What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing an Asbestos Claim?
In legal terms, by the statute of limitations, we refer to the specific amount of time up to which you can bring an asbestos claim. If you are about to start a legal action for asbestos exposure, here is what you need to know about the statute of limitations.
Why Is It Important to Be Aware Of The Timeframe?People who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease should definitely consider filing a claim, especially if they are aware of the time and place where the exposure occurred. A successful claim will help victims recover the money that can cover medical expenses or ensure financial security for their family. Nonetheless, this is impossible once the statute of limitations is overdue. So, make sure you are well aware of the timeline that applies in your case. Working with a lawyer who has experience in asbestos claims is the best way to ensure you're up-to-date and have high chances of reaching a favorable outcome.
When Does the Statute Of Limitation For Asbestos Claims Begin?Asbestos-related diseases require a specific approach. These conditions are hard to diagnose because they are characterized by a long latency period. In other words, there is a long interval between the initial exposure and the moment when the effects start to show. Unlike other personal injury claims, these cases cannot be brought directly after the damage has been caused. So, the legal system had to find a solution to allow these victims to sue and they came up with what is called the 'discovery rule.' This enables victims to bring their claim once the exposure's impact starts to show. Consequently, the diagnosis date is the day when the statute of limitation begins.
There is also the possibility to bring an asbestos claim on behalf of the victim that passed away. Family members are entitled to take this action, and in these circumstances, the statute of limitations begins from the date of death.
How Are the Statutes of Limitations Classified?The statutes of limitations are classified according to the circumstances under which the claim is being brought, more precisely, the person who is filing. As mentioned before, asbestos exposure victims can file a claim for the damage brought to them, or a family member can do the same after the victim passed away.
Thus, we have two types of statutes of limitations, for personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.
The first reference claims brought by the person in question. Once you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it's recommended to act fast. You might have sufficient time to file, but gathering the necessary paperwork is also time-consuming, so it's better to be prompt. The more you wait after the diagnosis time, the closer you get to the deadline. If the statute expires, you can lose your chance to bring your case. Contact an experienced lawyer right after you have received your diagnosis. He or she will be able to guide you and file your claim in due time. Moreover, there are law firms that charge based on contingency which means you don't have to take money out of your pocket; they only get paid if your claim is successful, once you start recovering money.
If a person passed away due to an asbestos disease and the family decides to file, what we deal with is a wrongful death claim. In this case, the countdown starts with the date of death, so it's equally important to act soon and be aware of the statute of limitations that applies to your case.
Often, the time limit in wrongful death cases is the same as in personal injury claims. Filing on behalf of a lost relative can be fairly challenging. There are different documents like employment and medical proofs you have to gather from various locations, and this process can be lengthy. A legal representative can steer you in the right direction efficiently and keep track of the documentation you have to submit.
Are There Different Statutes of Limitations in Our Country?The most important thing you have to know about statutes of limitations is that they vary from state to state. So, if you want to bring a claim, you have to be aware of the prescribed period that applies to the state where you want to file. The state's choice depends on a series of factors like the claimant's residence, the exposure site and the place where the company that is being sued is located.
The statutes of limitations that allow victims to file a personal injury claim vary from 1 to 4 years in the US. Most states allow you to bring your case within 2 or 3 years from the diagnosis.
For wrongful death claims, the period is 2 or 3 years from the date of death. In few states like California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C, the statute of limitations for this type of claim is only one year.
How Soon Can I Bring My Claim?Anyone who believes they suffer from an asbestos-related illness can initiate a legal action against a company provided that they've been diagnosed. This is the first, and foremost requirement victims must meet. Without a diagnosis, you cannot bring a claim. In wrongful death cases, it's also essential to be able to prove that asbestos triggered the victim's condition that led to death. Once the medical proofs can be brought forward, you are entitled to start a legal action.
There are cases when people with severe conditions and terminal illnesses can benefit from an expedited process. In other cases, more claims against the same company can be filed together as a cluster.
The statute of limitations is one of the most important legal requirement you must be aware of if you want to file a claim for asbestos exposure. Your lawyer can take care of the legal proceedings, and do the actual filing on your behalf, but it's essential not to let the statute run out.