Each state has its own laws when it comes to how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Asbestos lawsuits are a kind of personal injury suit and typically will follow the same statute of limitations as other personal injury suits in your state. In Washington, the rule of thumb is three years but this can play out in more complicated ways when it comes to mesothelioma claims.
Diagnosis and Statute of Limitations
Washington law states that you have three years from the time you are diagnosed with an occupational illness to file your claim. However, it is more complex with asbestos-induced illnesses because you may not initially know that your sickness was caused by the toxic substance. Your doctor’s initial focus will be diagnosing your illness and beginning treatment rather than figuring out what caused it. Because of this, there may be a lag between when you were diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma and when you are told that it was likely caused by asbestos. For this reason, the statute will start tolling as soon as you know your illness was caused by asbestos.
Wrongful Death and Statute of Limitations
If it is not you that is ill, but your spouse, parent or other loved one and they have lost their struggle with their illness caused by asbestos, you will have three years from the date they lost their life to file a wrongful death claim against those responsible. If the diagnosis of asbestos involvement in the illness was not realized until after their death, this may complicate the process and may extend the date to when the statute of limitations begins tolling.
Statute of Limitations Shouldn’t Be Pressed
The statute of limitations is the legal limit to when you can file a claim, but should not be pressed. As soon as possible after you know that your illness (or that of your loved one) was caused by asbestos, you should contact a reputable law firm that specializes in mesothelioma and asbestos claims. It is important to know that your attorney will take on the bulk of the responsibility when it comes to making the asbestos claim. You will need to answer some questions and provide access to your medical records.
Contact Bergman Draper Oslund for Help
At Bergman Draper Oslund, or practice is focused solely on helping mesothelioma victims and we have won more than $700 million in settlements for our clients. We understand that your time is precious and we will take care of the legal issues while you focus on your health and your family.
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