How Long Do I Have To File A Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

A statute of limitations is the amount of time that someone has to file a lawsuit. These legal deadlines are set by each state and can vary based on the type of claim.

Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Litigation and Mesothelioma Claims

The statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims depend on where the lawsuit is filed and whether it is a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim.

For personal injury claims, the statute of limitations period begins when the patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of diagnosis. In other words, if a patient receives a mesothelioma diagnosis on February 1, 2020, under Georgia law, they have until February 1, 2022 to file their personal injury lawsuit.

For wrongful death claims, the statute of limitations begins on the date of the mesothelioma patient’s death. In Georgia, family members have two years to file a wrongful death claim. Like the example above, if a mesothelioma patient passes away on February 1, 2020, their loved ones have until February 1, 2022 to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia.

The statute of limitations for asbestos litigation can be more complex than other personal injury cases, due to the latency period of asbestos-related diseases. Mesothelioma patients may not show symptoms for 10 to 50 years after their initial exposure. They may also not be able to pinpoint when they were exposed. But this lapse in time does not affect their eligibility to file a claim. Under the Discovery Rule for asbestos claims, the statute of limitations begins when the patient knew, or reasonably should have known, of their injury or illness.

Other Factors Affecting the Statute of Limitations

There are many complexities, extensions, and exceptions that can impact the statute of limitations on an asbestos-related case. Here is a look at just a few of the factors:

  • Where the individual lives currently, where they lived at the time of exposure
  • The location of the manufacturer or company responsible for the exposure
  • When the individual was exposed to asbestos, and how long that exposure lasted
  • When the person received a medical diagnosis of their asbestos-related illness
  • The severity of the illness
  • Whether the person was diagnosed with multiple asbestos-related illnesses

What Happens If You Miss the Statute of Limitations?

Generally, if you do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations deadline, then you have lost your legal right to file the case. You are barred from filing your claim. If you file the lawsuit anyway, the other party will likely ask the court to dismiss the case.

With asbestos litigation, there may be special circumstances that warrant an exception or an extension. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who is familiar with the statute of limitations in your state and the exceptions that may apply to your unique situation.

Have Additional Questions? Contact Zinns Law

Even if you believe you have plenty of time to file your asbestos-related claim, it’s better to get the process started sooner rather than later. Gathering the appropriate evidence and documentation takes time, and it becomes more complicated the longer it has been since your exposure. The sooner a person files a claim, the sooner they and their family can obtain compensation and closure. If you have additional questions about the statute of limitations, or need help filing your claim, please reach out to Zinns Law at (888) 882-9002 or via our online contact form. We would be happy to help.