sound, ad that says “Mesothelioma is a serious disease.  If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma and worked around asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation.”  “Call this 1-800 number.”  Sure, there are many variations on these ads, but that is always the gist of them.

Fortunately for most of us, these ads are simply background filler while we wait for our programs to return. But for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-caused disease, either mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis, these commercials often take on particular importance, and numerous victims write down that 1-800 number that flashes across their screen and call it. And often-times, doing that proves to be a critical and costly mistake that they and their loved ones come to regret.

You see the people running these ads are not actually law firms, but instead glorified, out-of-state marketing firms who hope they can get asbestos victims to sign contracts and then farm their case out to some other out-of-state law firm thousands of miles away with whom these marketing firms have cut a deal to share in the proceeds of the claim with the out-of-state law firm. This process, while legal, can result in substantial problems for asbestos victims and their families that can add unnecessary stress and inconvenience to an already terrible situation and often cost these victims substantial amounts of compensation to which they and their families would otherwise receive.

To ensure the best possible outcome, it is critical for an asbestos victim to have a law firm that can provide direct, specialized, local attention to a victim’s claim. There are many reasons for this, and I could spend pages discussing them, but chief amongst them is the seriousness of the disease.  Tragically, asbestos victims can often become critically ill or even die shortly after being diagnosed.  To successfully litigate an asbestos claim, it is essential that the victim give sworn testimony about his work history and the asbestos-containing products to which he was exposed.  If an asbestos victim dies before providing that testimony, because they are represented by some law firm in Texas who has no idea what the day-to-day, on-the-ground situation is with their client for instance, that critical evidence can vanish forever, along with their and their loved ones’ lawsuits. In my experience in asbestos litigation, I have seen this happen many times over the years where out-of-state firms are involved.

Sometimes, asbestos victims are already hospitalized, and require their lawyer to visit with them in the hospital to obtain critical information necessary for their case. That’s not a big deal for a local firm. But for an out-of-state lawyer, if they can even be bothered to come at all, they must travel here to meet with their client, which requires substantial planning and oftentimes flying to West Virginia or at least flying close enough to drive the rest of the way. And that additional and unnecessary delay can often cost a victim their claim.

Another important reason, in addition to ensuring that the evidence necessary to prove the case is handled correctly, to “buy local” is that West Virginia asbestos attorneys also provide a significant advantage in having formed relationships with the lawyers who repeatedly defend the companies involved in all asbestos claims and the Court who hears these lawsuits. In West Virginia, all asbestos claims get consolidated before the Circuit Court of Ohio County, who holds asbestos trials multiple times throughout each year. There are always more cases pending than the Court can hear at any one time, so the Court has established certain procedures and protocols to ensure that asbestos-victims have equal access to West Virginia’s legal system to litigate their rights and claims. Having a local lawyer who understands the inner workings and nuisances of this unique system also provides a significant advantage to making sure that your asbestos claim gets the due attention it deserves.

It is also important to understand that, even if you signed up with some out-of-state firm for one type of asbestos-related condition, you are not stuck with that firm if you go on to develop one of the more serious asbestos-caused diseases, like malignant mesothelioma or lung cancer.  In West Virginia, people who go on to develop malignant conditions have a new claim and are free to choose any law firm they want to represent them in that new claim.

The reason we are constantly bombarded in West Virginia with these generic asbestos TV commercials is because asbestos-caused diseases are very serious conditions that often result in substantial compensation for the victims and their families, deservedly so. And these big law firms spend tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars all over the country trying to get as many of these cases as possible, whether they have any idea about the proper way to handle them in any given county or state. And with hundreds or thousands of claims in the office, most often there simply isn’t time to give due attention to the day-to-day requirements of any one case to ensure the maximum success for that case.  That big law approach might be OK for some types of cases, a company selling half-full printer cartridges for full price for instance. But that approach can prove critically problematic, or even fatal, to asbestos claims.  So, I strongly urge all of you with any historical contact to West Virginia who end up suffering from an asbestos-related disease to strongly consider a West Virginia lawyer to handle your claim. 


We have all seen the ads. You�re sitting there, watching afternoon or late-evening television when it comes across your screen. That generic, print-only with the back-ground typewriter sound, ad that says �Mesothelioma is a serious disease. If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma and worked around asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation.� �Call this 1-800 number.� Sure, there are many variations on these ads, but that is always the gist of them.