For a successful asbestos lawsuit, you must meet certain legal requirements, such as exposure to asbestos and/or asbestos-containing products and have an asbestos-related disease. But even if all legal requirements are met, you must still file the lawsuit within a certain amount of time or it will be barred. This is called a statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations were created so that plaintiffs do not "sit on their hands" and do nothing and instead prosecute known claims while evidence is hopefully reasonably available. (Black’s Law Dictionary 1422 (7thed.1999))
Statutes of limitations have historically been calculated from the last date of the defendant's wrongful conduct. However, most states have recognized that it can take decades for an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or asbestosis to manifest and have modified traditional statutes of limitations to take into account this lapse of time for asbestos-related lawsuits. While each state has its own statute of limitations, a majority of states, including California and Washington, calculate the statute of limitations from the date the plaintiff knew or should have known that he/she had an asbestos-related disease caused or contributed to by exposure to asbestos and/or asbestos products.
As statute of limitations vary from state to state and can be more complex with regards to asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits, hiring an attorney who specializes in asbestos law is crucial. The defendants' first line of defense, if appropriate, will be to argue that the lawsuit falls outside the statute of limitations. When possible, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will ensure your asbestos lawsuit is filed in the appropriate state where the statute of limitations has not run.
Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason have been exclusively handling asbestos lawsuits for more than 30 years, winning significant awards for those diagnosed with mesothelioma (asbestos cancer), asbestosis or other asbestos related diseases. Call today to speak directly with one of our attorneys and to receive a free case evaluation: 1-800-440-4262