Mesothelioma Lawsuits and Statutes of Limitations
Mesothelioma lawsuits are a breed apart from most other types of lawsuits. Because mesothelioma can emerge 10 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos, a mesothelioma lawsuit can be filed decades after the fact. Even if you are no longer working where the asbestos exposure occurred or if the company itself no longer exists, you can still file suit. But you have to be mindful about the statute of limitations.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets deadlines for filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits need to be filed within a certain amount of time. Once the statute of limitations on a case runs out, your time is up and you no longer have a valid legal claim.
The period of time during which you can file a lawsuit varies depending on the type of legal claim. Most are about two to four years. Murder is considered so horrible that it has no statute of limitations. This is why you read about a suspect being indicted for murder many years later because new evidence was found. I have often thought that knowingly exposing someone to asbestos and causing mesothelioma should be considered murder because mesothelioma is fatal.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Lawsuits?
In many states statutes of limitations usually give people one to six years (depending on the state) from the diagnosis or discovery of mesothelioma to file an asbestos lawsuit. But it’s important to act fast, because in a few states, including California, Tennessee, and Louisiana, the statue of limitations is only one year from diagnosis. Usually, asbestos bankruptcy trusts allow a three-year statute of limitations from date of diagnosis. But if any of the companies you believe are responsible for your asbestos exposure has declared bankruptcy and claims are being handled by a bankruptcy trust, you may have a longer time to present your claim to that trust fund. But I advise against waiting.
Why Mesothelioma Lawsuits Should Be Filed Soon After Diagnosis
It is important to act on mesothelioma lawsuits before the statute of limitations time period ends. True, money cannot restore your health or undo the damage done to your family by your illness. But it can help look after your family when you are gone and ensure that justice is achieved on your behalf.
Time is of the essence. Mesothelioma is a cruel disease that severely shortens life expectancy. There is no way to predict how much time you have left to live or to feel well enough to work with your attorney and provide factual information to strengthen your case.
Also keep in mind that in California and some other states, claims for pain and suffering become invalid after death. If you succumb to mesothelioma before the trial, your family will not be awarded any damages for your pain and suffering. Because of the urgency involved, the law often allows for quick trial dates for asbestos cases. It is in your best interest to act as quickly as you can to start your lawsuit.
Why You Should File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit
If you’ve been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may wonder whether it is worthwhile to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. The answer is “yes.” People who learn they are suffering from mesothelioma stand a very good chance of receiving substantial amounts of money in damages from companies that manufactured, installed, sold or transported the asbestos or from an insurance company or asbestos victims’ trust fund that has taken on a company’s liability. This is true even if the original companies have long been sold, closed down, or gone into bankruptcy reorganization leading to the formation of asbestos victims’ trust funds.