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Statutes of limitations set deadlines for when mesothelioma patients or their loved ones can file a lawsuit after a diagnosis or death. Deadlines vary based on state, as well as on what type of claim you are going to file.

The two primary types of statutes include personal injury statutes of limitations and wrongful death statutes of limitations. Personal injury applies to mesothelioma patients filing on their own behalf, while wrongful death applies to loved ones filing after the death of a family member.


Types of Statutes of Limitations

Each state has its own statute of limitations. This puts a deadline on when mesothelioma patients or loved ones can file an asbestos lawsuit. Missing these deadlines can deny you the opportunity to take legal action towards gaining financial compensation after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. There are two primary types of statutes of limitations that patients can file, including personal injury and wrongful death, differing based on who is taking legal action.

Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations

Personal injury lawsuits are filed by mesothelioma victims themselves. Some states have very short personal injury statutes of limitations, giving patients only one year to file their lawsuit after they are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease. In order to receive compensation, it’s crucial to reach out to a mesothelioma law firm as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines.

Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations

Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by surviving family members of mesothelioma victims. Wrongful death statutes of limitations establish deadlines for when a family member must file after the death of a mesothelioma patient.

For many states, wrongful death statutes of limitations are the same as personal injury deadlines. For some, they are substantially shorter, requiring family members to file a lawsuit within just one or two years after the death of a loved one.

One complication with wrongful death claims is that family members may not know when or how their loved one was exposed to asbestos. This can require a lot of research time as your mesothelioma lawyer gathers information on former residences, workplaces and other possible sites of exposure to build a substantial case.

Statutes by State

Below is a comprehensive list of states, including their personal injury and wrongful death statutes of limitations. Typically, the deadline to file a mesothelioma lawsuit ranges from 1 – 4 years after the time of diagnosis or death.

State Statute Of Limitations Wrongful Death Statute
Alabama 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Alaska 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Arizona 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Arkansas 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
California 1 Year from Diagnosis 1 Year from Death
Colorado 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Connecticut 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Delaware 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Florida 4 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Georgia 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Hawaii 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Idaho 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Illinois 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Indiana 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Iowa 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Kansas 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Kentucky 1 Year from Diagnosis 1 Year from Death
Louisiana 1 Year from Diagnosis 1 Year from Death
Maine 6 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Maryland 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Massachusetts 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Michigan 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Minnesota 4 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Mississippi 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Missouri 5 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Montana 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Nebraska 4 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Nevada 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
New Hampshire 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
New Jersey 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
New Mexico 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
New York 3 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
North Carolina 3 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
North Dakota 6 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Ohio 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Oklahoma 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Oregon 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Pennsylvania 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Rhode Island 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
South Carolina 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
South Dakota 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Tennessee 1 Year from Diagnosis 1 Year from Death
Texas 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Utah 3 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Vermont 3 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Virginia 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Washington 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Washington, D.C. 3 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
West Virginia 2 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death
Wisconsin 3 Years from Diagnosis 3 Years from Death
Wyoming 4 Years from Diagnosis 2 Years from Death

Determining Which State Statutes to Follow

When determining which state’s statute of limitations to follow, it’s not always as simple as your current location. Factors that affect your state limitations include:

  • Current and past place of residence
  • Job sites or military bases where asbestos exposure occurred
  • Location of asbestos companies responsible for your exposure

Though the process to filing a mesothelioma claim can be lengthy, some states have special considerations put into place for “immediate trials.” For example, a New York City judge has an asbestos case management order in place that sets trial dates in clusters during the months of April and October. This allows for accelerated trial dates for urgent cases, such as those at the late stages of their mesothelioma diagnoses.

To confirm what state’s statute of limitations you should follow, a mesothelioma lawyer can look into your case and answer any questions and address any concerns that arise as you determine whether or not to file a lawsuit.

Written by

Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor

Jennifer Lucarelli is a partner at the law firm of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, specializing in asbestos litigation.


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Reviewed By

Linda Molinari Editor in Chief

Linda Molinari has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and advocate for mesothelioma patients and a ban on asbestos.


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