Ask any San Francisco mesothelioma lawyer, and they’ll share with you that the Bay Area has many attributes that put residents at a notably higher risk of mesothelioma than other parts of the state and nation. There are ports where shipbuilding and repair occur, there are several fault lines running through the area where asbestos-laden rock is in abundance, and it’s home to one known Superfund site, where Environmental Protection Agency officials have identified excessive contamination from factories, plants, or mining.
Based on these attributes, most would expect our area to top the charts for asbestos-related diseases. However, data compiled by Asbestos Nation for the years 1999 through 2017 shows that 620 people died from asbestos-related diseases during that period in San Francisco County. While this is a fraction of the number of residents in Southern California counties who contracted these illnesses, it’s still a notable amount—especially given how these were preventable illnesses, as we’ll detail below.
Here at Frost Law Firm, PC, we represent Bay Area residents and Californians in general who have received mesothelioma diagnoses after product manufacturers, employers, and others unsuspectingly exposed them to asbestos fibers. Medical care for this condition can be expensive, but funds are available for victims like you to receive the treatment you need. A San Francisco mesothelioma attorney can sit down with you for a free case evaluation to assess your right to file suit to recover monetary damages. Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your legal options now.
What Is Asbestos, and What Types of Illnesses Can Exposure to It Cause?
According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber often found in the rocks here in our state and especially when located near fault zones like Calaveras, Hayward, and San Andreas. Toxic asbestos fibers are most likely to become airborne when rocks containing these fibrous materials are crushed.
Asbestos lasts a particularly long time once it enters the air, and the longer the exposure a person has to it, the higher the chance of them developing an asbestos-related illness like asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing an asbestos-related medical condition.
As for mesothelioma, it’s a rare, currently incurable type of cancer that affects the lining of specific bodily organs. The four types of mesothelioma are:
- Pleural mesothelioma: Impacts the lining of the lungs
- Pericardial mesothelioma: Takes hold along the lining of the heart
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: Affects the abdominal lining
- Testicular mesothelioma: Impacts the lining of the testicles
California mesothelioma patients seldom present with ill-effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, weight loss, and others early on after exposure to this toxic substance, but instead do so sometime (often decades) after initial contact with it. This means that by the time individuals with asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, experience symptoms, their condition has reached a point of no return. Generally, no surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, or targeted treatment can reverse a patient’s fate; however, these treatments can slow mesothelioma’s aggressive progress.
Sources of Asbestos Exposure in the Bay Area of California
Our San Francisco mesothelioma attorneys often hear from our clients that they never took the time to look into how exposure to asbestos fibers occurs until they developed mesothelioma themselves. Once they do, they often learn that asbestos was used for manufacturing a wide range of items up until the late 1970s, including producing:
- Home insulation
- Auto parts like car brakes or gaskets
- Roofing shingles
- Floor and ceiling tiles
- Textured paint or patching compounds
The mineral was also used by individuals employed in the following roles due to the nature of their work that required them to work in close contact with these fibers:
- Construction workers
- Quarry workers
- Auto or airplane mechanics
- Rail workers
- Theater workers like stagehands
Essentially, asbestos was widely used for nearly a century from the late 1800s to the latter part of the 20th century for its strength, ability to withstand heat, and fire retardancy properties, so it’s plausible it was used for far more purposes and by employees in remarkably more industries than the ones described above. It’s also worth noting that since these fibers adhere to clothing once “stirred up,” many individuals working in the capacities described above likely brought asbestos home to their loved ones, resulting in their secondary exposure and subsequent diagnoses.
Asbestos Exposure Sites in San Francisco
There are specific sites across San Francisco County where the past and current risk for asbestos exposure is high. Among the many known San Francisco asbestos sites where it’s possible that individuals have been exposed to the mineral that causes the deadly cancer mesothelioma, there are:
- Treasure Island: This area of the Bay Area used to house a military base and is now a popular tourist destination. Known asbestos exposure has historically occurred here, putting past and present workers and residents at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
- Candlestick Point: This former stadium and industrial site is where significant amounts of asbestos were previously found. The area is now a park, but there is still a risk of mesothelioma among people who lived or worked there.
- Hunters Point Naval Shipyard: This former shipyard is now a Superfund site due to past residents’ and workers’ high potential of having been exposed to asbestos while there.
- Bayview-Hunters Point: This neighborhood, located close to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, also historically posed a risk for asbestos exposure (and may continue to do so) as many manufacturing facilities, power plants, and shipyards that used this naturally occurring mineral were housed here.
What To Do if You Suspect You Have an Asbestos-Related Illness
Like any illness, you should seek medical attention if you have a persistent condition that seems to be unwavering or worsening with time. While there are currently no cures for mesothelioma, as mentioned above, there are treatments that are effective in alleviating typical symptoms. Plus, if you do catch the onset of your disease at an early enough stage, it is possible that an operation can eradicate your body of cancerous lesions, which could plausibly limit further progression of it.
The most common way doctors who suspect patients have mesothelioma confirm their diagnosis is through imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-ray. Should doctors confirm you have this debilitating condition, you’ll want to seek out care from one of our area’s leading research hospitals or medical centers right away for the best possible outcome.
Medical Centers Where San Francisco Mesothelioma Patients Seek Treatment
There are many well-known cancer research centers and world-renowned hospitals run by prestigious universities scattered throughout California, with many of them being right here in San Francisco. Some of the top-rated medical centers where mesothelioma patients receive treatment in our area include:
- The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Centers: From the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center in Mission Bay to the other UCSF Medical Center campuses in Mount Zion and Parnassus, each of these locations is where some of the best cancer researchers and oncologists committed to offering innovative, personalized patient care work. In addition to offering mesothelioma patients surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, this medical center is also a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded immunology and immunotherapy research hospital and is actively using this precise treatment option in clinical studies to treat those with asbestos-related cancer and other forms of this deadly disease.
- John Muir Health: The John Muir Radiation Oncology Services, based over the bay in the Walnut Creek area, has partnered with UCSF to expand both parties’ cancer treatment center network with the shared goal of enhancing preventative efforts, improving early diagnoses, and providing aggressive, targeted treatment of those diagnosed with cancer.
- Stanford Medicine: The Stanford Cancer Institute recruits some of the most talented medical researchers focused on prevention, early detection, and developing life-saving cancer treatments, who are employed by the research arm of this prestigious university-run medical center, with its primary headquarters located just minutes south of San Francisco in Stanford, near Palo Alto. Then there is the Stanford Cancer Center, which is the physical building where most cancer patients’ treatment using radiation or chemotherapy occurs. This facility also houses clinical trial research studies, nutritional and social services programs, and more.
- Kaiser Permanente: There are several Kaiser Permanente hospitals that form part of its San Francisco presence, including locations in or near to the following areas: Mission Bay, Lower Pacific Heights, Inner Richmond, and Anza Vista. Each of these locations feeds into Kaiser Permanente’s Comprehensive Community Cancer Center, which has accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. In addition to offering standard cancer treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, this medical facility also offers support programs to include wellness coaching aimed at helping patients cope with their diagnoses.
All of the medical centers described above have varying attributes that make them strong contenders in caring for mesothelioma patients. As a national law firm with extensive experience in working with mesothelioma victims in San Francisco, CA for decades, we’d recommend considering the following when determining where to seek treatment:
- Which facility any health insurance you may have covers
- Treatment options offered at different facilities, including participation in clinical trials
- Costs of receiving care
- Whether any of the doctors specialize in treating mesothelioma
- The proximity of the medical facility to your home
Please note that while we discussed health insurance and costs above, there are resources you may be able to access by filing a mesothelioma claim, for example, to help shoulder the expenses for your treatment. Keep reading where we outline how our California lawyers help our mesothelioma clients identify sources of compensation to help cover their care.
How Do California Mesothelioma Lawyers Help Those Suffering From Asbestos-Related Diseases?
Most individuals who have received mesothelioma diagnoses can attribute their asbestos exposure to a job they previously or currently hold. As such, they may be eligible to request funds from a wide variety of sources to cover their medical care, lost wages, and any other potential damages, depending on the types of benefits or compensation they qualify for.
An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can come in handy in helping you determine how the onset of your asbestos-related illness occurred, especially if it didn’t occur through your direct employment. Identifying the source may require an investigation, which may start with a conversation between your lawyer and yourself, moving quickly to family members or co-workers, if necessary, to make sense of your illness’ onset.
You can also expect your attorney to know and share with you what your financial recovery options are, which may include one or more of the following:
- California workers’ compensation
- Veterans’ benefits
- Social Security Disability (SSD) payments
- Asbestos trust fund proceeds
- Personal injury lawsuits
- Special funds set aside for federal employees from specific industries like railroad or maritime workers
Aside from helping you identify the source of your toxic fiber exposure and funds available to individuals exposed in similar situations, you can expect any mesothelioma attorney you work with at Frost Law Firm, PC to advise you of the eligibility requirements, including the elements you may have to prove if filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, to qualify for the different types of compensation described above.
Your San Francisco mesothelioma lawyer will also know the deadlines (also known as the statute of limitations when litigation is concerned) for taking such legal action. For example, mesothelioma patient plaintiffs claiming injury or illness due to someone else’s negligence must file suit within a year of getting hurt or their diagnosis. The same one-year filing deadline applies if a surviving family member wishes to file a wrongful death lawsuit after the passing of a relative to cancer, for example. Extensions to this standard filing deadline may exist. An attorney can advise you when those exceptions apply to your case.
Other areas in which an attorney may prove invaluable as you seek compensation to cover your medical bills, recoup lost earnings, or other asbestos-related illness expenses include as a negotiator. You can trust any San Francisco mesothelioma lawyer in our office to fight on your behalf to ensure you receive maximum benefits or the highest possible out-of-court settlement, and to be a strong advocate in a San Francisco County or nearby Marin County (San Rafael) courtroom with the goal of reaching a verdict in your favor.
In short, because the attorneys at our law firm have long specialized in handling mesothelioma cases and have successfully secured compensation on behalf of countless clients, we know what it takes to build strong cases that demand the funds necessary to ensure you can receive the best possible medical care so you can enjoy the highest quality of life in your predicament. So, if you’re looking for a strong advocate, look no further. Contact a mesothelioma lawyer at Frost Law Firm, PC for a free consultation to discuss your individual case and learn more about your right to compensation today.
When Is the Right Time To Ask a San Francisco Mesothelioma Attorney for Help?
Whether you’re planning on applying for some of the benefits listed above or filing a lawsuit, as mentioned above, time is of the essence. Mesothelioma claims or asbestos lawsuits are complex cases that can take some time to build to ensure the best possible result via pre-litigation negotiation or in the courtroom. That’s why it’s best if you develop an attorney-client relationship early on to learn more about your legal rights and to give you ample time to exercise them.
Acting quickly in your mesothelioma case ensures you’ll be able to stake claim to asbestos trust funds, if eligible, before they are exhausted. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to pin liability on potential third-party companies responsible for this preventable exposure to this toxic substance.
A San Francisco mesothelioma lawyer is standing by, ready to help you build a case that justifies the monetary compensation you’re seeking. So, contact Frost Law Firm, PC now for compassionate, personalized service so that you can focus your attention on living as comfortable of a life as you can with the time you have left.