If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos cancer, an asbestos-related lawsuit must be filed within a certain time. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations. Defendants you are suing against will always first look to see whether the statute of limitations has expired. Your asbestos-related lawsuit may be barred if the statute of limitations has expired relative to your situation. Each state has its own statute of limitations deadline.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is set as two years from the date the asbestos-related disease is discovered. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5524(2). Pennsylvania follows the “separate disease” rule, so a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit for each separate disease caused by exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing products. Abrams v. Pneumo Abex Corp. (2009) 602 Pa. 627. This is important since a plaintiff may be diagnosed with lung cancer or asbestosis and then years later also be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Abrams allows that plaintiff to bring one lawsuit for the first asbestos-related disease and then another lawsuit for the second asbestos-related disease regardless of how many years later that second disease manifests.
If the individual diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease passes away due to that asbestos-related disease, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5524(2). Although a majority of states require a showing that the plaintiff knew or should have known a particular defendant’s identity for the statute of limitations to run as to that defendant, it does not appear that Pennsylvania follows this rule.
Because the statute of limitations is relatively short, it is strongly urged that a person diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease (or an heir if that person has passed away) contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine if an asbestos-related lawsuit is appropriate. Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in jury awards and settlements for our clients. We have successfully brought asbestos-related lawsuits for more than 30 years. To obtain a free case evaluation, please contact the lawyers at Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason.