Asbestos Exposure and the Statute of Limitations

We are currently aware of the hazards of asbestos exposure. Asbestos increases the risk for lung cancer, mesothelioma, a rare form of asbestos-related lung cancer, and asbestosis, a chronic inflammatory lung disease.

Use of asbestos is now strictly regulated, as is removal and transportation. Several decades ago, however, asbestos was widely used as an insulator and fire retardant. In industries such as Indiana steel mills, employees often wore asbestos aprons and clothing as protective gear. Construction workers were exposed during demolition or renovation projects. Sometimes the families of these workers were exposed when they had contact with contaminated clothing.

The link between asbestos exposure and serious lung diseases is clearly understood. People diagnosed with these diseases may have the right to sue their employer or the manufacturer for damages under products liability statutes. This can be tricky, however, since Indiana has a strict statute of limitations for bringing such cases:

  • You must file within 10 years of your exposure
  • You must file within 2 years of your diagnosis

The latency period between the exposure to asbestos and a diagnosis with lung disease or mesothelioma can range from 10 to 40 years. Asbestosis is a progressive disease, and a person might not seek medical attention until scarring of the lung tissue made breathing problems severe. This condition is a risk factor for developing mesothelioma, so the diagnosis might not fit into the two-year time frame.

Given the statute of limitations in Indiana, anyone with an asbestos-related disease should consult a products liability lawyer as soon as possible to discuss best options for moving ahead with a compensation claim. This also applies to families seeking a wrongful death lawsuit.