What Is the Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations?
The time you have to file a mesothelioma lawsuit depends mainly on your state or jurisdiction and whether you are filing a suit on your behalf or as a surviving family member. You are undoubtedly fearful, worried, and perhaps angry if you recently received a mesothelioma diagnosis. Physically and emotionally, you have a lot on your plate right now. At the moment, it can feel impossible to decide whether to file a lawsuit, but to protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve, you must act expeditiously. The mesothelioma statute of limitations is typically only one to three years.
To learn more about the time frame you have to file a mesothelioma claim, contact our team at Flint Cooper today.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations governs the time you have to bring specific legal action. Statutes of limitations exist in the civil and criminal world and can vary from state to state and across different legal matters. You must pursue legal action within this time limit, or you will not be able to obtain compensation for your mesothelioma.
Types of Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Generally, two types of mesothelioma lawsuits can be filed, depending on the circumstances. Before filing the case, you must determine what kind of lawsuit to file.
The type of claim will depend on whether you are the mesothelioma victim or a family member of someone who passed away from mesothelioma.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are the victim of mesothelioma, you will file a personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for the asbestos exposure.
Under certain circumstances, you can shorten your mesothelioma lawsuit timeline. This is usually done through a motion for preference to reduce the timeline, and you typically have to submit supporting medical documentation (e.g., terminal illness).
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Unfortunately, victims of asbestos exposure and the resulting mesothelioma do not always survive long enough to file a lawsuit. If you are a surviving family member, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members can pursue compensation for outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and more.
Example of Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations
Each state determines the statute of limitations for filing all types of claims. The rules are as follows if you live in Illinois, Kentucky, or Texas. If you reside in another state, be sure to check the pertinent legislation or give us a call; we are happy to answer your questions.
In Illinois, the statute of limitations for personal injury and product liability claims is two years from the date you discovered or should have discovered your injury. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of death.
In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for personal injury and product liability claims is one year from the date you discovered or should have discovered your injury. The deadline to bring a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury and product liability claims is two years from when you discovered or should have discovered your injury. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Timeline
As with any lawsuit, a mesothelioma lawsuit progresses in several stages. The length of each step and the overall suit will depend mainly on your case’s specific facts and circumstances.
However, there is a general course of action for a mesothelioma lawsuit. The timeline of a typical mesothelioma lawsuit is as follows.
The very first step in a mesothelioma lawsuit is the investigation. It is only sometimes immediately apparent who may be liable, and gathering information and documents can be challenging. Your attorney will work with you to identify the companies and manufacturers responsible. It can be challenging given that many asbestos victims do not know they were exposed until many years later, often decades after. The investigation stage can take several weeks or months to complete.
Issue a Demand
Typically before initiating a lawsuit, you will send a demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company outlining your injuries and the amount you believe you are entitled to for your damages. If you can negotiate a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, you may be able to avoid filing a lawsuit altogether.
Initiate the Lawsuit
If you are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The defendants must file a response, typically within 30 days of when you file your complaint.
The discovery process is one of the most time-consuming stages of a lawsuit. Both sides gather information and compile documents they believe will help their claim. Both sides have the right to request certain information. It can take time to locate, collect, and exchange all necessary information and evidence. Often experts are needed to link your condition to your asbestos exposure.
Settlement vs. Trial
Many mesothelioma claims settle outside of court. However, that does not mean yours should or has to. Settlement discussions occur in almost every case, but whether the two parties can agree is the question. During this time, you and your lawyer will discuss the strength and weaknesses of your case. If you settle, your lawsuit will be concluded sooner than if you proceed to trial, and you should receive your compensation within a few weeks to a few months.
If you proceed to trial, your case will continue for several months. It can take time, mainly because of packed court calendars. Once the trial begins, it may last just a few days or weeks, largely dependent on the case’s complexity.
If you are successful at trial, and the jury rules in your favor, it can frustratingly still take quite some time until you see any money. If the defendant appeals the award, it may drag the case on for months or years.
If you are the victim of asbestos mishandling and negligence, you should seek the advice of qualified counsel immediately. Because the mesothelioma lawsuit statute of limitations directly depends on your jurisdiction, initiating the process sooner rather than later is imperative. At Flint Cooper, we are unafraid to bring your case to trial and fight for the compensation you deserve. With over $2 billion recovered for our asbestos clients, we have the experience, knowledge, and resources necessary to win your case.
About the author:
Ethan is a founder and managing partner of Flint Cooper, a law firm specializing in complex litigation. Ethan has extensive experience in personal injury cases, representing clients injured by asbestos, defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and leads the firm’s government takings practice.