If you or someone you know has developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos, or asbestosis or an asbestos related cancer, you can file a lawsuit to help recover medical costs, lost wages, and damages. However, when filing an asbestos-related lawsuit, it is important to act quickly for each state has a certain time limit to file from time of diagnosis or time of death. This is called a statute of limitations. Defendants will be able to determine if a statute of limitations may have run and will most certainly bring the issue to the Court’s attention. If the statute of limitations has expired, you or your family may not be able to take any legal action. Each state has its own statute of limitations rules and deadlines.
In Michigan, when an individual is exposed to asbestos or asbestos-containing products and diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, the statute of limitations is set as three years after the cause of action accrues. MCLS § 600.5805 (2010). The cause of action accrues on the date the plaintiff knew or should have known of the asbestos-related disease. Larson v. Johns-Manville Sales Corp. (1986) 427 Mich. 301. Although some states also require that the plaintiff know or should have known that the asbestos-related disease was caused by exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing products, this does not appear to be the case in Michigan.
Even if the individual diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease passes away from that asbestos-related disease, the statute of limitations is still three years from when the decedent knew or should have known that he or she had an asbestos-related disease. Hawkins v. Regional Medical Laboratories, P.C. (1982) 415 Mich. 420. In other words, if the statute of limitations has expired for the individual diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, then even when that person passes away, the heirs cannot maintain a wrongful death lawsuit.
Persons diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease or an heir to a person who passes away from an asbestos-related disease should contact an attorney as soon as possible because of the short statute of limitations to determine if the facts warrant an asbestos or mesothelioma lawsuit. Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason have successfully brought asbestos-related lawsuits for almost three decades. We have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in jury awards and settlements for our clients and their families. For a free case evaluation, please contact the lawyers at Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason.