One of the important issues that can sometimes present issues in asbestos-injury litigation is the timing of filing a lawsuit. As a technical matter, if a lawsuit is filed too late, the opportunity to pursue a claim is lost. Filing at the right time, however, also requires an accumulation of evidence sufficient to allow for a successful claim.
Each state has different deadlines under their statutes of limitations. The specific statute of limitations applicable in asbestos injury cases depends on whether the plaintiff is filing the suit as a personal injury action, a survival action, or as a wrongful death action. The difference is that personal injury claims involve injuries to the plaintiff as a direct result of the defendant’s actions, while wrongful death actions involves claims for damages that result from the loss of a loved one. Survivial actions involve injuries for which a deceased loved one would have been able to collect damages.
Determining which type of claim to pursue in asbestos litigation depends on the individuals who have been affected, the factual circumstances of the case, and the available evidence to support potential claims. Fortunately, the statute of limitations for each of the above-mentioned actions is generally the same period of time in Louisiana.
For survival and wrongful death actions—whether brought by a surviving spouse, a child, a mother or father, or a sibling—the deadline for filing a claim is one year from the death of the deceased individual. Personal injury claims, which are filed by the individual exposed to asbestos, must be filed within one year of the day the injury or damage was sustained.
We’ll continue looking at this issue in our next post.
Sources: La. Civ. Code Art.: 2315.1; 2315.2; 3492