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What Is the Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations?

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on May 15, 2020

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that comes from exposure to asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral with carcinogenic properties. Mesothelioma can be terminal if malignant, with no known cure. If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, you may be eligible to bring an injury lawsuit against the person or party that exposed you to asbestos. This could be a product manufacturer, employer or property owner. You must meet the statute of limitations, however, to obtain compensation.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

Every state enacts statutes of limitations to set time limits on filing criminal charges and civil claims. These time limits aim to expedite the legal process and keep it just for everyone involved. A statute of limitations on a personal injury claim, for example, encourages claimants to come forward with their complaints within a reasonable time, while evidence that may serve the defendant’s side of the case still exists. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state.

In New York, the statute of limitations on typical personal injury claims is three years from the date of the accident that caused the injury. A discovery exception gives three years from the date of injury discovery if this is different from the date of the accident. In a claim based on wrongful death, the time limit is two years from the date of death rather than the date of the accident. A case against a government entity has a shorter statute of limitations: only 90 days from the date of the accident in New York.

It is important to know your statute of limitations when bringing an injury claim in New York. Missing your deadline can mean the loss of any compensation you otherwise might have won. The courts are strict with statutes of limitations, with only rare exceptions to the general rule. If you were under 18 at the time of the injury, for example, you have three years from the date you turn 18. Civil cases involving criminal charges against the defendant may also toll the deadline until the completion of the criminal case. Act quickly to meet the deadline for your particular case. The deadline is different for mesothelioma patients.

Statute of Limitations for Mesothelioma Claims

New York’s three-year statute of limitations does not apply the same way to mesothelioma claims. The unique nature of mesothelioma means the majority of patients will not realize they have the disease until 10 years or longer after asbestos exposure. The three-year statute would not be fair, therefore, if based on the date of initial exposure to asbestos. Instead, New York moves the statute of limitations to three years after the date of mesothelioma diagnosis.

It does not matter how much time has passed since the date of asbestos exposure. Even if a doctor diagnosed you with mesothelioma 30 years after initial exposure, you could still have grounds to file a lawsuit against a responsible party. Under New York law, you have three years from the date of your diagnosis to bring a personal injury lawsuit, regardless of the date of the act of negligence. If you are filing on behalf of a loved one who died from mesothelioma, you have two years from the date of death to seek justice.

Get a Lawyer’s Help With a Mesothelioma Case

It can be difficult to obtain evidence and build a case based on events that may have happened decades ago. It is important, however, if you wish to receive compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses. Work with a New York mesothelioma lawyer for assistance with your claim. An attorney will have the experience and knowledge to help you gather any available evidence and build a claim against one or more defendants. Your lawyer can also ensure you meet New York’s statute of limitations on mesothelioma claims.

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