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Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma and Asbestos Claims

The statute of limitations for mesothelioma is a state law that determines the amount of time an asbestos exposure victim has to file a legal claim. The amount of time can vary by state, so it is important to file your claim as soon as possible. If you fail to file your claim within the established timeline, meaning the statute of limitations has expired, you will not be able to receive your rightfully deserved compensation.

Troy Walton

Reviewed By

Troy E. Walton

Personal Injury Attorney

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Important Facts About Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations

  • The statute of limitations for mesothelioma varies by state but is often 2-4 years.
  • The two main types of mesothelioma claims are personal injury and wrongful death claims, which may have different time limits.
  • The state where the victim resides or the states in which the victim’s asbestos exposure occurred is most likely where the claim will be filed.
  • Legal experts recommend patients file their mesothelioma and asbestos claims immediately.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims?

The statute of limitations is essentially a time limit for how long a victim has to file a legal claim for asbestos exposure or an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma. The statute of limitations for mesothelioma and asbestos claims starts at the time of the patient’s mesothelioma diagnosis (for personal injury claims) or their death (for wrongful death claims).

However, the deadline to file a mesothelioma claim expires at different times depending on each state. The statute of limitations for mesothelioma and asbestos claims is usually 2-4 years. In some states, the time limit is one year. Other states allow five or six years to file an asbestos claim.

Due to the range of statute of limitations in the U.S. and the complexity of asbestos claims, it is important to find an experienced mesothelioma attorney to help with your claim. The deadline for filing is crucial, and if it is missed, the victim will miss out on the opportunity to hold the companies responsible and receive their deserved compensation. An experienced lawyer with an asbestos law firm can help identify which state’s statute of limitations law applies to the specific case and pinpoint the exact time to file a claim to prevent missing the deadline.

Factors Affecting Your Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a law each state establishes to set the time limit for filing a lawsuit or legal claim. In asbestos litigation, there are different factors to consider in order to determine the statute of limitations for a specific asbestos exposure claim.

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Location

Since the statute of limitations on asbestos claims varies from state to state, the location of the victim’s exposure and their primary residence plays a role in how long victims and their families have to file a mesothelioma or asbestos claim.

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Type of Case

The statute of limitations for asbestos trust fund claims and personal injury claims begins when the victim is diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition by a doctor. Without a diagnosis by a medical professional, there are no grounds for legal action.

For mesothelioma wrongful death claims, the statute of limitations begins when the patient passes away. Since the victim has passed away, the surviving family members may be in financial strain. The surviving spouse or certain family members can file a wrongful death claim.

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It is important to note a particular state’s statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit may be very different than the statute of limitation for wrongful death lawsuits. Experienced asbestos attorneys from a reputable mesothelioma law firm will help you file a claim in a timely manner before your statute of limitations expires.

Asbestos Trust Fund and Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations Explained

Finding treatment for mesothelioma always comes first. However, patients and family members should file claims quickly to ensure they receive mesothelioma compensation.

It usually takes between 20 and 50 years after a patient’s initial exposure to asbestos for mesothelioma symptoms to appear. Therefore, special rules apply to mesothelioma cases.

These special rules allow the statute of limitations to begin on the date of the patient’s mesothelioma diagnosis or when a victim passes away. This ensures the time limit does not expire before the victim realizes they have an asbestos disease.

Personal Injury Cases and Asbestos Trust Fund Claims

Victims may file mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos trust fund claims against the companies responsible for their asbestos exposure. In most cases, the window to file a personal injury claim starts at the time of the injury.

However, mesothelioma personal injury cases are different. Since the cancer takes decades to develop, the “discovery of harm rule” is applied to mesothelioma claims. It allows cases to be filed within a certain amount of time after the victim is diagnosed with mesothelioma by a doctor. This rule applies to both personal injury lawsuits and asbestos trust fund claims.

Wrongful Death Cases

If a mesothelioma patient passes away before filing a claim or receiving compensation, their family can file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim begins when the patient passes away. This rule applies to both wrongful death lawsuits and asbestos trust fund claims.

Mesothelioma wrongful death claims allow a patient’s family to hold the asbestos companies responsible and receive deserved compensation. Each state has different rules for who can file wrongful death claims after a loved one passes. In most states, the surviving spouse, parents, and children are the only people who can do so.

Each state may have its own unique rules regarding how long patients have to file wrongful death claims. For example, in Texas, the personal injury and wrongful death statute of limitations are both two years. However, victims have a “borrowing statute,” which means if a mesothelioma patient dies before the expiration of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, the remaining time carries over to their loved one filing a wrongful death claim.

So, if a mesothelioma victim passed away six months before their personal injury statute of limitations expired, then their family would have two years and six months to file a wrongful death case in Texas.

This example is why you should rely on a mesothelioma law firm with experienced attorneys. They will know how much time you have to file a claim in each applicable state for your case.

Statute of Limitations by State

Each state has established its own statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death cases. Sometimes a mesothelioma or asbestos case is filed in multiple states for various reasons, such as: if the exposure to asbestos occurred in multiple locations; if the victim resides in a different state than where they were exposed; or if the company’s headquarters are in a different state.

Your attorney might file the claim in multiple states, increasing the value of the case and focusing on jurisdictions most advantageous to your case.

If the statute of limitations in one state runs out, there may be other states applicable to your case with more time left.

The list below — retrieved from different legal websites such as lawyers.com and statelaws.findlaw.com — provides a general overview of the statute of limitations for mesothelioma and asbestos claims in different states. It is very important to know the deadlines for filing a mesothelioma claim. Due to the many circumstances that may lengthen or shorten these time limits, you should find a mesothelioma lawyer to review the specifics of your case.

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West

West

State

Alaska

Arizona

California

Colorado

Hawaii

Idaho

Montana

Nevada

New Mexico

Oregon

Utah

Washington

Wyoming

Personal injury

2

2

1

2

2

2

3

2

3

2

4

3

4

Wrongful death

2

2

1

2

2

2

3

2

3

3

2

3

2

Central

Central

State

Arkansas

Illinois

Iowa

Kansas

Louisiana

Minnesota

Missouri

Nebraska

North Dakota

Oklahoma

South Dakota

Texas

Wisconsin

Personal injury

3

2

2

2

1

2

5

4

6

2

3

2

3

Wrongful death

3

2

2

2

1

3

3

2

2

2

3

2

3

Northeast

State

Connecticut

Delaware

Indiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Vermont

Washington D.C.

Personal injury

2

2

2

6

3

3

3

3

2

3

2

2

3

3

3

Wrongful death

2

2

2

2

3

3

3

3

2

2

2

2

3

2

2

Central

State

Arkansas

Illinois

Iowa

Kansas

Louisiana

Minnesota

Missouri

Nebraska

North Dakota

Oklahoma

South Dakota

Texas

Wisconsin

Personal injury

3

2

2

2

1

2

5

4

6

2

3

2

3

Wrongful death

3

2

2

2

1

3

3

2

2

2

3

2

3

Northeast

Northeast

State

Connecticut

Delaware

Indiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

Vermont

Washington D.C.

Personal injury

2

2

2

6

3

3

3

3

2

3

2

2

3

3

3

Wrongful death

2

2

2

2

3

3

3

3

2

2

2

2

3

2

2

Southeast

Southeast

State

Alabama

Florida

Georgia

Kentucky

Mississippi

North Carolina

South Carolina

Tennessee

Virginia

West Virginia

Personal injury

2

4

2

1

3

3

3

1

2

2

Wrongful death

2

2

2

1

3

2

3

1

2

2

Mesothelioma cases are unique due to the latency period of the disease, among other characteristics. For this reason, some states may have a different statute of limitations on mesothelioma cases than they do for other claims.

When to File a Mesothelioma Claim

It’s important for patients and families to file a claim quickly. The statute of limitations varies by state, and in some states, the statute of limitations to file a mesothelioma case is only one or two years. Filing as soon as possible will ensure victims do not miss out on the money they and their families deserve.

The statute of limitations only applies to the deadline you have to file the claim, not when the claim is finalized. As soon as your lawyer files your claim, your case meets the criteria of the statute of limitations. It does not matter how long the legal process takes.

Even if you think the statute of limitations for your case has expired, you should contact an experienced asbestos attorney. In some cases, legal experts may advise you to file in a state with a longer time limit.

A case in Minnesota proves why to file mesothelioma claims right away. A victim of asbestos exposure filed a lawsuit against multiple companies in 2013. Unfortunately, it was denied because the state they filed in was not applicable to the case. The victim passed away two years later in 2015.

His wife tried to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Minnesota in 2018. However, in Minnesota, the statute of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits is three years. The district court ruled that the statute of limitations began once the victim died, and the wife just missed the window to file a legal claim.

Mesothelioma Guide can connect you with attorneys who understand each state’s mesothelioma statute of limitations. These experienced lawyers will do everything possible to get you your deserved compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations

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How long do I have to file a mesothelioma claim?

Each state has a different time limit, called the statute of limitations, for mesothelioma claims. Some states allow for as little as one year to file a claim, while other states grant five or six years. Most states allow between two and four years, for both personal injury and wrongful death cases. If you don’t file within your deadline, you may be forever barred from filing a case or claim.

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When does the statute of limitations start for mesothelioma?

The statute of limitations for mesothelioma usually begins when the patient learns of their cancer diagnosis. Mesothelioma takes 20-50 years to reveal itself in symptom form, so victims won’t realize they have the cancer immediately after their asbestos exposure.

Sources & Author

  1. Statute of Limitations for Each State. Lawyers.com Website. Retrieved from: https://www.lawyers.com/. Accessed: 03/29/19.
  2. Statute of Limitations. California Courts. Retrieved from: https://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm. Accessed: 08/07/19.
  3. Civil Statute of Limitations Laws by State. FindLaw. Retrieved from: https://www.findlaw.com/. Accessed: 03/29/19.
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About the Writer, Retired LCDR Carl Jewett, VA Claims Agent

LCDR Carl Jewett is a retired Naval Officer who serves as the Veterans Department Director and Patient Services Director at Mesothelioma Guide. He is a VA-Accredited Claims Agent with more than 14 years of experience filing asbestos-related VA claims. He has helped over 1400 veterans who have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses get approved for VA Disability Compensation, VA Pension, and/or Aid & Attendance benefits. Because veteran’s are also entitled to compensation through the legal system, Carl has communicated with many mesothelioma law firms across the country. He has gained extensive knowledge of asbestos trust funds, mesothelioma lawsuits, settlements, and the claims process. He provides both veterans and civilians with information regarding their legal options.