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Statute of Limitations in an Asbestos Case

stop watch.jpgA statute of limitations, as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, are Statutes of the federal government and various states setting maximum time periods during which certain actions can be brought or rights enforced. After the time period set out in the applicable statute of limitations has run, no legal action can be brought regardless of whether any cause of action ever existed.

There are statutes of limitations in place that pertain to a living injured party and there are statutes that are applicable in the event the injured party is deceased (the wrongful death statute) BEFORE the statute of limitations expires. If the injured party is deceased before the statute of limitation expires, it is ALWAYS the wrongful death statute that is applicable regardless of whether it lengthens or shortens the time period in which an action can be brought.

Usually, in a personal injury case, the statute date can be easily calculated by simply taking the date of the incident (ie: a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall) and applying the relevant time frame allowable by the statute. Because of the latency period of an asbestos related condition, which can be anywhere between 15 and 50 years, the statute of limitations cannot justly be applied from the date of exposure. In an asbestos case, the statute of limitations must be calculated from the date of diagnosis. The applicable time period must be calculated from the date the injured party is conclusively diagnosed with an asbestos related condition. Asbestosis and Pleural Disease are two non-malignant asbestos related diseases. Laryngeal Cancer, Colon Cancer, Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma are malignancies that may also potentially be asbestos related conditions.

Should you be diagnosed with a non-malignant condition, that statute is to be calculated from that date of diagnosis; however, if you are subsequently diagnosed with an asbestos related malignancy, that statute is to be re-calculated from the date of the malignancy. The 2011 Florida statute 774.206 states as follows:

  • Notwithstanding any other law, with respect to any asbestos or silica claim not barred as of the effective date of this act, the limitations period does not begin to run until the exposed person discovers, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, that he or she is physically impaired by an asbestos-related or silica-related condition
  • An asbestos or silica claim arising out of a nonmalignant condition shall be a distinct cause of action from an asbestos or silica claim relating to the same exposed person arising out of asbestos-related or silica-related cancer. Damages may not be awarded for fear or risk of cancer in a civil action asserting an asbestos or silica claim.
  • A settlement of a nonmalignant asbestos or silica claim concluded after the effective date of this act may not require, as a condition of settlement, the release of any future claim for asbestos-related or silica-related cancer.

FLORIDA MAP.jpgAsbestos cases are personal injury claims based on product liability and so the Florida Statue allows four years from the date of diagnosis for the injured party to file a claim / complaint. The wrongful death statute is two years.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any asbestos related condition, we can help you. Preserve your legal rights before time runs out. Our experienced Florida asbestos attorney’s at Reyes, O’Shea & Coloca, P.A are dedicated to the fight for the rights of these individuals stricken with mesothelioma and other asbestos related conditions, who were unknowingly exposed and put at risk. Each case is handled individually and given the attention and priority it deserves by our carefully trained legal team.

medical reference books.jpgREFERENCES:

Statute of limitations; two-disease rule.–

Statute of Limitations as defined by Wikipedia