Some diseases go undetected by doctors for years, and some disorders conceal their symptoms until they’re strong enough to survive our immune defenses.
When asbestos was discovered to be causing sickness and cancer in many workers who were exposed to the chemical, those injured workers rightly began to file lawsuits against their employers. Many of those companies went bankrupt, but people were still able to earn money thanks to trust funds established for the sole purpose of compensating injured workers.
But asbestosis and mesothelioma can take decades to manifest in someone who was only exposed as a child or young adult. Can you still file a lawsuit 30 years after working for an asbestos company?
The worry surrounding a deadline to file a mesothelioma (or any) lawsuit is based in a legal principle known as a statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations apply deadlines to when a person can sue someone and vary depending on the situation. Many statutes of limitations are two years, but others can be as little as 90 days.
Mesothelioma and Date of Discovery
However, courts across the globe also realize there are some wrongdoings that can’t be contained neatly within a set period of time. If you suffer a broken leg in a car accident, for example, it takes no time at all to be sure that your broken leg was directly caused by the accident and not by something else. Symptoms occur immediately, making it easy to diagnose your condition. But it’s less easy to determine when exposure to a harmful chemical could have initiated a slow-moving disease.
That’s why for mesothelioma lawsuits, the courts base their statute of limitations on the date of discovery, which usually refers to the date of diagnosis by a doctor. No matter when you were first or last exposed to asbestos, the clock doesn’t start ticking until you have a confirmed medical diagnosis of mesothelioma.
In Indiana, patients have 2 years from their diagnosis date to file a mesothelioma claim, which also applies to family members filing wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of their loved one.
Unless you’ve waited two years after being diagnosed, it’s not too late to file a mesothelioma lawsuit.
State Variations on Mesothelioma Statutes of Limitations
It’s worth mentioning that, since each state sets its own statute of limitations for when a patient can file a mesothelioma lawsuit, the deadlines are different across borders. Though it may not seem like this matters, consider that the jurisdiction for any given case may change based on a number of different factors:
- Location of company
- Location of job site/military base where exposed to asbestos
- Address of patient, both current and at time of exposure
If you or your family lived in another state previously or worked on job sites across state lines, it’s possible your case may be handled by that state’s laws, and therefore the timeline could look different.
Most states maintain between one and three year statutes of limitations for mesothelioma claims, so it’s important to call an attorney soon after receiving your diagnosis.
Mesothelioma Attorneys Here for You
These legal details are just the tip of the iceberg for a mesothelioma lawsuit, and for victims suffering from treatment and a tragic disease, such details are far from being the most important thoughts in their mind.
That’s why Hensley Legal Group helps victims tap into the mesothelioma funds set up specifically to compensate their medical bills. We handle all the paperwork, deal with all the red tape, and manage your entire case for you, so you can focus on staying strong during treatment. Call us or contact us online today to start a free conversation about your case.