11 Min Read
Last Updated: 05/22/2024
Fact Checked

Written by Daniel Wasserberg | Edited By Walter Pacheco

What Is a Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations?

A mesothelioma statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time someone can file an asbestos lawsuit. The time limit to file a lawsuit varies in each state and with each type of claim. Understanding the statute of limitations is crucial for those seeking to file a claim for asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

Most statutes of limitations for mesothelioma claims are 1 to 3 years. If you fail to file within that time, you may still be able to file a claim in a different state with a more extended limitation period. 

A mesothelioma or asbestos statute of limitations is a prescribed time to file a lawsuit. It’s usually between 1 and 4 years. It’s typically dictated by the state. It starts to run from the time you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Most states have an asbestos statute of limitations of 2 years. Roughly 33% of states provide 3 years to file wrongful death claims. Some states allow 4 or more years to file a personal injury claim. Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota offer 6 years to file personal injury lawsuits.

People may not be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit if they wait until the statute of limitations period has lapsed, although there are some exceptions an experienced lawyer can guide clients through. It’s important to consult a qualified mesothelioma attorney as early as possible after a mesothelioma diagnosis to begin the legal process.

Is My Mesothelioma Claim Within the Statute of Limitations?

Several dozen different factors can affect the statute of limitations for your individual case. The statute of limitations applies to personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits and trust fund claims. However, the timeframes may vary for each of these types of legal action.

While historically mesothelioma class-action lawsuits were common, today they’re rarely part of asbestos litigation. Statutes of limitations apply to these actions as well.

Statutes of Limitations Per Case Type
  • Class action lawsuit: While varying in each state, the statute of limitations is usually between 1 and 3 years after diagnosis.
  • Personal injury lawsuit: The statute of limitations begins on the day you receive a confirmed diagnosis after an initial biopsy.
  • Trust fund claim: Each trust fund sets individual time limits for filing a claim.
  • Wrongful death lawsuit: The statute of limitations begins from the day of a patient’s death.

In some exceptional cases, the severity of your diagnosis can determine whether you’re eligible for an extension. A qualified mesothelioma attorney can tell you whether your claim is within the statute of limitation or if an extension may apply to your case. They can review your work history, trace where your asbestos exposure occurred and explain all your options for compensation.

Why Begin the Mesothelioma Lawsuit Process Early?

The sooner you file, the faster you and your family can get compensation. An asbestos settlement or jury trial verdict could cover treatment costs and other expenses. 

“It’s not just a matter of the statute of limitations,” Samuel Meirowitz, partner at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, told The Mesothelioma Center. “It’s also a matter of where the timing of filing your case puts you in line to get your case heard faster.”

Starting the process sooner rather than later affords you and your legal team time to gather evidence. Collecting proof of exposure for a successful mesothelioma claim can become more challenging as time passes.

There are many complexities, exceptions and extensions to mesothelioma statutes of limitations. To understand your options, it’s best to speak with a mesothelioma law firm specializing in this unique area of law.

33%

of those who contact us for legal assistance are already beyond their statute of limitation. Speaking with a lawyer now can help guarantee compensation.

Which State Should I File My Mesothelioma Lawsuit In?

Depending on where your exposure occurred, the location of the companies responsible and where you have lived in the past, the state you file in could be different than where you live. An experienced asbestos law firm can help determine which state laws apply to your case. You may have the right to file several claims under different statutes of limitations.

Factors Affecting Where to File Mesothelioma Claims
  • Where asbestos exposure happened: The state where the exposure occurred might be the best place to file.
  • Where companies are located: Sometimes, the best place to file your claim is the state where the asbestos product manufacturer responsible for your exposure is located.
  • Where you live: You may be eligible to file in your current state or another state where you’ve lived.

Veterans exposed to asbestos on a naval vessel, at a shipyard or while deployed overseas may have many questions about where to file a mesothelioma claim. A mesothelioma lawyer with experience working with veterans knows where you should file your claim to receive the most compensation.

What Are My Options if the Statute of Limitations Passed?

If an experienced attorney confirms the statute of limitations that applies to your case has expired, you may still have other options for receiving asbestos exposure compensation. Options include claims with the VA, disability insurance and health insurance.

If the statute of limitations runs out in one state, there may be opportunities to file in another state. An attorney helps with that.

Because statutes of limitations vary in each state, you may not know what applies to your case. The best recommendation is to find a qualified asbestos attorney to advise you on the best action plan for you.

A mesothelioma lawyer can provide more information about your options and determine if you qualify for an exception or an extension. For example, in 2020, the Supreme Court of Ohio made exceptions to statutes of limitations because of COVID-19.

Common Questions About the Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Claims

What does a statute of limitations mean?

A statute of limitations is the judicial time limit you have to file your case before you can’t file it anymore. That period can vary depending on what state you live in. Once that time limit expires, you can no longer file a case.

Answered By: Jim Kramer, Mesothelioma Attorney, Simmons Hanly Conroy Law Firm

When does the statute of limitations start on an asbestos case?

The prescribed period of time you have to file a lawsuit is usually between 1 to 4 years. The state typically dictates this timeframe and for mesothelioma it starts to run from the time you’re diagnosed.

Answered By: Joe Lahav, Esq. – Lawyer and Legal Advisor

Can a claim be filed in another state if the statute of limitations has expired?

If the claimant worked in several states during the time of their asbestos exposure, they might be eligible to file a claim in another state. Hiring a mesothelioma lawyer will help you file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations applicable to your claim expires.

What are the statutes of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in each state?

Statutes can vary significantly from state to state, underscoring the importance of speaking with a mesothelioma law firm. While most states’ statute of limitations is 2 to 4 years from diagnosis for personal injury lawsuits, the limits for Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota are 6 years.

  • Alabama: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Alaska: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Arizona: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Arkansas: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • California: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Colorado: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Connecticut: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Delaware: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Florida: personal injury is 4 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Georgia: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Hawaii: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Idaho: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Illinois: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Indiana: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Iowa: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Kansas: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Kentucky: personal injury is 1 year from diagnosis; wrongful death is 1 year from death
  • Louisiana: personal injury is 1 year from diagnosis; wrongful death is 1 year from death
  • Maine: personal injury is 6 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Maryland: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Massachusetts: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Michigan: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Minnesota: personal injury is 6 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Mississippi: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Missouri: personal injury is 5 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Montana: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Nebraska: personal injury is 4 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Nevada: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • New Hampshire: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • New Jersey: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • New Mexico: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • New York: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • North Carolina: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • North Dakota: personal injury is 6 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Ohio: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Oklahoma: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Oregon: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Pennsylvania: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Rhode Island: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • South Carolina: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • South Dakota: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Tennessee: personal injury is 1 year from diagnosis; wrongful death is 1 year from death
  • Texas: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Utah: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Vermont: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Virginia: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Washington: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Washington, D.C.: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • West Virginia: personal injury is 2 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death
  • Wisconsin: personal injury is 3 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 3 years from death
  • Wyoming: personal injury is 4 years from diagnosis; wrongful death is 2 years from death

Many states have the same statute for personal injury and wrongful death cases. But 11 states and Washington, D.C. have different limits for each type of lawsuit.

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