California Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

Pursuant to the enactment of California mesothelioma and asbestos laws, the state’s statutes of limitations were established following a torrent of asbestos-related lawsuits. Statutes of limitations refer to the amount of time an injured person has to file a lawsuit such as personal injury claims, wrongful death lawsuits, etc.

The provisions for mesothelioma statutes of limitations in California are specified in the California Code of Civil Procedure. Per this law, the statute of limitations for filing a mesothelioma lawsuit in California is two years but may be varied. The length of time will depend on a vast number of factors, including the specifics of the case. However, the time limit for asbestos claims generally starts from the date of injury or discovery of the injury.

The reason for establishing the mesothelioma statute of limitations was to ensure that cases were filed in a timely manner. At the same time, to encourage cases to be filed while witnesses and evidence are still available and give defendants a reasonable amount of time to prepare their defense.

California Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Claims

According to Section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCCP), the California statute of limitations for filing a mesothelioma claim is two years from the date of diagnosis. This two-year time frame applies to personal injury claims and wrongful death claims resulting from mesothelioma.

In some cases, the statutes of limitations may be extended if the victim can show that they were not aware of the connection between their exposure to asbestos and their development of mesothelioma. Additionally, if the victim died before filing a claim, their family members may have up to one year from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. Furthermore, if the plaintiff was not reasonably aware of their exposure to asbestos or diagnosis, they may have up to one year from the date they discover or should have discovered their injury to file suit.

If the defendant is a government entity, the plaintiff will have up to six months from the date of their diagnosis to notify the institution implicated before filing the suit. However, if it is a wrongful death lawsuit filed through surviving family members or an estate executor, the wrongful death statute of limitation will apply.

Asbestos Lawsuits Statute of Limitations by California Judicial District

While the CCCP sets the general statute of limitations at one year for personal injury actions, there are several exceptions. For instance, the statute of limitations for individual injury actions in California may vary by the judicial authority of the court in which the claim is filed. Even though California district courts operate under the same statute of limitations specified by state laws, federal district courts within California operate by federal statutes.

Per federal law, the statute of limitations for asbestos personal injury cases is set at three years from when the plaintiff knew their injuries were caused by exposure to asbestos. In order to be eligible to file an asbestos claim in a federal district court, the claim must pertain to an injury that occurred while the plaintiff was working in a federally owned or operated facility. The claimant must also be a current or former federal government employee or a contractor or sub-contractor working at a federally owned or operated facility. Otherwise, the claimant must be able to prove that the federal government knew or should have known about the exposure or risk of personal injury, and failed to warn the claimant.

What are the Factors Affecting Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations in California?

The factors that affect the mesothelioma statutes of limitations in California as prescribed by the California Legislature are the following:

  • The age of the person at the time they were first exposed to asbestos
  • The date when the person was diagnosed with mesothelioma
  • The identity of the person or entity that caused the exposure
  • Whether the exposure occurred in California or another state

In addition, the California mesothelioma statute of limitations may be impacted by the filing of a workers' compensation claim and the presence of any asbestos-related diseases other than mesothelioma.

Determining Whether Your Mesothelioma Claim is Within the Statute of Limitations

There are two key dates to keep in mind when determining whether a claim is within the mesothelioma statute of limitations:

  1. The date of the diagnosis; and
  2. The date on which the claimant first knew or should have known that their asbestos exposure was the cause of their illness.

If either of these dates falls outside the applicable statute of limitations, the claim will likely be dismissed.

The specific deadlines for filing a mesothelioma claim in California may also vary depending on the facts of the case. If the defendant is a public entity, the claim must be filed within six months of the date of diagnosis. Hence, if the claimant does not file the claim within this time frame, they will likely be barred from doing so.

What is the California Statute on Asbestos Lawsuit Payouts?

Under California law, a claimant is entitled to receive their court-ordered compensation or payout within a reasonable time after the judgment is entered. There is no specific timeframe set forth (in the mesothelioma statute specifically), so the amount of time considered reasonable will vary depending on the particular case. In some cases, the claimant may receive their payout within a few weeks, while in others, it may take several months. If the defendant fails to make the required payments on time, the claimant may be entitled to interest on the unpaid amount.

Statute of Limitations on California Mesothelioma Claims by Claim Type

There are several different mesothelioma claims in California, and each has its statute of limitations. The types of claims and their respective SOL are as follows:

California Workers' Compensation

California residents who have been exposed to asbestos while at work can file a workers' compensation claim if they are diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. The statute of limitations for these worker's compensation claims in California is one year from diagnosis or discovery.

California Personal Injury Claims

Mesothelioma victims in California who were to asbestos and consequently diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness may file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. The mesothelioma statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in California is two years from the date of diagnosis.

California Wrongful Death Claims

Family members of mesothelioma victims resident in California who died due to their exposure to asbestos can file a wrongful death claim. In California, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the victim's death.

California Product Liability Claims

California Mesothelioma patients who were exposed to asbestos through products can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of said product. The statute of limitations for product liability claims is two years from the date of diagnosis.

California Class Action Claims

Mesothelioma patients in California who were exposed to asbestos through products or work may opt to file a class-action lawsuit against the establishment or company liable for their exposure.

California Asbestos Property Damage Claim

Claimants who have had their property damaged as a result of exposure to asbestos can file a property damage claim. The statute of limitations for asbestos property damage claim is one year from discovery.

California Asbestos Trust Fund Claims

Per California mesothelioma statute, those exposed to asbestos through products or work can file a claim with an asbestos trust fund. There are several California asbestos trusts, each operating by its own rules. However, the mesothelioma statute of limitations for asbestos trust fund claims is two years from discovery or diagnosis.

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and the statute of limitations for each type of claim may vary depending on the specific circumstances. For example, the SOL for an asbestos exposure claim may be extended if it can be shown that the exposure occurred as a result of negligence on the part of the company responsible for the exposure.

What are My Mesothelioma Compensation Options in California?

California mesothelioma claimants may be able to receive compensation by:

  • Filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against one or more companies responsible
  • Joining an existing class action lawsuit against an asbestos company
  • Filing for workers' compensation benefits if they were exposed to asbestos at work
  • Filing for Veterans' Benefits if they were exposed to asbestos during military service
  • Applying for government benefits through the Social Security Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs

Claimants may also be eligible for compensatory damages if they are the family member of a deceased mesothelioma victim. These include:

  1. Loss of consortium damages (for a spouse)
  2. Wrongful death damages (for children or other immediate family members)
  3. Damages for mental anguish and emotional distress

Punitive damages may also be available in some cases, but these are generally only awarded if the defendant's actions were particularly egregious.

Where Should I File My Mesothelioma Claim in California?

California mesothelioma claimants have several options for where to file their claims. Claims can be filed in either state or federal court.

State Court

To file a mesothelioma claim in a California state court, the claimant's mesothelioma attorney must first file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. To do so, they must draft a complaint and file it with the court. The complaint must then be served on the defendant, who has 30 days to respond.

At trial, the jury will decide whether or not the defendant is liable for the claimant's injuries. If the jury finds in favor of the claimant, they will award damages. These damages can include both economic and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

State courts are typically faster than federal courts. Since federal court dockets are often very crowded, however, jury verdicts in state court can be appealed to the state's appellate court, resulting in a different outcome.

Federal Court

Mesothelioma claimants also have the option of filing their claims in federal court. They must first file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to do so. The complaint must then be served on the defendant, who has 21 days to respond.

If the case goes to trial, the jury will decide whether or not the defendant is liable for the claimant's injuries. If the jury rules in favor of the claimant, they will be awarded damages.

Compensation Options if Your Mesothelioma Lawsuit Statute of Limitations Expires in California

If the mesothelioma statute of limitations expires in California, the claimant may still be able to seek compensation through other avenues. These include the workers' compensation system, Veterans Affairs benefits, and private disability insurance policies; that is, provided they have received a mesothelioma diagnosis.

California Workers' Compensation

If the claimant was exposed to asbestos while working, they might be able to file a workers' compensation claim. Workers' compensation is a program that is run by the state, and that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. For these claims, a mesothelioma lawyer is rarely required.

Veterans Affairs Benefits

Veterans exposed to asbestos while serving in the military may be eligible for benefits through the Veterans Affairs (VA) system. The VA provides medical care and financial assistance to veterans with service-related injuries or illnesses.

Private Disability Insurance Policies

Some people have private disability insurance policies that may provide coverage for mesothelioma. These policies are typically purchased through an employer or union. The terms of each policy vary, so it's essential to review the policy documents to determine if mesothelioma is covered.

California Asbestos Litigation After Statute of Limitations Elapses

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims is one to two years from the date of diagnosis. While there are limited asbestos litigation alternatives when the statute of limitations has expired, some exceptions may allow claimants to pursue a claim nonetheless.

If the claimant's mesothelioma lawyer can prove that the defendant knew or should have known about the asbestos exposure but failed to warn them, they may be able to file a claim under the doctrine of "strict liability". Additionally, if they can show that the defendant fraudulently concealed information about the dangers of asbestos exposure, they may file a claim per the "fraudulent concealment" exception.

Other alternatives include arguing for the validity of the initial diagnosis they received, especially of they can argue against the professionalism of the medical personnel involved.

What is the Delayed Discovery Rule for Asbestos Claims in California?

California delayed discovery rule is codified in Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.8. It is a legal principle that applies to many different cases, including asbestos cases. In general, the discovery rule provides that the statute of limitations (the time limit for filing a lawsuit) does not begin to run until the plaintiff discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, the injury.

In California asbestos cases, the discovery rule is often applied to extend the statute of limitations. Pursuant to the provisions of the rule, state courts will hold that a plaintiff's asbestos-related injury is not "discovered" until they are diagnosed with mesothelioma, even though they have been exposed to asbestos for many years. The will court reason that the plaintiff could not have reasonably discovered their injury earlier. The claimant's mesothelioma lawyer may thus argue that there was no way for them to know that they had been exposed to asbestos; hence, no reason to suspect that they might have an asbestos-related injury.

What if I Have More Than One Asbestos Disease?

If a claimant has mesothelioma and another asbestos-related disease, the statute of limitations for the mesothelioma claim begins to run from the date of diagnosis of each individual disease. However, the statute of limitations for the other asbestos-related disease does not begin to run until the claimant knew that asbestos exposure caused that disease.

Similarly, if a claimant has asbestosis and lung cancer, the statute of limitations for both claims begins to run from the date of diagnosis of either disease. However, an experienced mesothelioma attorney will be best suited to offer the patient some insight into the legal process where multiple asbestos claims are involved.