Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Claims
The statute of limitations on asbestos claims such as mesothelioma compensation claims generally have a timeline of 1-3 years after a victim receives their diagnosis. This differs from most personal injury claims.
Almost all civil law time limitation statutes begin when the issue, such as an automobile accident or slip and fall, first occurred.
It is easy to establish when these injuries occurred and reasonable that the plaintiff would take action shortly after. If they hesitate to file a claim before the statutory limitation deadline, the court takes the view that the plaintiff had their chance and it is not fair to the defendant to respond far in the future.
However, mesothelioma has an extremely long latency period, taking anywhere from 20-50 years after mesothelioma patients are exposed to asbestos for symptoms to appear and the patient to get diagnosed.
Our free Mesothelioma Justice Guide can help victims learn more about when and where they may have been exposed to asbestos.
The Discovery Rule and Mesothelioma Statutes of Limitations
Courts in the United States have a law called the discovery rule. In a personal injury case, the discovery rule serves as an exception to the normal statute of limitations rule that dictates that a wronged party’s timeline begins after the offense occurs.
The discovery rule applies to mesothelioma cases because:
- After a victim is first exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma often takes between 20-50 years to develop.
- A person exposed to asbestos decades ago would likely have no injury to prove within the normal statute of limitations.
- The victim would not be able to point to a single asbestos exposure date that led to their asbestos-related disease.
For these reasons, all courts recognize that asbestos-related claims need to commence within a certain period limit after the disease was diagnosed.
However, once a patient knows they have mesothelioma, the courts consider it their responsibility to find a mesothelioma lawyer and file a civil claim before time runs out.