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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

An Insightful Look into the Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations in Texas

There is no doubt that a mesothelioma diagnosis is enough to turn anyone's world upside down in an instant. Thankfully, asbestos litigation is a well-developed process that, when followed as expected, can lead to victims getting the compensation they deserve to get them and their families through what will no doubt be a trying time.


While mesothelioma patients often have the right to seek compensation, it is not something they can do for an unlimited amount of time. Victims of personal injury cases are advised to file their claims as quickly as possible for many reasons. However, one of the biggest ones is a legal implication known as a statute of limitations.


The idea here is to provide an understanding of the mesothelioma lawsuit statute of limitations and other considerations that victims will need to keep in mind for the best possible outcome.


What Is Mesothelioma?

What Is Mesothelioma?


Mesothelioma is an awful asbestos-related disease, which has fatal implications. Effectively, people who inhale or ingest asbestos fibers are the ones who are likely to contract the condition. The fibers will easily break down into microscopic particles because they are incredibly resistant to heat and fire.


While modern buildings do not necessarily present much of an asbestos risk, this was not always the case. Until the 1970s, asbestos was heavily used in the construction industry. In fact, it was also pretty common in the automotive, shipbuilding, textile, and manufacturing industries too, which means both the workers and people who interacted with the products and services are at risk.


What Are the Types of Statutes of Limitations for Mesothelioma Claims?


It is good to start with an explanation of what a statute of limitations is. You can look at it as the time frame that someone (a victim or plaintiff) has to file a lawsuit for compensation. If it is that the person should wait until this time has passed to file their asbestos claim, then they can end up in a situation where it is no longer possible to get compensation for their ordeal.


Therefore, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer must be contacted in the shortest possible order. Bear in mind that the prescribed period is not universal. Different states will have different statutes of limitations. Of course, the focus here is on the state of Texas. It may be beneficial to contact mesothelioma lawyers in Dallas TX for confirmation.


However, the deadline across the board will typically range from one to six years. On that note, mesothelioma claims can be divided into personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits, which will be covered below and may have different timelines depending on the state.


Personal Injury Lawsuits

The personal injury statute of limitations simply speaks to the deadline that someone has to file their lawsuit after they have received a mesothelioma diagnosis. As indicated before, choosing to speak with a qualified lawyer as soon as possible is the best way to avoid going past the prescribed deadline.


Note that asbestos exposure does not automatically trigger the illness for the person to receive a diagnosis. This is a disease that is characterized by a pretty long latency period. Now, this could raise some concerns as people may start to worry that if their diagnosis happens too long after their exposure, they cannot be compensated.


Thankfully, this is not the case. The clock begins to run from the point of confirmation of the illness. Many persons never develop mesothelioma or any asbestos-related illness even after having been exposed to the microparticles. Bear in mind that once there is no diagnosis, there can be no successful claim.


An experienced lawyer is ready, willing, and able to explain the implications of the statute of limitations and other legal considerations that may be relevant to a situation.


Wrongful Death Lawsuits

There may also be mesothelioma situations that fall under the wrongful death lawsuit umbrella. The statute of limitations here speaks to the time limit that surviving family members have to file their claim after a loved one has passed from mesothelioma.


Once the asbestos patient passes away, loved ones can begin to seek the counsel of an attorney to determine what the best course of action is to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. Wrongful death claims help family members get much-needed compensation, and they are also a way to ensure that companies responsible for the exposure are held accountable.


With the right lawyer in the mix, it becomes straightforward to make sure that the right documents are gathered to help wrongful death cases hold up. Examples include the death certificate and medical records of the deceased person. Additionally, the attorney is allowed to file the suit on behalf of the family members, after which it becomes possible to litigate the case.


It's not hard to imagine that a wrongful death case is very different from one that falls under the personal injury umbrella. Even with wrongful death cases though, choosing to wait to consult an attorney can severely limit the amount of compensation receivable.


What Kinds of Information Affect the Statute of Limitations for a Specific Case?


A mesothelioma claim's applicable statute of limitations is not always straightforward to ascertain. There have been numerous cases of persons finding out that the state they want to file in is not the applicable one.


A few key factors that will affect the statutes of limitations that apply to a given case. This is another reason to ensure that an experienced mesothelioma attorney is contacted since such a person can give the relevant details and help with statute guidance. A case can be affected by:


  1. The claim or lawsuit type - As indicated before, depending on the state, there may be different timelines applicable to personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Additionally, when the clock begins can differ. Consider individual asbestos trusts that have their own filing deadlines.

  2. Place of residence - Where the victim currently lives or where they have lived in the past will also need to be considered.

  3. Jobsite and company locations - There also need to be considerations made for the location of the company that is responsible for the exposure, as well as whatever job sites the victim may have worked at and where they are located.


The Discovery Rule Is Important to a Mesothelioma Claim


This is an important concept as it will set out when the start of the deadline occurs. It was briefly alluded to above as it is simply when the victim finds out that they actually have the disease.


Remember that this is an illness that does not necessarily produce symptoms upon exposure, nor does it even show any signs upon being contracted. Many people will have to wait a very long time to find out if they are afflicted or not.


The existence of this rule can be attributed to the Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation case of 1973, which looked at the effects of exposure to hazardous substances appearing after a long time had passed. This case saw the court dismiss the notion that the time of exposure should be the starting point of the statute of limitations, holding that the effects are not immediately clear.


What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Texas?


With all the explanations of concepts out of the way, now it is time to refocus on the initial question. How long does someone have to file a claim for mesothelioma in Texas?


The timeline is two years in the state, and it just so happens that this timeline applies to both personal injury and wrongful death cases. Remember though that living in Dallas now, for example, does not necessarily mean that Texas is the place to file as it may not be where the exposure occurred.


Is Hiring a Mesothelioma Attorney Mandatory?


No legal precedent outlines that a victim of asbestos exposure must contact a personal injury lawyer to help file a claim. However, for reasons highlighted above and others, it is in the best interest of the exposed party to reach out to a legal professional for assistance. They're also able to explain the construction accident statute of limitations in Texas.


What Can an Asbestos Victim Do if the Asbestos Lawsuit Filing Deadline Has Passed?


Depending on the situation, there may be options such as asbestos trust fund claims. At this point, only an attorney can help to determine what the best course of action is.


Where Should Mesothelioma Claims Be Filed?

Where Should Mesothelioma Claims Be Filed?


An asbestos-related lawsuit could be filed in a series of places depending on where the victim lives, has lived, works, or has worked in the past. Additionally, there's also the consideration of what kind of mesothelioma case is at play.


It may sound like a broken record at this point, but the only way to know this for sure is to start a conversation with an experienced asbestos lawyer.


Schedule a Free Consultation with a Compassionate Dallas Mesothelioma Lawyer Today!


Mesothelioma can only be described as an awful disease, and asbestos exposure is something no one should ever have to or have had to deal with. If you have received a confirmed diagnosis, do not wait to contact an experienced lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to go to war for you!


Schedule your free consultation today!

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