Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims begins after diagnosis for a personal injury lawsuit or at the time of death for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Most statutes of limitations for mesothelioma claims fall within 1 or 2 years, but some can reach up to 6 years.
A mesothelioma attorney can explain the statute of limitations specific to your case.
What is a mesothelioma statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations limits the time someone can wait to file a lawsuit. These legal deadlines vary by state and by the type of claim.
States set different time limits for each type of claim. The clock starts ticking at different times for the two main types of mesothelioma lawsuits:
Personal injury lawsuits: For a claim filed by a person with mesothelioma, the period of limitations typically begins the day they are diagnosed.
Wrongful death lawsuits: For claims filed by the estate of a deceased mesothelioma patient, the statute of limitations period typically begins on the day of the patient’s death.
A statute of limitations also applies to class-action lawsuits, which are unusual in asbestos litigation and trust fund claims. Each trust fund sets its deadline for filing a claim.
With a few exceptions, people are barred from filing a claim if they wait too long after the statute of limitations begins, which results in their claim being forfeited.
That’s why you should consult with a qualified mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible after diagnosis or death.
Most statutes of limitations for mesothelioma claims fall within a year or two. However, if you fail to file within that period, you may still be able to file a claim in a different state with a longer statute of limitations.
Is my mesothelioma claim within the statute of limitations?
Do you still have time to file a claim – speak directly with an experienced mesothelioma attorney?
They can review your work history, find out where you were exposed to asbestos, and explain your compensation options.
The sooner you file, the faster you and your family can receive compensation through a settlement or jury trial decision to cover treatment costs and other expenses.
Factors Affecting the Statute of Limitations
Several factors can affect the statute of limitations on your mesothelioma claim.
Some of the factors that may affect your claim include the following:
Type of Claim: Different periods may apply to different types of claims. For example, a trust fund claim’s limit may differ from a personal injury claim.
Where you live: You may be eligible to file in the state where you currently live or in another state where you have previously lived.
When and where you were exposed: The state where you were exposed may be the best place to file. Additionally, your risk’s start and end date can affect your claim’s limitation period.
Company location: Sometimes, the best place to file your claim is in the state where the asbestos product manufacturer responsible for your exposure is located.
Day of diagnosis: The day you were diagnosed with mesothelioma is one of the most important factors affecting the statute of limitations for your case.
Degree of severity: In certain cases, a plaintiff may be granted an extension based on the severity of their diagnosis and how far their disease has progressed.
Many complications, exceptions, and extensions are associated with mesothelioma’s limitations. It is best to speak with a mesothelioma law firm specializing in this unique area of the law to understand your options. (Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations)
In which state should I file?
An experienced asbestos law firm can help you determine which state laws apply to your case and whether you can file multiple claims under a different statute of limitations.
The best position for you to file depends on several factors:
- states you’ve lived in
- the states where you worked and were exposed to asbestos
- States where companies responsible for asbestos exposure are or were located
Even if you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit, you should start the process sooner rather than later. Gathering enough evidence to make a successful claim will become more difficult as time goes on. (Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations)
Application of the Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Claims
Invoking the statute of limitations in most non-asbestos personal injury cases is straightforward.
The claimant usually knows when the clock starts ticking on a claim because they know when they were injured. But this is not the case for asbestos personal injury claimants.
Unlike most injuries, asbestos-related injuries often cannot be traced back to a single moment.
Rather, these injuries result from asbestos exposure over time, usually over months or years of one’s work history.
It usually takes at least 20 years after exposure to asbestos for asbestos-related disease to develop.
The statute of limitations for personal injuries typically ranges from one to six years, but it takes much longer for asbestos claimants to discover their injuries.
This is why the courts interpret statutes of limitations somewhat differently for asbestos claimants. (Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations)
The ‘Discovery Rule’ for Asbestos Cases
The “discovery statute” refers to the date the statute of limitations for an asbestos case begins to run.
Traditionally, the statute of limitations clock starts running when a person is injured, but today it is different for asbestos cases.
The statute of limitations in asbestos cases typically begins at the time of diagnosis for personal injury claims and at the time of death for wrongful death lawsuits.
In 1973, the landmark asbestos case Borrell v. Fiberboard addressed the difficulty of applying the traditional rule to asbestos claimants. Since then, courts have applied the “discovery rule” to asbestos cases.
The Borrell case is also significant because it was the first to hold manufacturers liable for asbestos injuries.
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit referred to a line of personal injury cases involving exposure to hazardous substances.
In those cases, it was held that a cause of action did not accrue until “the effects of such perils manifested themselves” (that is, the statute of limitations clock had not begun to run).
The court also decided that the rule was appropriate for asbestos personal injury cases.
An Illinois court later interpreted the rule in an asbestos case against Johns Manville: “The cause of action arises when the plaintiff knows or reasonably ought to have known of the injury and also knew or reasonably must know that the injury was caused by the wrongful act. Second.”
The deadline for filing asbestos claims begins the day a person is diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness.
While each state defines the time limit differently, most states offer two years, and the deadline is one day after the claim is filed.
For example, John Castro was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February 2016 after being exposed to asbestos-contaminated talcum powder in Virginia.
He filed a mesothelioma lawsuit in February 2019 in New York, which dismissed his claim in April 2021 because he filed it three years after his diagnosis.
His claim would not have been barred if he had filed a year earlier. Virginia’s statute of limitations, which is two years, applies to the case. (Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations)
Compensation Options If Your Statute of Limitations Has Expired
If you believe your statute of limitations has expired, you may have other options for compensation.
Because statutes of limitations are complex and vary by state, the best recommendation is to find a qualified asbestos attorney who can advise you on the right action plan.
They can determine whether you qualify for an exception or extension. For example, in 2020, the Supreme Court of Ohio made an exception to the statute of limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A mesothelioma attorney can provide additional information and assistance in obtaining other types of compensation, such as VA benefits claims, disability insurance claims, and health insurance claims. (Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations)
Common Questions About the Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma
What is meant by the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is the time someone has to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. This time limit prevents people from filing an asbestos claim if they wait too long after the statute of limitations begins. (Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations)
When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin on an Asbestos Case?
The legal time limit varies by state and usually begins on the date of the mesothelioma diagnosis or the day of death in wrongful death cases.
While the mesothelioma latency period can be several decades, the period for filing an asbestos claim can be as little as one year. (Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations)
Can a claim be filed in another state if the statute of limitations has expired?
If the claimant worked in multiple states during their asbestos exposure, they might be eligible to file a claim in another state.
Hiring a mesothelioma attorney will help you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations that applies to your claim expires.
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