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Paralegals can be found in every area of the law. One of the largest areas to utilize paralegals, though, is the personal injury field. Personal injury law is the field of law devoted to helping those who have been injured unjustly to seek compensation. For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, compensation can be sought from the companies that failed to warn them of the danger.
Paralegals who work in the complex asbestos litigation field assist the attorneys who fight for the rights of victims who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, asbestosis, and other asbestos diseases. These paralegals do a lot of behind-the-scenes work to help build the claim for maximum compensation, whether through litigation or asbestos bankruptcy funds.
Although many asbestos cases end in settlements, there are also many that go to trial, requiring a strong and experienced team of attorneys, paralegals, and other professionals. Paralegals assist attorneys in all aspects of asbestos litigation, from initial client interviews to appeals.
Common tasks performed by a paralegal for a mesothelioma case include:
- Interviewing clients, doctors, medical specialists, and former co-workers or fellow veterans
- Gathering medical records and other supporting evidence, such as documentation of where and when the patient was exposed to asbestos
- Aiding the attorney in determining what types of damages a plaintiff may be entitled to recover
- Communicating with the client and insurance companies
- Filing legal documents with the court
- Locating expert witnesses to interview
- Maintaining a calendar of pretrial and trial order deadlines
- Preparing pretrial and trial motions
Asbestos litigation paralegals are specifically trained to work in this area of the law. Because of the complexities of mesothelioma cases, these legal professionals must possess a special set of skills and knowledge to assist attorneys and, ultimately, clients.
Ways paralegals help mesothelioma patients and their families pursue maximum compensation:
Because asbestos attorneys are very busy and cannot perform every function necessary to successfully take on a case, paralegals provide extensive support involving client services. Paralegals help interview and screen potential clients, keep current with case status, and interact with clients and their families in a meaningful way to ensure their needs are being met.
Asbestos paralegals must be skilled in drafting and submitting legal documents related to mesothelioma claims. Although the attorney ultimately reviews these documents, the paralegal spends the time drafting them and ensuring they are submitted on time.
Paralegals must have specific training or experience in order to handle the medical aspects of a mesothelioma case. The paralegals will ascertain which medical records and bills are needed from the patient and determine what future cost projections or experts are needed. Many paralegals in this field are familiar with how asbestos diseases affect patients. This knowledge allows paralegals to prepare medical chronologies, medical expense itemizations, deposition summaries, and demand packages.
Asbestos litigation paralegals play an important role in trial preparation. They perform a variety of tasks to assist attorneys, including jury selection preparation, opening and closing statements, and witness outlines. Paralegals also determine which exhibits will be utilized and ensure that they are properly prepared for trial.
One of the paralegal’s main jobs is assisting the attorney(s) with the entire voir dire process, including taking notes and helping the attorney strike or select jurors. Once the trial is under way, paralegals pull and pass exhibits to the attorney, act as a liaison to the client, communicate with the bailiff or court reporter if issues arise, bring witnesses into the courtroom when it is their turn to testify, and act as a second set of eyes and ears in the courtroom.
Although this is not an exhaustive list of everything an asbestos litigation paralegal does to assist attorneys in mesothelioma cases, it certainly shows that paralegals play a pivotal role in helping clients pursue maximum compensation for their injuries. If you would like to learn more about the paralegal profession, visit Fremont College. The school’s website offers a number of resources for those looking for a career as a paralegal.