Filing mesothelioma claims during a time that is already physically and emotionally draining can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Figuring out how long you have to legally file is complicated but not impossible. Mesothelioma Justice Network recommends consulting a qualified mesothelioma lawyer due to the risk of missing your filing period.
Statutes of Limitations
Statutes of limitations are laws that govern how long you have to file cases or claims against companies or individuals. For mesothelioma-related claims, different states define different time limits, and the time limits vary based upon whether you are filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Time limits will generally fall in the 2-4 year range, but some states have limits as low as 1 year and some as high as 6 years.
Time Window Calculation
The statute clock starts for a personal injury lawsuit the day you are diagnosed. For a wrongful death lawsuit, the clock starts the day of your loved one’s death. This differs from many other civil case statutes of limitations because it isn’t unusual for injury or death from mesothelioma to occur 10-40 years after asbestos exposure. To determine the amount of time you have to file your claim, add the statute of limitations timeframe for the state in which you are going to file to your date of diagnosis or the date of your loved one’s death. In almost all cases, if you miss your statute of limitations window, you will be barred from filing a claim, so it is important to understand your options and seek qualified counsel as soon as you can.
State of Filing
Most times, the state in which you file is governed by places you or your loved one have resided or worked or the location of the company responsible for you or your loved one’s exposure. Having multiple options for states in which to file is another reason to seek qualified counsel as early as possible after your diagnosis or death of your loved one. It is possible that even if the statute of limitations has run out in one state, you may qualify for filing in another state that still has time before the deadline.
Dealing with complicated legal issues such as statute clocks, case jurisdiction and venue during one of the toughest times in your life can seem unfair. Seeking qualified legal assistance can help remove the legal burden and let you focus on healing yourself and your family.