Mesothelioma is a deadly type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. There is currently no known cure. In California, asbestos exists in many buildings, properties and products. Regular exposure to asbestos – such as workers who are exposed daily in their occupations – puts people most at risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
At Bailey & Glasser, LLP, our California mesothelioma attorneys provide compassionate representation to patients and their families. We can explain your legal rights as a victim of mesothelioma, such as filing a lawsuit against the corporation or entity that exposed you to asbestos. We will connect you to vital resources and work hard to secure positive case results on your behalf. Our attorneys are here to help after you receive a devastating mesothelioma diagnosis.
Do You Need to Hire an Attorney?
Hiring a mesothelioma attorney in California can have a positive financial impact on your future. Mesothelioma is an expensive disease, with treatments that often include surgeries and ongoing chemotherapy. An attorney can help you demand fair and full financial compensation to pay for your necessary health care, giving you and your family greater peace of mind during this difficult time. Without an attorney’s assistance, you may be taken advantage of by an insurance company and convinced to settle for less than you deserve.
An attorney can also take care of complicated legal issues on your behalf so that you can focus your energy on your medical treatments and future.
You can trust your California mesothelioma lawyer to take care of confusing claims paperwork, evidence collection and preservation, the hiring of mesothelioma experts, state laws and filing regulations, negotiations with insurance companies, and a trial if your case has to go to court. Your attorney will have extensive legal knowledge to build your case for you.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and deadly type of cancerous tumor that affects the mesothelium. This is the lining that surrounds many of the internal organs, such as the lungs and abdomen. Mesothelioma tumors can form on the mesothelium of the lungs (pleura), abdomen (peritoneum), heart (pericardium) and testes (tunica vaginalis). Sadly, mesothelioma is terminal, with a life expectancy averaged at approximately 12 to 21 months for pleural mesothelioma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If an individual inhales or ingests asbestos fibers, they can become permanently lodged in the mesothelium. Over time – on average, 20-60+ years – these fibers cause enough irritation and scar tissue to create tumors. If the tumors are cancerous, the victim is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Based on data collected by the CDC, an average of 3,128 new cases of malignant mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
Can You Treat Mesothelioma?
Treatments do exist for mesothelioma. However, they are palliative rather than curative, as there is no cure for this disease. The purpose of palliative treatments is to relieve a patient’s symptoms, make him or her feel more comfortable, and improve quality of life. Treatments have also been known to extend life expectancy for some mesothelioma patients by removing as much of the cancerous tumor and cancer cells as possible (source: the National Library of Medicine). Common treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
How Common Is Mesothelioma in California?
California is at the top of the list for mesothelioma cases and deaths in the United States. Information from the CDC states that California had 1,579 new cases of mesothelioma from 2015 to 2019, averaging about 316 new cases per year. This represented the highest number of cases in the country for the period of the study.
California’s age-adjusted rate of mesothelioma cases was 0.7 per 100,000 people (95 percent confidence interval: 0.7-0.8). During the CDC’s study, California had a five-year relative mesothelioma survival rate of 12.6 percent. This was slightly higher than the national five-year survival rate of 10 percent (according to the Translational Lung Cancer Research Center).
Mesothelioma by the Numbers: Top 10 California Counties for Mesothelioma (2015-2019)
|Los Angeles County
|San Diego County
|San Bernardino County
|Contra Costa County
|Santa Clara County
|San Mateo County
Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Known Asbestos Sites in California
California has one of the largest naturally occurring asbestos deposits in the country. In addition, California was a leading producer of asbestos, with estimates by state records placing the total asbestos production from 1887 to 2002 at around 1,650,000 short tons. Today, asbestos remains present in many buildings and residences that were constructed in California prior to the 1980s.
If asbestos fibers are disturbed in these locations, such as due to a renovation project or demolition, they can enter the air and be inhaled or ingested. This can lead to the development of malignant mesothelioma in the victim. It is critical for the supervisor in charge of an older building project to be aware of the risk of asbestos exposure and comply with abatement regulations to protect the public.
Several types of sites throughout California are known to contain asbestos, including:
- Asbestos mines
- Brewing companies
- Construction sites
- Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco
- Industrial sites
- Manufacturing plants
- Metalworks industries
- Military sites
- Naval Air Station in Moffett Field
- Oil refineries
- Older automobiles
- Older homes and buildings
- Power plants
- The South Bay Asbestos Area in San Jose
This is not a comprehensive list of all locations where people could be exposed to asbestos in California. The Environmental Protection Agency states that asbestos is known to be present in 42 out of 58 counties in California. Naturally occurring asbestos is found most abundantly in Humboldt County, San Benito County, Monterey County and western El Dorado County. Action is currently being taken to map locations in California with known asbestos deposits. For example, naturally occurring asbestos is being mapped in El Dorado County by the Air Quality Management District.
Who Is at the Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure?
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) states that while it is possible for someone to develop mesothelioma from a single incidence of exposure to asbestos, this is not typically the case. The people who are most at risk of becoming ill from asbestos are those who experience contact with it on a regular basis, such as people who work with or around asbestos. The risk of occupational asbestos exposure is higher for certain workers based on the nature of their jobs.
The NCI lists the following as high-risk occupations:
- Asbestos abatement and removal workers
- Asbestos mining and milling
- Automobile mechanics
- Construction and building trades
- Demolition workers
- Drywall removers
- Firefighters and first responders
- Insulation workers
- Manufacturers of asbestos textiles and products
- Shipbuilders/shipyard workers
The NCI states that the associated health risks from exposure to asbestos increase with greater contact and longer exposure time. There is also evidence that family members of people who work with or around asbestos are at risk of health problems. They may develop mesothelioma or other illnesses from secondary exposure – when they are exposed to asbestos fibers brought home by the worker on his or her clothes, equipment, skin or hair. People who live near naturally occurring asbestos deposits are also at risk of related diseases.
California Asbestos Laws and Regulations
California has enacted certain laws and regulations to protect citizens from harmful exposure to asbestos. These laws deal with everything from the amount of asbestos permitted to exist in newly manufactured products to how to properly remove asbestos from older buildings. Every citizen has an obligation to adhere to the asbestos laws that apply to him or her. Ignoring these laws increases the odds of exposing the individual and others in the area to asbestos.
California’s current asbestos laws and regulatory authorities include:
- The California Department of Toxic Substances Control regulates how asbestos is packaged, transported and disposed of when it is defined as hazardous waste.
- The Department of Industrial Relations has an Asbestos and Carcinogen Unit that has standards for asbestos in construction, shipyards and general industry.
- Asbestos in construction work in California is regulated in part by Title 1529 of the Cal/OSHA Regulations.
- The County of Los Angeles Public Health accepts complaints and will order an inspection if someone is suspected of violating asbestos regulations.
These laws are in addition to federal laws that have been passed to address asbestos and public safety nationwide. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has federal laws that all employers in the United States must obey to protect at-risk workers from exposure to asbestos. If any business, corporation, property manager, supervisor or individual violates state or federal asbestos laws, this party could be held financially responsible (liable) for causing a victim’s mesothelioma through a lawsuit in California.
Types of Damages Available for Mesothelioma Victims in California
Liability refers to legal and financial responsibility for a victim’s (the plaintiff’s) injuries or losses connected to a preventable injury or illness. A personal injury claim or lawsuit in California seeks financial compensation for the injured party. If a person or party (the defendant) is found to be at fault for the plaintiff’s losses, the defendant will need to pay a settlement or jury verdict to compensate the victim.
The compensation available for mesothelioma can include:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Losses of income and capacity to earn
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damage and psychological trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Legal fees and court costs
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death damages, if applicable
The individual or entity that is liable for a victim’s mesothelioma depends on the circumstances. California’s negligence law (California Civil Code Section 1714) states that everyone is responsible not only for the result of his or her willful acts but also for injury caused by the lack of ordinary care or skill. If someone is negligent, or fails to use reasonable care, he or she can be held civilly liable for the damage caused. This includes a case of mesothelioma due to negligent exposure to asbestos.
Where to Seek Compensation for Mesothelioma in California
If you are eligible for compensation for mesothelioma in California, you may be able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit in pursuit of a settlement or jury verdict. Mesothelioma settlements are the most common type of case resolution, as corporations and insurance companies save money on settling compared to going to trial. However, if a reasonable settlement cannot be achieved, the attorneys at Bailey & Glasser, LLP are prepared to go to court on behalf of you or your loved one.
Available sources of compensation for mesothelioma in California include:
- A settlement – an amount agreed upon by both parties to resolve the legal dispute without requiring a trial.
- A jury verdict – a decision made by a jury once a trial has been conducted.
- Asbestos trust fund – a special fund set up by companies who have gone bankrupt to pay workers for asbestos-related illnesses.
- A workers’ compensation claim – a no-fault type of insurance settlement to pay workers for illnesses caused by their occupations.
- A veterans’ claim – an amount of money that may be available to veterans who developed mesothelioma after serving in the military.
Our attorneys can explore all available sources of financial compensation for your mesothelioma case. We are passionate about pursuing justice on behalf of those who are diagnosed with this deadly disease due to the negligence or fault of others. We will help you and your family go up against one or multiple parties to demand a fair financial recovery.
Speak to an Asbestos, Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Attorney in California Today
If you are a mesothelioma victim in California, you don’t have to handle your case alone. Bailey & Glasser, LLP is a national law firm that has handled claims and litigation in more than 40 states, with experience and reach that local law firms can’t match. We understand what you’re going through after being diagnosed with mesothelioma and how to help you and your family get through this difficult time.
Our asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys have collected over $90 million in total settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of our clients. We have what it takes to overcome challenges and resolve even the most complex mesothelioma case. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options.
We have law office locations throughout the country where we represent victims of mesothelioma. Our California law office is located at 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 660, Oakland, CA 94612. Call an intake specialist directly at (510) 272-8000 or submit our online contact form to receive a prompt callback.