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Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

The mesothelioma lawsuit statute of limitations imposes deadlines on mesothelioma lawsuit filings. The attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm understand these laws and will ensure that you meet each deadline and remain eligible for compensation.

Darron Berquist (1)

Legally Reviewed By: Darron E. Berquist
Managing Attorney | Mesothelioma & Asbestos in New York

Darron Berquist

Legally Reviewed By: Darron E. Berquist
Managing Attorney | Mesothelioma & Asbestos in New York

A mesothelioma lawsuit statute of limitations is a statutory deadline for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit. Each state sets its own civil statutes of limitations, so they vary in length. Even within the same state, the statute of limitations for different cases may vary based on their specific circumstances.

The timely filing of a mesothelioma lawsuit is crucial to recovering the compensation necessary to relieve victims and families of the financial burdens brought on by asbestos-related illnesses. The difficulties of coping with mesothelioma can cause legal matters to feel unimportant, but time is of the essence in these cases.

How long do I have to file a mesothelioma claim?

“When a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the time within which they must file a lawsuit is governed by laws called statute of limitation and that are state laws. They vary from state to state, and the clock on the statute starts to run on the date of the diagnosis of mesothelioma, and every state is different. Some states have a one-year statute of limitations. Some have as many as two, three, or four years, so when a person is diagnosed, that clock starts running on that date; so it’s important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible so as to not miss the opportunity to file a claim if that’s what the person wants to do.” – Sam Taylor, Managing Attorney of Asbestos Litigation Houston

The Discovery Rule

The discovery rule allows the statute of limitations to begin accruing on the date the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. This rule applies to mesothelioma claims. Thus, the statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims is generally the date of the diagnosis.

According to The Lanier Law Firm’s mesothelioma managing attorney in New York, Darron E. Berquist, victims of asbestos exposure benefit from the discovery rule.

“Most states have some form of a discovery rule, which means that the clock does not start to run for statute-of-limitations purposes until the injury — i.e., diagnosis — was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered,” says Mr. Berquist.

He goes on to explain that, in toxic-exposure cases, determining the applicable statute of limitations in a specific case may not be as straightforward as one may think.

“For example, it is not uncommon in asbestos cases for the injured person to have been exposed to asbestos from multiple sources, decades before their diagnosis, and in more than one state.”

It takes a specialized knowledge of the law and an advanced understanding of the intricacies of potential asbestos exposure to identify the jurisdiction and statute of limitations that apply in a specific mesothelioma case.

“When we are contacted by a client, our attorneys conduct a thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances of the client’s exposures to determine which statute (or statutes) of limitation may apply and guide the client in identifying the most appropriate jurisdiction(s) for their claims. With our nationwide reach, The Lanier Law Firm is able to handle cases in any jurisdiction,” says Berquist.

What is a statute of repose?

A statute of repose is like a statute of limitations, except, according to Cornell Law School, it begins to accrue on the date of an action by the defendant, regardless of the plaintiff’s experience. Statutes of repose in mesothelioma claims typically range from four to 10 years.

The mesothelioma latency period after asbestos exposure is 10 to 40 years, meaning most mesothelioma patients are time-barred from filing a claim against construction professionals to whom the statutes of repose apply before they are diagnosed. However, this does not bar a mesothelioma claimant from filing a lawsuit against the manufacturers or suppliers of these products.

What is the statute of limitations if my
family member dies?

After the tragic loss of a loved one, the family has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate of the deceased. The statute of limitations generally begins to accrue on the date of death. However, if the statute of limitations expired prior to the death, the family may also be time-barred from filing a wrongful death case, as is the case in Maryland.

The statutes of limitations in a wrongful death action are the same as in personal injury lawsuits in some states, but in other states, they are shorter.

Family members may have an option to file a survival action. A survival action is filed on behalf of the deceased when the decedent could have filed had they lived. In survival actions, the statute of limitations may differ from wrongful death cases.

The experienced and compassionate mesothelioma attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm can help you determine which civil actions apply in your situation.

What does it mean for a statute of limitations to be tolled?

A statute of limitations is said to be tolled when it is paused. This typically occurs when the only eligible claimant is a minor or otherwise lacks legal capacity. This scenario is most common in wrongful death cases. In these cases, the clock begins to run when the eligible party reaches legal age or when the legal incapacity is terminated.

In addition to tolling the statute of limitations, some jurisdictions waive the statute of limitations altogether in cases involving fraudulent concealment of harm by the defendant.

When should I contact an asbestos attorney?

It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your diagnosis to ensure your attorney can build the strongest case possible. Some jurisdictions have laws not related to the statute of limitations that may be beneficial to your case, even if the statute of limitations is shorter.

When you hire The Lanier Law Firm, we immediately initiate an investigation into your job and personal history to uncover all sources of your exposure to asbestos. This requires the work of private investigators and consultants who can access documentation, both public and private. We will also spend substantial time with you to ensure we build a complete history.

These efforts take time. Our attorneys’ goal is to recover maximum compensation on your behalf. We are willing to search from coast to coast to find all the information necessary to accomplish this and even file lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions. Contacting us early will ensure we accomplish all of this while still having access to file in the venue or venues of choice.

What are my options if the statute of limitations
has expired?

When a statute of limitations has expired, you are time-barred from filing a case in that jurisdiction. In this circumstance, you may be able to file your case in a jurisdiction that has a longer statute of limitations. However, you will need to establish grounds to file in that jurisdiction. You may be able to file in an alternate venue when you can establish the following:

  • You experienced exposure in that jurisdiction.
  • The headquarters of the corporation that exposed you to asbestos is located in that jurisdiction.
  • The liable party lives in the jurisdiction.
  • You can establish another relevant connection to that jurisdiction.

Our Results in a Case Involving 21 Time-Barred Steelworkers

The Lanier Law Firm is committed to finding the necessary grounds to move a case to the venue that serves the best interests of our clients. Our law firm was contacted by 21 steelworkers from Alabama who had contracted mesothelioma as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos.

The workers were unable to file a claim in Alabama, the state where the exposure occurred, because the statute of limitations had already expired. We successfully moved the venue to Texas, where we won a $115 million verdict on behalf of the steelworkers, one of the largest asbestos verdicts in U.S. history.

Contact The Lanier Law Firm Today

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the clock on the statute of limitations has already begun to run.
Contact The Lanier Law Firm today to start your case before time runs out.
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