Thousands of mesothelioma cases have been filed over the years since the government passed laws to make companies who produce, distribute and utilize asbestos-based products liable to individuals who develop mesothelioma. As a result, we have seen a systematic approach followed by many asbestos lawyers in order to secure a positive result for mesothelioma victims.
However, specific issues relating to mesothelioma cases will vary from one state to another. This generally depends on how much protection the state offered to organizations to protect their economic interest. Two of the main issues that can have a profound legal impact on your mesothelioma case are the statute of limitation, discovery rule and the second injury rule.
Although it is well known that mesothelioma is a latent disease, many states still implement a statute of limitation that restricts the time available to mesothelioma victims to file a mesothelioma case. In some states, companies have lobbied to have the statutes of limitation beginning from when the client believes they were exposed to asbestos. This makes it difficult for victims of mesothelioma as this period is often expired before they actually develop the disease. Other states have resisted this pressure and have allowed mesothelioma victims up to three years after their diagnosis of mesothelioma to file their mesothelioma claim. Within some states, this is known as the Discovery Rule.
Mesothelioma has a long latent period, often lasting between twenty to fifty years. This makes it difficult for individuals who were exposed to asbestos to make asbestos claims prior to them being diagnosed with the disease. This is because there is now way of determining if a particular individual will develop the disease just because they were exposed. What the Discovery law does is that it allows sufferers of mesothelioma to make cases against individuals who wronged them many years before by allowing to be exposed to asbestos particles. This became a lifeline for many sufferers of mesothelioma as many of them developed the disease after the statutes of limitations had expired.
Many mesothelioma victims develop asbestosis, which is a sickness that affects the lungs due to the inhalation of asbestos. Prior to the case fought by Budd and Baron in 2000, victims of asbestos related illnesses were only allowed to file one lawsuit pertaining to their exposure to asbestos. However, after developing pleural mesothelioma after their first successful asbestos claim, they were able to convince a jury that they were due compensation because of them developing pleural mesothelioma. This has opened the door for many victims of mesothelioma who may have made claims based on minor symptoms to be able to receive compensation for their disease.
Companies filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy are a major obstacle for mesothelioma victims. Many states allow companies to take this route if they are in danger of going under because of mesothelioma lawsuits. Chapter 11 bankruptcy gives them protection against their creditors and individuals making claims against them. Many use this period to restructure their organization thus making it difficult for mesothelioma victims to get compensation.