A new bill recently introduced in the Indiana General Assembly would impose restrictions so severe on mesothelioma cancer victims that it may restrict any conceivable access to justice for those attempting to hold asbestos companies responsible for their greed and indifference to public safety. The statute of limitations on filing asbestos cancer lawsuits are so egregious that they fly in the face of science and the basic understanding of the latency periods associated with such a devastating disease.
According to the language of House Bill No. 1061, introduced by Republican Representative Matt Lehman of Berne, no individual in the state of Indiana could sue a manufacturer for a medical condition that arises more than 10 years after exposure to a toxic substance. The law also states that a medical diagnosis of an asbestos disease is only valid for the purpose of taking legal action if that diagnosis is made 15 years after the first exposure.
One of the most common and deadly asbestos related diseases is mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissues surrounding vital organs like the lungs and abdominal cavity. What makes the law so detrimental to the legal rights of mesothelioma victims is the long latency period between exposure and when a diagnosis actually takes place, usually anywhere from 20 to 50 years.
As a result, mesothelioma victims would be effectively barred from bringing claims because the overwhelming majority of patients would not receive their diagnosis until well after the exposure to asbestos occurs. If passed, Indiana would be the only state in the country that creates a law where there is no exception to the statute of repose for latent or asbestos diseases. The bill is essentially modeled after legislation written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, both of which lobby for business interests.
Fortunately for Indiana residents, an amendment was attached to the bill as it left the state House for the state Senate that would send the section of the bill that enacts the 10-year statute of repose to another study committee to be looked at urgently. Although that means the 10-year statute of limitations would not take effect immediately after the bill's passage, the possibility of an extremely restrictive statute of limitations is still a real possibility and may eventually be added at a later date. For now, mesothelioma victims in the state will simply have to watch and wait as their legislature debates the merits of the bill that has a strong chance of passage.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.