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Brent Adams
Brent Adams
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Statute of Limitations is Different for Asbestosis and Silicosis

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The horrible diseases of asbestosis and silicosis have long latency periods. That means that the diseases do not develop until long after exposure to the hazard which caused the condition(s).

This latency period is usually ten to fifteen years after exposure.

Asbestosis and silicosis are almost always caused by conditions at work. Asbestosis is caused by exposure to a mineral known as asbestos. This asbestos can be in many forms and workers in virtually all industries have been exposed to asbestoses to varying degrees.

Silicosis is caused by silica dust that is prevalent in exposure to dust that contains crystalline silica. Silica dust is released during operations in which rocks, sand, concrete, and some ores are crushed or broken.

The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is generally two years from the date of injury.

Some workers feel that because of the two year statute of limitations, it is not possible to bring a claim against an employer who exposed the worker to asbestos or silica dust ten or fifteen years after they stopped working for the employer. That is incorrect.

In North Carolina, the law protects workers by providing that the period during which the statute of limitation is computed runs from the date asbestosis or silicosis is diagnosed, not from the date upon which the worker was exposed.

This is a very important protection for the worker. It means that claims can be brought against employers who develop asbestosis or silicosis fifteen or twenty years after they are exposed to asbestosis or silica dust.

“Diagnose” means a diagnosis from a medical doctor who definitely diagnosis asbestosis or silicosis. Workers sometimes have the symptoms from silicosis or asbestosis for many years before it is actually diagnosed.

The statute of limitations runs from the date of the first diagnosis of the disease and not from the date the symptoms first appeared.

If you or a loved one have a question about asbestosis or silicosis, please contact us by filling out the above form.