Asbestos Claims Statute of Limitations Period

By - February 18, 2020
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There have been many asbestos cancer lawsuits in the news lately. For example, talcum powder use has been associated with some people with mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Recently, a jury in New Jersey ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $700 million in punitive damages to four plaintiffs who said their regular use of baby powder containing asbestos led to their mesothelioma. (NYPost.com)

There are many other mesothelioma lawsuits pending across the country against J&J and other companies that exposed workers to asbestos over the years.

If you have been exposed to asbestos and were diagnosed with mesothelioma or another type of cancer, you probably want to know if you can file an asbestos claim. Yes, you can. But for only a limited time!

One thing you need to know about filing a personal injury asbestos lawsuit is that every state has a statute of limitations. This means you have a limited time period to file your claim from the date you were hurt OR the date you became aware of your injury.

Asbestos Statute of Limitations Overview

Each state has its own laws about the statute of limitations for asbestos claims. If you want to file an asbestos claim to get money for your medical bills now and in the future, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, you have to be aware of the time limits for filing. The statute of limitations you have to work with comes down to the state in which you want to file.

SEE ALSO: How to File an Asbestos Claim

For a typical personal injury lawsuit, such as a car accident, the statute of limitations begins on the day you were hurt. But in the case of an asbestos cancer injury, the typical day the statute of limitations begins is the day you learned about the injury. (There is more information about this concept under the Discovery Rule below).

For a wrongful death lawsuit related to asbestos and cancer, the statute of limitations starts on the date your family member died from their cancer. The statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit can vary by state as well.

Why Do States Have a Statute of Limitations?

Most criminal and civil cases have statutory limits established. The idea behind this is there to be a fair playing field for each party to the dispute. If the case were to drag on for many years, evidence can disappear, witnesses may die, change their testimony, or leave the country.

The civil courts in the US have controls in place to limit civil lawsuits and compensation claims for these reasons. Statute of limitations in asbestos claims are supposed to make lawsuits happen in a reasonable amount of time. The concept is to offer more levels of protection to people who are being accused in civil lawsuits, such as asbestos claims.

Statutes of limitations are intended as a check on asbestos claims to ensure the plaintiff has reported their asbestos claim in a timely manner. The lawsuit should not take the defendant totally by surprise many years after the offense occurred.

But, as the Discovery Rule explains below, asbestos claims have different rules. Usually, the statute of limitations goes into effect when the plaintiff learns they have asbestos. The statute of limitations can range from one to four years in many cases.

It is very important as soon as you have your asbestos cancer diagnosis to hire a mesothelioma attorney promptly, so you meet the statute of limitations for your state. (asbestos.com)

Asbestos Statute of Limitations By State

Below are some examples of statutes of limitations for personal injury cases, such as asbestos claims: (workinjurysource.com)

Some wrongful death statutes of limitations by state:

  • Arizona: 2 years
  • California: 2 years
  • Florida: 4 years
  • Georgia: 2 years
  • Illinois: 2 years
  • Indiana: 2 years
  • Massachusetts: 3 years
  • Michigan: 3 years
  • New Jersey: 2 years
  • Pennsylvania: 2 years
  • Texas: 2 years
  • Washington: 3 years

What Is the Discovery Rule for Asbestos Claims?

There are many factors that influence how long you have to file your asbestos claim. In a personal injury case, the start date to determine how the statute of limitations is the date the injury occurred.

But in an asbestos claim, this standard does not work. Asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, have a long latency period. You could have been exposed to asbestos at a factory 35 years ago and have no idea you may get cancer. The cancer could easily not begin until you are in your 60s or 70s. The damage is done over the years to the lung and/or abdominal tissue, but the genetic mutations that occur that cause cancer can take decades.

Also, many asbestos exposure victims have no idea how they got cancer until they feel the symptoms of end-state mesothelioma: constant dry cough, difficulty breathing, pain in the side and back, etc.

How Many Years Of Asbestos Exposure

The latency factor is not the only factor. Many asbestos-related illnesses might happen only years after exposure to asbestos. This can make it hard to say when the statute of limitations clock should start.

This is the reason most states have a ‘discovery rule’ in effect for asbestos claims. This means the statute of limitations clock begins on the date your asbestos cancer was diagnosed.

The Rules of Which State Apply to Your Asbestos Claim?

The state where you decide to file your asbestos claim is important to how the case turns out. Your attorney can tell you the best state to file your asbestos claim based on your situation. (asbestos.com)

SEE ALSO: See Also Asbestos Claims Payout

Asbestos claimants often file claims in one of these:

  • The state where you live. You may be eligible to file in the state you live in.
  • Type of claim: If you make an asbestos claim against a company, one statute of limitations could apply. If you file against an asbestos claim trust fund, another statute of limitations could apply.
  • The state where the asbestos exposure happened. This could be the best place to file.
  • The state where the company is primarily based.
  • How severe the disease is: Some states will offer you more time to file if you have late-stage asbestos cancer.
  • States where more favorable asbestos claims are filed.

The statute of limitations for your asbestos claim is very important to take note of. Make sure you talk to your attorney as soon as you get diagnosed so he or she can quickly determine the best state to file the claim.

Get Mesothelioma Legal Help Immediately

With over $30 billion available for victims through the Asbestos Trust Funds, you could be entitled to financial compensations without ever filing a lawsuit. Mesothelioma & Lung Cancer victims qualify immediately. Complete the form or call us toll-free (800) 352-0871

Karst Von Oiste Mesothelioma Law Firm

Karst & von Oiste is a national law firm; we advocate for clients suffering from mesothelioma and lung cancer around the country. Having represented hundreds of mesothelioma and lung cancer victims across the country over the last 16 years, our firm has obtained many verdicts and settlements for their clients and families. Call us today (800) 352-0871.

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