Mesothelioma Information and Facts

Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits: What to Expect

If you've been exposed to asbestos and been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may ask, "If I file a lawsuit can I expect to recover significant money damages?" The answer is usually "yes." People who discover they are suffering from mesothelioma due to working with asbestos (or, if they are deceased, their spouse) have an excellent chance of achieving substantial money damages, either from the company that manufactured or installed the asbestos, or from an insurance company or asbestos victims' trust fund that has assumed liability for the company. And this is true even if the original manufacturer has long since sold out, closed down, or even gone bankrupt, thanks to the formation of asbestos victims' trust funds. (For more information on employees' rights when it comes to asbestos exposure on the job, see Nolo's article Asbestos in the Workplace.)

How Long Do I Have to Sue?

Mesothelioma tends to develop 10 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos. State laws called statutes of limitations usually give people one to five years (depending on the state) from the diagnosis or discovery of mesothelioma to file a lawsuit. But it's important to act promptly, because in a few states, including California, Tennessee, and Louisiana, the statue of limitations is only one year from diagnosis. (Check out Nolo's chart Statutes of Limitations in All 50 States.)

If a mesothelioma victim has already died, his or her spouse and other heirs typically have one to three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death action, which can also result in the recovery of substantial money damages.

Mesothelioma victims can't file or join in class actions lawsuits because each person's medical history and prognosis is different, so mesothelioma cases must be filed individually.


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