Mesothelioma is a strange form of cancer. What makes it most unusual is that it has a long latency period before it shows up in the victim’s body. Except in very rare cases, as with extreme exposure during the 9-11 tragedies, the disease generally takes about 20 to 50 years to appear, often catching the victim off-guard and no doubt causing much upset.
While treating the disease is the most important first step after the diagnosis, victims of asbestos-caused cancer should also take some time to think about garnering compensation from those responsible for their disease…before it’s too late.
Every state has statute of limitations laws or deadlines that dictate when an asbestos case must be filed in conjunction with a patient’s diagnosis. These laws are strictly adhered to and missing these deadlines may mean totally missing an opportunity to receive financial help with the enormous expenses connected to a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Other similar rules pertain to when a family can file a wrongful death suit when the death is connected to asbestos exposure.
In which state(s) the case is filed has to do with a variety of factors.
• What is your state of residence?
• In what state(s) were you exposed to asbestos?
• In what state(s) are the companies responsible for your exposure located?
An experienced mesothelioma attorney should be familiar with the laws in the states in which he/she practices but should also familiarize himself with the statute of limitation laws nationally. While many are the same, some do vary. For example, in West Virginia, victims must file within two years of diagnosis and the victim’s family has two years following his/her passing to file a wrongful death suit.
Some states, like Maine and North Dakota, give claimants much longer – six years – to file after diagnosis but still only two years for a wrongful death suit.
Because mesothelioma is difficult to treat and the prognosis for many patients is grim, filing suit sooner rather than later provides the best opportunity for success and allows the patient to be present for the negotiations or trial. In some courts, cases that involve terminally ill patients may be given special consideration, but that is the exception rather than the rule.
A good mesothelioma attorney can work on your lawsuit while you are working hard at other important tasks, like treatments or spending time with your family. Putting your case in the hands of a lawyer who specializes in asbestos exposure cases means there is potential for processes to move more quickly, simply because he/she knows the ins and outs of such suits.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma and are considering filing suit, take just a few moments to consult with an attorney that can provide you and your family with the competent service you need at this difficult time in your life.