There are plenty of things that feel intimidating about taking legal action in an asbestos case, and the potential length of the process is near the top of that list. But how long does it really take? It would be a mistake to avoid taking action because one might expect it to be a lengthy process, only to find out later that it would have been fairly simple.
On this page, we’ll take a closer look at what to expect in terms of a timeline for an asbestos case. Of course, it’s difficult to determine exactly how long the process will take, but estimates can be given and input offered on what variables will impact this timeline. We’ll cover the various legal avenues available and the estimated timelines for each.
If you may have been exposed to asbestos, speak with your healthcare provider about tests and screening to help detect the presence of asbestos fibers and asbestos-related diseases.
The length of an asbestos case depends on the nature of the claim, and specifics of your case. But some claims are quicker than court.
For starters, the short answer to the title question is “it depends.” No, that isn’t going to be a satisfying answer, but it’s the truth. Every case is unique and there is a range of timelines that could wind up playing out if you decide to take legal action. Courts are notorious for being largely unpredictable, in general.
Trials can take longer than asbestos trust claims.
With that being said, we can help you understand the general process by offering some possibilities. If you file a suit that goes all the way to trial, it could very well take years from the start to the finish of the process. Investing that kind of time and effort could still be worth it if you are awarded the compensation you rightly deserve, but it’s not a fast process to get all the way to the end of a trial in a personal injury case.
Thankfully, waiting for a case to be decided may not be the only possibility for how it could play out. It’s also possible that you will agree to a settlement that is offered by the party that you have targeted. In that case, the settlement may be agreed to in a matter of months, dramatically shortening the timeline as compared to a case that involves a trial. Thus, when you get started with a case, you don’t necessarily have to expect to be in it for years – there is a real possibility that it will be settled much sooner.
Dealing with an Asbestos Trust
Because illness as a result of asbestos exposure is such a widespread problem, and because there are so many victims rightfully seeking compensation, trust funds have been created by companies with the purpose of handling claims. Instead of filing a lawsuit, you may be able to file a claim with one of these funds, potentially qualifying for compensation without prolonged, cumbersome litigation.
Asbestos trusts claims are usually much easier to receive, and the settlement usually arrives more quickly.
The good news with regard to working with a trust fund is that you may be able to receive compensation much sooner than if you had to file a lawsuit. There is no guarantee that you will be approved by the trust, but if you are, you may start to receive money within just a few months of filing the claim.
Asbestos compensation trusts are usually the fastest way to receive money for your asbestos claim.
One of the most appealing parts of utilizing a trust to gain compensation is the speed with which you can get results. If you are hoping to get payments as soon as possible, going the trust fund route may be your preferred course of action.
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Considering the Statute of Limitations in asbestos claims
Another timing-related matter to consider is the statute of limitations that may be in place in your state which, essentially, dictates the timeframe in which you’re able to take action. If you wait too long and the statute of limitations expires, you won’t be able to go after the compensation that you should be entitled to receive.
Everyone who has been harmed by exposure due to the negligence of asbestos companies should get the money they deserve, so it’s important to seek legal advice and submit a claim as soon as possible, before the time allotment expires.
Statutes of limitations (for asbestos claims and other legal issues) mostly vary by state.
The first thing to know about asbestos statute of limitations matters is that they are completely dependent on the state where a person plans to file. Each state has its own rules, with some states requiring that action be taken within a year or two, while other states offer significantly more time. Of course, there is no reason to push this right up to the deadline – getting a case moving right away, while there is still time to do so, is key.
The discovery rule: when the ‘clock starts ticking’ for a legal claim
In other areas of personal injury, the statute of limitations “clock” usually starts ticking when an accident or injury occurs. That approach doesn’t work with asbestos, however, because the harm to the individual is typically discovered several decades later, in most cases. So, with asbestos claims, the clock on your statute of limitations begins when you are first diagnosed. Or, in the case of a wrongful death claim related to a loved one, that clock will start on the date of their passing.
On another note: even if you think the statute of limitations has expired in your case, it’s still worth reaching out to an expert in this field to explore your options and make sure you are interpreting the law correctly. There are various factors and exceptions that may apply, so it’s always worth getting as much information as possible before determining how to best proceed.
An Unpredictable Process
One of the reasons that the timeframe for an asbestos lawsuit and potential settlement is so wide is that the outcome of each case can vary widely. As mentioned previously, the asbestos trust process is quicker and a little more predictable, but if you wind up filing a lawsuit instead, the process is largely uncertain.
Trials generally offer more uncertainty than other procedures to address legal claims.
As an example, a plaintiff could be offered a settlement very quickly at the start of the case. That might seem like a good development, but it could be that the settlement amount is far short of what may be gained if taken to court. In that case, the plaintiff might not want to accept. If that’s the case, they’ll need to work with legal counsel to determine the best course of action.
Alternatively, settlement may not be offered right away, meaning the lawsuit will proceed and move into the discovery phase. During discovery, each side of the case is able to gather information about the other, and the facts at hand become much clearer. Once discovery has taken place, the asbestos company being targeted may then decide that it wants to offer a better settlement deal – or it might be motivated to take the case all the way.
Is it Worth It To File An Asbestos Lawsuit?
That may depend on how injured a person is.
But most asbestos injuries for people exposed prior to 1982 (on the job, or in the house by asbestos-tainted work clothes) can receive some compensation from an asbestos compensation trust.
We know that going through this process probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, and that’s true. But it’s worth it for those who are victims or who are the surviving family members of a victim. The potential financial compensation available here can be in the millions, which won’t undo the harm that has been done, but it will help the family to deal with the many difficulties that have been brought on by asbestos exposure.
The key is not to wait – get in touch today, qualify and file your asbestos claim.
The only way to start the clock ticking on an asbestos case is to jump into action as soon as possible. Even if you aren’t yet sure that you want to file a claim, there is no harm in contacting the experienced team at AsbestosClaims.law to learn more about options and what the next steps might be.
The importance of having the right asbestos attorney for your asbestos claim
Working with an attorney who has experience in the asbestos claims process is important for ensuring all documentation is filed correctly and the case is handled properly from the start. Even if it proves to take a while to complete the process, standing up for yourself or your family is the right thing to do. We hope this page has been helpful and feel free to explore the rest of our site for further resources.
For Justinian C. Lane, getting compensation for asbestos victims is personal.
Justinian’s grandparents and his father all worked with asbestos in their younger years and died from asbestos-related cancers in their later years.
At the time of each of their deaths, no one in Justinian’s family knew that they were eligible to file an asbestos lawsuit and to seek compensation from the asbestos trusts.
Because no one in Justinian’s family knew their options, they never received any compensation for the death of their loved ones.
If you believe that you or your family member’s injury was related to asbestos exposure, you could be entitled to significant compensation.
This is money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being.
There are also asbestos trusts that offer compensation much more quickly and easily (without filing a lawsuit.)
If you’d like help with filing a claim, please get in touch by email at [email protected], or call or text us at (833) 4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) or (206) 455-9190. We’ll listen to your story and explain your options. And we never charge for anything unless you receive money in your pocket.
In addition to legal claims, veterans disability, social security and employment protection like workers compensation, FELA and The Jones Act for maritime workers, there are asbestos trusts that have been set up to compensate those harmed by asbestos without having to file a lawsuit.
There is no risk or cost to speak with one of our staff about your asbestos litigation. There are no fees unless you receive money.
If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, check out our website and YouTube page for videos, infographics and answers to your questions about asbestos, including health and safety, asbestos testing, removing asbestos from your home and building, and legal information about compensation for asbestos injuries.
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W.A.R.D., which stands for the Worldwide Asbestos Research Database, helps clients to narrow down when and where they may have been exposed, as well as which products may still contain asbestos. W.A.R.D. will also help indicate compensation types and how much a person may be entitled to.