Generally, you will have two years from the time that you discovered you have mesothelioma to file a lawsuit for damages related to its contraction.
Why Do I Need To Move Quickly On My Mesothelioma Case?
Generally, many clients we work with are not fresh off of their accident or injury. In fact, they are often far from it in terms of time and space. To a certain degree, this makes sense. While lawyers might be litigation-friendly, most people are obviously not. This pattern is especially true with people suffering from mesothelioma. They do not understand that they must move and move quickly to discover who was responsible for the development of their disease. What is the rush? Well, like other states, Illinois maintains an extensive set of statutes of limitations that bar plaintiffs from pursing a lawsuit if it is not pursued within a certain amount of time. Why Illinois adopted these rules, how much times Illinois mesothelioma victims have, and exceptions to these rules follow in the next few sections.
Why Does Illinois Have Statutes Of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations operate as a kind of gatekeeper at the start of cases. They let plaintiffs in and they keep other plaintiffs out. However, they apply equally to criminal cases, in which case they either allow or disallow the state from criminally prosecuting defendants depending upon the appropriate time period. How much time plaintiffs or the state has depends on the circumstances but the general rule is that you are not allowed an infinite time period to obtain compensation or other kinds of recovery for your damages. Just like the state, you can be blocked from filing a mesothelioma lawsuit if it is outside the set amount of years, and they often vary by state. What is the rationale for these laws? Are governments trying to block victims from recovering what they rightfully should? This is a complicated issue because it relates to legitimate governmental goals but also seriously implicates plaintiffs' abilities at trial. The basic idea is one of repose-all people should be free from the costs and anxiety of a lawsuit after some amount of time. How much? That depends on the particular crime or cause of action. Another tangential concern is that courts do not prefer to preside over cases that are brought long after the underlying events occurred. This is the case because in these situations it can be hard to gather evidence, witnesses, or experts; therefore, one side can have a hard time putting on its case only because when the trial commenced. Furthermore, it costs courts more to try older cases for exactly these reasons and they do not like that.
How Much Time Do Mesothelioma Victims Have To Bring A Case?
From the get-go, you should be thinking of statutes of limitations as a ticking clock that, if it reaches zero, spells doom for your case. Here are the two main rules for civil actions in Illinois:
735 ILCS 5/13-202:
""Actions for damages for an injury to the person, or for false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution, or for a statutory penalty, or for abduction, or for seduction, or for criminal conversation that may proceed pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 7.1 of the Criminal Conversation Abolition Act, except damages resulting from first degree murder or the commission of a Class X felony and the perpetrator thereof is convicted of such crime, shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued…"
735 ILCS 5/13-205:
"Actions on unwritten contracts, expressed or implied, or on awards of arbitration, or to recover damages for an injury done to property, real or personal, or to recover the possession of personal property or damages for the detention or conversion thereof, and all civil actions not otherwise provided for, shall be commenced within 5 years next after the cause of action accrued…"
But What Exactly Do These Laws Mean?
If it is not clear from the text of these two statutes, we should review what they mean and how they implicate your mesothelioma lawsuit. Beginning with 735 ILCS 5/13-205, we can see that this has limited connection to a mesothelioma or asbestos case. Very rarely will this disease and its corresponding controversy involve property damage or contract questions. Therefore, even though it has the longer, 5-year term, it is not applicable. What is applicable is 735 ILCS 5/13-202. This tells us that victims of mesothelioma have two years to file their case for personal injuries and the related damages that are associated with that. However, it is a little bit more complicated than that because Illinois maintains "reasonable discovery." This means that the two-year clock does not begin winding down until the plaintiff or the plaintiff's family discovered or should have reasonably discovered the injury as well as the source of the injury. All of these issues of reasonability are judged by the jury on a subjective standard. Unfortunately, Illinois adheres to the minority view that the plaintiff must bring a mesothelioma lawsuit in the two-year window even if they do not know who actually caused the injuries. These laws are incredibly important because often times victims do not know about their injuries for decades. The law does not prevent them from bringing a case in these circumstances but gives them a short period to do so once they realize they have the right to file a claim.
Are There Any Exceptions To Illinois' Statute Of Limitations With Mesothelioma Cases?
Yes. If the person or entity that caused your mesothelioma fraudulently concealed the actions or circumstances around the injury, then you have five years from the time of when you realized or should have realized the concealment. This is radically important because many companies took actions to conceal their involvement in their employees'/customers'/etc exposure to asbestos and other mesothelioma-causing situations.
735 ILCS 5/13-215:
"If a person liable to an action fraudulently conceals the cause of such action from the knowledge of the person entitled thereto, the action may be commenced at any time within 5 years after the person entitled to bring the same discovers that he or she has such cause of action, and not afterwards."
What Are Some Cases Involving Mesothelioma Issues?
McCarter v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 130 Ill. App. 3d 97, 100 (Ill. App. Ct. 1985)
Joyce v. Morgan Stanley & Co., 538 F.3d 797, 803 (7th Cir. 2008)
In re Gaslight Club, Inc., 167 B.R. 507, 518 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 1994)
Del Bianco v. American Motorists Ins. Co., 73 Ill. App. 3d 743, 747 (Ill. App Ct. 1979)
Golla v. Gen. Motors Corp., 167 Ill. 2d 353, 360 (Ill. 1995)
Nolan v. Johns- Manville Asbestos 85 Ill. 2d 161, 171 (1981)
Lambert v. Summit 104 Ill. App. 3d 1034 (1982)
Guebard v. Jabaay 65 Ill. App. 3d 255 (1978)
Want To Know How Much Time You Have Left To Bring A Mesothelioma Case?
Call Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today to figure out how much time you have left to bring a mesothelioma lawsuit. We can even help you bring a case to trial on contingency so that you don't have to worry about one dime until everything is over and you are satisfied. Just contact our offices now and someone from the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC will begin the process of securing your recovery right away.