Mesothelioma is a devastating disease. Not only does it have one of the worst survival rates in the cancer world, it progresses quickly, leaving heartbreak and oftentimes a mountain of debt in its wake.
The good news is, the survival of mesothelioma is becoming more and more common, even if it’s still the rarity. More good news: You have several avenues to explore when it comes to compensation for mesothelioma in California today. Before you can make use of them, however, it helps to get a quick overview of California mesothelioma and your general options.
How Common Is Mesothelioma?
While mesothelioma is somewhat rare compared to other cancers, its extremely aggressive nature more than makes up for that. Victims who are diagnosed with the disease rarely survive longer than 5 years, and in many cases don’t live more than a few months.
Thankfully, while “The rate of mesotheliomas in the United States increased from the 1970s to the early 1990s … since then it has leveled off and even gone down slightly,” says the American Cancer Society. “These changes have largely been seen in men, and are probably related to changes in workplace exposures to asbestos.”
The downside of this is that many people who will have the disease have yet to be diagnosed. Because cancer manifests many decades after asbestos exposure, and asbestos use was not fully halted until the 1980s, we still have a decade or more to go before we can reasonably expect a sharp drop-off. Moreover, those who worked in other countries or emigrated here may have been exposed more recently.
The next quick question to answer before moving on is what exactly causes mesothelioma.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
In California, as in other states and other parts of the world – where it is still on the rise – mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that forms into microscopic rods. These rods are so small that upon handling they splinter and float into the air, where they are easily inhaled and absorbed into the lining of the lungs. They may also migrate to the membranous lining – mesothelium – of internal organs or the abdominal wall.
Once there, they embed in the tissue, causing thickening, inflammation and genetic mutation. The result is usually cancer of a very pernicious form, which is hard to remove via surgery and has often progressed past the point of treatment once diagnosed. In many cases, all doctors can prescribe at this point is palliative care.
California Sites of Asbestos Exposure
Spanning the middle of the 20th century, asbestos was used heavily on all sorts of jobsites throughout the state. Some of the most common asbestos exposure sites in California include:
- Oil companies
- Shipyards and dry docks, especially associated with the Navy
- Utility companies, including water, gas and electric
- Airports and airfields
- Steel factories
- Bridges, such as the Golden Gate toll station
General construction sites are also possible places of exposure. Don’t decide whether or not you or your loved one has received the requisite dose of exposure before looking into where you/they worked and whether asbestos was present at any time on the job.
California Asbestos Exposure Laws Today
Today, asbestos regulations are very strict. Because some job sites still expose workers to asbestos (especially during retrofitting or demolition of old buildings, ships and other structures), there now exist laws regulating exposure. These laws say that:
- Employers must have a medical surveillance program in place
- Routine examinations require specific medical histories, tests and questionnaires
- The employer must make the tests available annually
- They must provide the physician with any information requested
- They must comply with additional tests recommended by physicians
Anyone who worked at a job site after these or other laws were put in place (a question to ask your attorney about, depending on the years you or your loved one worked) has a reasonable claim against their employer beyond the compensation afforded to typical asbestos cases.
Settlements and Awards in California
Several facts must come together in order to create a compelling case against a company or military branch for which you worked. These factors include whether you can prove you were exposed to asbestos while on the job (not just in your everyday life or in personal pursuits); whether the employer had a responsibility to protect you from exposure and did not; and whether you have suffered harm as a result. This harm may come in the form of medical bills, funeral expenses, death and emotional distress.
In the event you can prove these things, you have two main courses of action:
- Bring a civil suit against the employer. This is when you craft your own lawsuit with the help of an attorney and sue the employer.
- Join a class action lawsuit, in which you do not need to do anything other than submit a claim once the suit settles.
In other case, you may receive a settlement out of court (on your own or as a member of a class action suit) or an award in court, which is when the defendant refuses to settle, and instead the judge or jury awards the plaintiff an amount which the defendant must pay.
There already exist class action lawsuits in dozens of California towns, from smaller locations to dense cities including:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Santa Barbara
- San MateoSan Diego
… and many more. If you lived in any of these cities at the time of exposure, you can be sure you have an avenue to compensation. Even if you lived in a smaller location, make sure to speak to your lawyer about joining a class action lawsuit there, if possible, or bringing a suit of your own.
California Mesothelioma Attorneys
Get in Touch with Us for Legal Help Today
If you’re dealing with your own illness, the sickness of a loved one or a recent death, you already have enough on your plate without trying to navigate the tricky waters of mesothelioma law. That doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t deserve compensation for the emotional difficulty and expense through which mesothelioma has put you.
That’s where our friendly team comes in. We have the necessary experience and expertise to guide you through the process of getting compensation for your suffering and coverage for your bills. We will review your case for free, and we won’t take a single penny until you’ve gotten your settlement or award.
Don’t wait any longer to get in touch and get what you deserve. Contact us today!
- Key Statistics About Malignant Mesothelioma. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/about/key-statistics.html
- Medical Surveillance Guidelines for Asbestos. (ND). Retrieved from https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/8358i.html
- What Causes Malignant Mesothelioma? (2019). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.htm
- Best Mesothelioma Lawyers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mesolawsuitafterdeath.com/legal/best-mesothelioma-law-firms-navy-veterans/