What is the Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Claims?
Mesothelioma cases are complex, and the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is short. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it's important to act quickly.
You don't want to risk running out of time in pursuing compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.
Did your doctor diagnose you with mesothelioma likely due to asbestos exposure? Are you wondering how long you have to file a mesothelioma personal injury claim?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for individuals who developed mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, or other diseases due to asbestos exposure.
Call a mesothelioma attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to know how much time you have to file a claim. A mesothelioma lawyer can help explain the statute of limitations for your case and what steps you need to take next.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for malignant pleural mesothelioma, so many patients are forced to wait until their condition worsens before seeking legal assistance.
In addition, some people choose not to pursue a lawsuit at all because they don't want to deal with the stress or worry about money while dealing with cancer treatment or recovery.
What Is Mesothelioma?
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), mesothelioma is rare cancer typically developing in the pleura (outer lining of the lung). However, it can also occur in the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen and chest cavity).
The term was coined by pathologist Charles Fletcher in 1925, describing the presentation of a male patient dying nearly four years after being exposed to asbestos while working in a shipyard.
Mesothelioma is primarily attributed to asbestos exposure, although other causative agents have been linked. These include erionite, talc, beryllium, and antimony.
The beginning sign of mesothelioma is too often painful coughing. The intense coughing often leads patients to believe they have some pneumonia, but that's not the case at all. Their only mistake is that they let this symptom continue for far too long before seeing a doctor.
Once diagnosed with cancer, their chances of survival are very slim. The average mesothelioma patient can expect to live between 12 and 18 months after being diagnosed.
At the moment, there is no cure for this illness. Surgery may be performed to attempt removal of the affected tissue, but it's rarely possible because tumors are far too deep within the body.
Chemotherapy has shown very little success in treating this form of cancer because most chemotherapeutic drugs cannot pass through the cellular membrane. Radiation is also an option, but it has several side effects, so patients normally only opt for radiation when all other options have been exhausted.
There are three types of mesothelioma: epithelial, sarcomatoid, and mixed mesotheliomas:
- Epithelial mesothelioma involves the epithelial cells that cover the outer surface of most internal organs. This type accounts for 90% of all mesotheliomas and can find tumors within the chest cavity.
- Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma involves the sarcoma cells usually found in bone, cartilage, or other connective tissues. This type makes up about 5 to 10% of mesotheliomas and is the most aggressive.
- Mixed mesotheliomas combine both epithelial and sarcomatoid, each accounting for roughly 3% of all cases.
In recent years, the amount of mesothelioma patients has significantly increased. As a result, life expectancy is now reduced to just two years. Fortunately, asbestos is no longer being used as a building material, and it's been banned from several countries.
Due to the long latency period between initial exposure and diagnosis, there are more mesothelioma cases than ever before.
The mining industry has been banned from several countries nationwide as a result of increasing rates of mesothelioma. In addition, there have been hundreds of multimillion-dollar lawsuits filed against companies that were found guilty of exposing individuals to asbestos.
According to the National Institute of Health, many mesothelioma patients experience severe symptoms associated with the disease that typically develop years after the initial exposure.
Some symptoms include:
- Coughing for long periods
- Breathing problems
- Weight loss
- Chest pains
- Digestive issues
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Difficulty swallowing
- Low blood pressure
Getting a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Diagnosis is made after several X-rays and CT scans are performed on the patient. A biopsy may also be taken to determine whether the tumor cells are likely to metastasize (spread) within the body.
The doctor will perform a comprehensive medical examination and take a family/individual history to determine if any minimal or extensive asbestos exposure has ever been.
Verifying a mesothelioma diagnosis typically includes an examination of the pleura, which is the lining that protects the lungs. The doctor will remove a small amount of fluid from the affected area and analyze it for signs of cancerous cells.
Treatment Options Available
The only mesothelioma treatment options available are palliative care measures, which means that they're used to improve the quality of life for patients rather than cure them.
There are three common types of palliative care:
- 1% - Intermittent chemotherapy to relieve symptoms or reduce side effects of other treatments.
- 20% - Pain relief measures (such as medication)
- 50% - Treat the disease with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy
Treatment Protocols involve:
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are the most common form of treatment for this form of cancer. However, success is limited because tumors are deep within the body and chemotherapy drugs fail to penetrate cell walls.
According to a new study, mesothelioma may be caused by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. ROS are unstable molecules that can cause damage to cell structures and DNA.
Excessive ROS results in oxidative stress, which, if uncontrolled, leads to chronic inflammation and cancer development. This study found that treatment with antioxidants increased the average lifespan of patients from 12 – 18 months to 30 – 36 months.
Some doctors recommend radiation to minimize tumor growth associated with the asbestos-related disease. However, the side effects of radiation are very similar to chemotherapy, including nausea, fatigue, risk of secondary cancers, and infertility in men.
There have been several clinical trials performed at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to find more effective treatments for mesothelioma. However, no well-accepted alternative therapies currently exist.
Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations
By law, the statute of limitations is different in every state. For example, in Illinois, the mesothelioma statute of limitations restricts the amount of time any injured victim can file a suit to recover compensation for their injuries.
In Illinois, injured parties can file a civil lawsuit for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases within two years from discovering they have been injured and knows who is at fault.
This time restriction means you have to file before your time has expired. However, the period does not stop while you make your claim against the insurance company or the liable party behind your asbestos exposure, so you must file as soon as possible after being diagnosed.
Failure to file within two years of discovering an illness may limit your ability to receive compensation for injuries caused by asbestos exposure.
Why Are Statutes of Limitations Important?
Statutes of limitations are implemented to avoid cases where someone could destroy evidence, witnesses die, or memories fade. Thus, it becomes increasingly difficult for the plaintiff to prove their case in court as time passes.
Laws that set out specific time frames for filing lawsuits are often controversial because they are based on the fairness of each case. However, most people agree that these laws help prevent disputes from clogging up the judicial system.
Why Are These Rules Important for Mesothelioma Cases?
Statutes limit how long you have to file a claim after injury or illness. However, this time varies by state and is dependent on the injury or illness affecting your health.
Many states have added stricter time limitations for filing claims in special cases, such as mesothelioma lawsuits.
For example, the District of Columbia imposes a 3-year statute of limitations. However, specific rules let an injured party file suit after the deadline has expired to demonstrate sufficient evidence to prove their case.
However, these rules only apply to lawsuits involving individuals who were harmed by asbestos exposure. Corporations are exempt from some of these requirements.
Types of Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Claims
The statute of limitations for an asbestos claim differs from the standard statute of limitations because many companies at fault often go bankrupt or become insolvent.
As a result, there are special rules to allow victims to file claims even if the liable company goes out of business. The two-year statute does not start until you know who owns the company responsible for exposing employees to asbestos.
However, current assets could be at risk during bankruptcy proceedings after you have filed against a liable party or insurance company. In this case, the time frame to file a lawsuit begins ticking as soon as any insurance policies are lost to bankruptcy proceedings.
When filing claims against a bankrupt corporation, it is important to understand the rules and regulations of each state.
Illinois Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Claims
In Illinois, victims can file claims for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. However, the statute of limitations in Illinois requires that the claim be brought within two years from when the injured victim discovers they have been injured and knows who is at fault.
This time restriction means you have to file before your time has expired. However, the law could extend the two years if the liable defendant has declared bankruptcy.
In this case, it may take up to six months after the insurance company does not offer any more coverage during the bankruptcy proceedings to commence an action against the defendant.
However, suppose you file while there are still assets leftover in the insurance company's name. In that case, there is a risk that your compensation claim will be limited or even denied after bankruptcy proceedings have ended.
Factors Affecting the Mesothelioma Statute of Limitation
In many cases, the mesothelioma victim has additional time to file a civil lawsuit against those responsible for their mesothelioma, even passing the statute of limitations. The law allows for this because it is often difficult to determine who exposes you to asbestos.
Many times, the individual becomes ill before finding out what companies are at fault. However, factors always affect the time left in your legal right to file a claim.
For example, if an attorney or doctor misrepresents the severity of your illness, your case could be thrown out. Unfortunately, certain doctors or lawyers often misrepresent the value of mesothelioma claims by offering seemingly high-value lawsuits in return for a percentage of the final award.
An attorney who does not thoroughly review your medical records before bringing you to court may also leave you with an injury claim that the court does not approve.
When dealing with mesothelioma claims, it is important to understand all of your rights before you sign an agreement with an attorney or accept any settlement offers.
Do I Have Compensation Options If the Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations Expired?
The injured party may have additional legal options if the statute of limitations for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit has already expired. In some cases, a competent attorney specializing in asbestos-related Mesothelioma claims can file an appeal to the court.
The statute of limitations for filing appeals is one year or less in most states, allowing victims with expired statutes additional time to file their claims.
Another avenue for compensation after the statute of limitations expires is looking into the state's wrongful death law that protects spouses and next-of-kin who may be entitled to compensation for surviving family members.
Defending Against Claims of Expired Statute of Limitations
The defendant in the case may use the expired statute of limitations to their advantage, arguing that the time frame to file a lawsuit has passed because there is no evidence showing they are negligent.
When faced with these arguments, an experienced attorney can demonstrate with evidence that the defendant is negligent.
For example, an attorney might argue that the defendant knew the harmful effects of asbestos exposure by hiding hazardous information about their products. This argument can also be made if you contact a company after your asbestos exposure.
It's important to talk with an experienced Mesothelioma lawyer before filing your claim, allowing you to learn about all of the legal options available to you under Mesothelioma Cancer Statute laws.
When looking for a mesothelioma lawyer, make sure they are familiar with filing appeals after the statute of limitations has expired. Also, ask if any other benefits may be available to you regardless of the statute of limitations.
Damages might involve:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Hospital bills
- Medical costs
- Lost wage and future lost earnings
- Loss of consortium and companionship for spouses
- The decedent's pain and suffering before passing
- The family's pain, suffering, and after losing a loved one
If the defendant is an individual, you might also be entitled to punitive damages if their actions that led to exposure to asbestos and toxic substances were egregious.
Wrongful Death Claims
Surviving family members who lost a loved one from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease have the legal right to seek financial compensation from all parties involved.
These damages can include workers' compensation insurance companies, asbestos manufacturers, and even the building owners where you worked.
Although the time frame differs, the mesothelioma statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is generally two years or less in most states. An experienced Mesothelioma injury lawyer can help surviving family members file personal injury lawsuits within this timeframe.
Wrongful death statutes of limitations restrict the deadline for filing a wrongful death claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Why Retaining a Mesothelioma Lawyer Makes Sense?
The most important factor in your case is the ability to build a strong argument for compensation regardless of when you become ill.
In most cases, an experienced asbestos lawyer can show that a company failed to protect employees from dangerous asbestos exposure or hid information about its products' harmful effects, so this may prevent you from filing a claim.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our experienced mesothelioma lawyers challenge defendants or their insurance companies trying to use the statutes of limitations to avoid paying fair compensation for your mesothelioma.
We can also determine if filing an appeal is appropriate in your case and find all other forms of compensation available to you. We represent clients/victims across the nation and will come to you. We are happy to answer any questions so contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma
Our law firm understands that many families have unanswered questions about dealing directly with insurance companies and corporations when seeking mesothelioma compensation. A mesothelioma law firm specializing in wrongful death claims has answered some of those questions below.
For additional information, call our law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to discuss filing an asbestos claim.
Which Factors Affect the Mesothelioma Statute?
The governing laws for your state, the severity of your illness, and other factors can affect how much time you have to file a claim.
Most states have their deadlines, which are known as statutes of limitations. Generally, these are two years or less in most cases, but this depends on the circumstances surrounding your situation.
A mesothelioma attorney experienced in these cases knows how to look at your circumstances and determine if filing an appeal is appropriate. There are many benefits available regardless of the statute, including compensation for pain and suffering.
Our law firm can help you file a claim within this timeframe regardless of when you become ill, but it's important to contact us today.
How Do I File a Mesothelioma Claim?
The first step is to contact a qualified Mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible. Each state has its laws and filing deadlines, so contacting a personal injury attorney experienced in these cases is very important.
A qualified asbestos disease lawyer can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve.
How Does the Statute of Limitations Affect My Current Situation?
There is no specific answer to this question because each case is unique. In addition, many factors can affect your case, including:
- If you feel like your illness was caused by exposure to asbestos,
- If you thought you were experiencing a deep pneumonia cough but were diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma or lung cancer,
- If you or your loved one worked with asbestos products in the past
Statute of limitations for filing mesothelioma claims are generally two years or less in most states. However, the time frame differs from state to state. An experienced Mesothelioma attorney can help you file your claim within this timeframe.
Can I Sue for Exposure to Asbestos After Five Years If I Was Recently Diagnosed With Mesothelioma?
If you wait five years to file a claim, the statute may be up in most states. You should consult with an experienced mesothelioma attorney who can determine if filing for compensation is still possible, even if it's past the statute of limitations.
How Does My Age Affect My Mesothelioma Case?
It doesn't have to have a negative effect, but it may delay the process. Even if you're under 18 and file your claim in time, it can take six months or even longer for everything to be resolved in court.
A mesothelioma attorney experienced in personal injury claims can interpret mesothelioma statutes and work around issues like your age to get you the compensation you deserve.
Are There Benefits for Filing Early? How Does This Affect My Claim?
There are many benefits to filing a personal injury claim as soon as possible. Still, the most important one is getting help sooner rather than later before the statute of limitations expires.
Mesothelioma can be a very time-sensitive illness. However, a qualified mesothelioma attorney specializing in personal injury claims can get the compensation you deserve.
File Your Personal Injury Claim with a Mesothelioma Lawyer Specializing in Asbestos Exposure Claims
Our personal injury law firm specializes in injury cases to ensure that our clients receive maximum compensation for their damages. In addition to seeking compensatory damages, we also seek punitive financial compensation in egregious cases.
Have you recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma? Are you seeking compensation for yourself or your surviving family members once you are gone? Call our legal team at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.
Our law firm accepts every personal injury case and wrongful death lawsuit on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you pay nothing into your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.