In the aftermath of a mesothelioma diagnosis, it can be nearly impossible to see beyond the immediate future. However, it is crucial to keep your legal options in mind.
Because although money and liability are likely not your priority during this painful time, the unfortunate truth is that a clock is ticking on your legal options for filing a legal claim.
Statute of limitations
Every state limits the time parties have to pursue damages after a person is hurt or killed by the negligence of others. Depending on where you file and the type of case you file, it could be two or three years after a person’s diagnosis. For instance, parties have two years to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim in Illinois.
If you wait to file a claim, you could miss out on the compensation and liability you may need and deserve.
The legal process isn’t always speedy
Preparing a legal claim can be complicated and will take time. Investigations, motions, negotiating settlements and trials do not always happen as quickly as people would like.
To give yourself, your lawyer and the legal system the time necessary to make your case as solid as possible, it can be wise to act fast and get the process moving as soon as you are ready.
A person’s health can change overnight
One other primary consideration concerning time is the devastating reality that the plaintiff may not live until the culmination of the case. Despite how long it takes mesothelioma to start affecting victims, it moves very quickly once symptoms start.
When this happens, family members must take up the case and pursue it as wrongful death. Such was the case recently when a jury awarded the family of a maintenance worker $16 million after he developed mesothelioma. The case started as a negligence claim, but the man passed away before the ruling.
Act fast, but don’t panic
Yes, parties will want to explore their legal options sooner rather than later. However, you need not panic – no one expects victims or families to have all the answers or prioritize legal issues ahead of their health.
But the sooner you start thinking about your legal options, the more time you give yourself and your family to navigate a difficult situation.