Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma

A statute of limitation is the length of time that a person has to bring a claim forth.

In the case of mesothelioma, this timeframe begins after a patient is diagnosed with the disease or, for a wrongful death suit, when the patient dies.

Statutes of limitations vary by state and typically range between one and two years, though some can be as long as 6 years. Applicable statutes of limitations for your case can be explained by a mesothelioma lawyer.

What Are Statutes of Limitations for Mesothelioma?

The length of time that a person can file a lawsuit is set by a statute of limitations. Both the types of claims and the legal limits of time are dictated by individual states.

Every state has its own time limits for each kind of claim.

With regard to mesothelioma, the point at which the time available begins counting down is different:

  • Wrongful death lawsuits – Claims can be filed by the family or estate of a patient who has died of mesothelioma and there is a specific amount of time during which a claim must be filed. This time begins on the day that the patient dies of mesothelioma.
  • Personal injury lawsuits – The claim’s statute of limitations begins on the day the patient receives their diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Class action lawsuits are less common in modern cases, but also have applicable statutes of limitations. Similarly, trust fund claims have their own time constraints involved in filing claims. 

The majority of people will find that they are unable to file a claim once the statute of limitations has ended, though there are rare exceptions. For this reason, consulting an experienced mesothelioma attorney for a consult soon after a wrongful death or diagnosis is vital.

Though the statute of limitations in most states is between one and two years, patients or estates should not give up hope if this period of time has elapsed, sometimes claims may be filed in another state where the limit has not yet been reached.

Does the Statute of Limitations Allow for Enough Time for Me to File My Claim?

Your claim’s statute of limitations is affected by many factors and navigating the state laws and whether or not you are able to file more than one claim under another statute of limitation are things that law firms with mesothelioma experience can assist with.

What Factors Affect Statutes of Limitations?

Following is a list of factors that could affect your claim:

The Place Where You Live: You may not be limited by filing your claim in your home state as you may also be able to file in a state where you previously lived.

Location of the Company Where You or a Loved One Worked: The best place in which to file a claim may be the state where the responsible company for the asbestos products manufacturer is located.

The Time and Place of Exposure for You or Your Loved One: It is generally best to file in the state where you or your loved one was exposed to asbestos. The time of first and final exposure can affect the statute of limitation regarding your claim.

Type of Claim: Different types of claims may have different applicable limitations. For example, limitations for personal injury claims may have different limits than trust fund claims.

The Day that You or Your Loved One Received the Diagnosis: One of the most important variables that affects the statute of limitations is the day on which the diagnosis was received. 

The Severity of the Case: The severity of the case as well as how far along the disease has progressed may, in some cases, allow for an extension for the plaintiff.

Consulting a law firm with expertise in mesothelioma cases can help you understand the intricate options.

Statutes of limitations can involve exceptions and extensions and it would help to be in the hands of an experienced attorney.

In Which State Should I File?

Where you should file is dependent on the following factors:

  • Where you or a family member was exposed at work
  • Where you or your family member lived
  • States in which the liable companies responsible for the exposure to asbestos are located1

What Filing In a Timely Fashion Can Mean For You

Consulting with a mesothelioma attorney with experience in asbestos litigation can help take the guesswork out of whether or not you have time to file. An experienced attorney can explain your compensation options, help ascertain the place or places where the asbestos exposure occurred, and review relevant work history. 

Starting the process as soon as possible — regardless of the time you think you have to file — is the wiser course as the evidence-gathering work will become increasingly difficult the longer you wait.

Filing sooner means you and/or your family can be closer to the much-needed funds to pay for treatments, funeral expenses, and other costs that compensation via a trial or settlement verdict can deliver.

Asbestos Cases and the Discovery Rule

The point at which a statute of limitations begins is referred to as the discovery rule.

More often than not, the statute of limitations begins once the injury has been suffered. The Borel v. Fibreboard case of 1973 was a pivotal case which addressed the historical difficulties of the traditional rule in asbestos claims. As a result, the discovery rule has been employed by courts in asbestos cases.

Options for Compensation After the Expiration of the Statute of Limitations

There may be other options if you think you think the statute of limitations has expired.

As every state has their own limits, an attorney can help you to make the best decision, including deciding if you might qualify for an exception, such as when the Supreme Court of Ohio made an exception in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frequently Asked Statute of Limitations Questions

What is a statute of limitations?

It’s the state-defined limit in which to file a mesothelioma suit.

If the limit has been reached, can I file in another state?

A mesothelioma lawyer can help you decide if this is an option, such as in the case of the patient working in more than one state where they were exposed.

When does the statute of limitations begin?

It begins on the day of diagnosis or death, with the time to file (depending on the state) being as little as one year.