Many asbestos-related lawsuits involve the deadly condition called mesothelioma, which is a particularly aggressive form or cancer that: (1) is almost always fatal; and (2) has a very long latency period (sometimes as long as 30 years). The latency period is the amount of time between exposure to the toxic materials (in this case, asbestos) and the onset of the disease. In Deggs v. Asbestos Corp., the family of a deceased worker tried to bring a wrongful death suit after the worker had previously brought an asbestos-related lawsuit against nearly 40 asbestos defendants 15 years earlier. In the earlier lawsuit, the injured worked settled with a number of the defendants and obtained a $1.5M verdict at trial against the the sole remaining defendant which refused to settle. Unlike other cases that involve mesothelioma, the injuries in this particular case were lymphoma, pleural disease and asbestosis, as a result of many years of exposure to asbestos while the Plaintiff served in the Navy during World War II.
In denying the attempting wrongful death lawsuit, the Court found that “[a] wrongful death action accrues at the time of death as long as there is a subsisting cause of action in the deceased at the time of death subject to exceptions not present here.” Therefore, the Court found that the suit was time-barred.
Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium). Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.