The potential for asbestos exposure among San Jose residents is high, just like it is for Californians outside of Santa Clara County. And, perhaps the worst part of it all is that each San Jose mesothelioma lawyer in our office has witnessed how those diagnosed with this rare form of cancer are no longer a select group of individuals previously employed in at-risk fields like the military, manufacturing, or construction, but are instead an increasing number of California residents who may not expect to suffer from this disease.
Some of the most recent data compiled by the environmental lobbyist group Asbestos Nation shows that in between 1999 and 2017, there were 27,080 total asbestos-related deaths in California. Of those, 1,122 occurred here in Santa Clara County. Only five other California counties ranked ahead of our county. The organization estimates that at least 59 new deaths occur annually here. The numbers above don’t account for how many new diagnoses occurred during that time frame or each year.
Mesothelioma is a late-onset type of cancer. Individuals breathe in or ingest this toxic substance but don’t often experience an onset of debilitating symptoms until some 10 to 50 years after exposure. Once they start showing symptoms, it’s often too late for medical professionals to do more than offer pain relief or other drug treatments aimed at slowing the progress of their aggressive condition.
Receiving the quality medical care necessary to live out your remaining days to your fullest can be costly. Our mesothelioma attorneys can help you seek justice by securing the compensation you need to get the best medical attention and financially provide for your family. Schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at Frost Law Firm, PC to discuss the legal avenues you can pursue.
Sources of Asbestos Exposure in the South Bay Area of California
Up until the 1950s, there wasn’t a lot happening in San Jose and other parts of Santa Clara County aside from the U.S. Naval Air Station Sunnyvale, and later Stanford University and the West Coast headquarters of aeronautics company Lockheed Martin.
Then, the mid-1950s marked a shift toward it becoming the technology hub it is today. As decades progressed, the area attracted an increasing number of tech startups, at some point becoming home to 30 of the Fortune 1000 headquarters. All of this growth brought a significant infusion of capital into the region, which meant that there was a significant infusion of money invested in developing the San Jose area during that time.
In case you’re wondering about the point of outlining the recent history of this part of the Bay Area of California, it’s to give you some insight into some of the ways in which residents might have become exposed to asbestos. The naturally occurring mineral was regularly used in the construction of buildings and for manufacturing everyday products up through the 1980s in our area, and so it’s plausible you could have been exposed to it in your role as a catalyst for growth here.
Suspected or Known San Jose Asbestos Sites
There are some sites that have been previously identified as sources of exposure to asbestos in San Jose, California, including different areas within what’s now described as the South Bay Asbestos Area Superfund site. Some of the areas within that part of the Alviso district that had a high concentration of asbestos brought into it between 1953 and 1982, potentially exposing workers, their relatives, and area residents to toxic asbestos fibers, include:
- The Santos and Marshland Landfills: Until their respective closures, both the Santos Landfill and the Marshland Landfill received asbestos-containing cement pipe from a local manufacturing plant
- The Ring Levee: The construction of this embankment, which aimed to protect the Alviso district of the city from flooding, relied on the use of locally sourced, asbestos-containing rock
Truck yards in the area form part of this asbestos supersite.
Additional sites in San Jose where asbestos has previously been found include:
- Manufacturing or industrial plants and distribution warehouses: General Motors, Burke Rubber Company, Owens Illinois Glass Company, California Canners & Growers, Safeway, Frito Lay, and CT Supply Company
- Government facilities: The Santa Clara County Main Jail Complex and San Jose Airport
- Tech companies: IBM
- Institutions of higher education: San Jose State University
- Utility companies: Electric Improvement Company, Pacific Telegraph & Telephone Company, Bay Area Rapid Transit Power, and Pacific Gas & Electric Company
- Hotels and residential housing: Town Park Towers and Hyatt House
The City of San Jose Environmental Services Department is responsible for maintaining an updated listing of suspected or confirmed asbestos sites within city limits.
Workers With the Highest Chances of Asbestos Exposure in Silicon Valley
If you review a listing of those workers who have the highest potential of having been exposed to asbestos during their career or lifetime, some of those ways include:
- Through the construction or repair of aircraft
- By working on cars as an auto mechanic
- As a shipbuilder
- While performing plumbing or electrical work
- Through home construction, roofing, remodeling, insulation, remediation, or demolition work
- As a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) worker
- While working at industrial or manufacturing plants that produced asbestos products
- In a building maintenance or janitorial role
- As a teacher handling chalk or by simply working in older buildings
- While working as a medical professional in an older health care facility
- As first responders, rescuing others in hazardous situations
There are, of course, countless other individuals in plenty of other occupations that could have unexpectedly been exposed to asbestos in San Jose, CA, but these are some of the more notable sources of exposure.
It should be noted that not everyone who comes into contact with asbestos develops mesothelioma. Also, while mesothelioma is most common among those with long-term or repeated exposure to this toxic substance, it can certainly affect those who have only been exposed to it once or on a limited basis as well.
While mesothelioma isn’t contagious, secondhand exposure caused by breathing in fibers on family members’ clothing or other belongings is a reality.
Symptoms Mesothelioma Patients Experience
Our law firm has handled many cases on behalf of clients exposed to this rare form of cancer. During that time, our Frost Law Firm, PC attorneys have gained significant insight into some of the more common symptoms mesothelioma patients experience early on after their diagnosis as their cancer progresses. Some of those include:
- Discomfort or persistent pain in the chest, back, or abdomen area
- Shortness of breath or labored breathing
- Sudden, unplanned weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Persistent coughing
Keep in mind that patients suffering from mesothelioma tend not to show physical manifestations of disease until decades after their exposure to the carcinogen asbestos. This explains why it can be hard to eliminate this condition from a patient’s body once signs of illness are noted. That doesn’t mean that you should delay seeing a doctor if you suspect you have this cancer, though. The sooner you get diagnosed and seek treatment, the better your prognosis can be.
Where Do San Jose Residents With Mesothelioma Seek Treatment?
If you or someone close to you has recently become symptomatic, it makes sense that you’d want to do whatever possible to help treat your symptoms and slow your cancer’s progression or eradicate it from your body altogether. In our experience as mesothelioma lawyers who regularly meet with ailing patients, some of the local medical centers that provide the best possible care for patients with aggressive, asbestos-related illnesses include:
- Stanford Cancer Institute: Located in Palo Alto, this private university-run medical center offers standard treatment options mesothelioma patients often pursue, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Additionally, this famed research facility often runs clinical trials where patients with this aggressive disease can receive some of the latest experimental treatments, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy, among others.
- Good Samaritan Hospital: Located in the heart of the Cambrian neighborhood of San Jose, this acute care hospital houses many specialized treatment centers within it. Its oncologists and the surgical team regularly treat mesothelioma patients.
- El Camino Hospital: The El Camino Health System has two acute care, non-profit hospitals in the South Bay, one in Los Gatos and the other in Mountain View. Unique to this hospital system is its accreditation by the Commission on Cancer (CoC), which gives mesothelioma patients comfort in knowing that they’re in competent hands in undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation for their debilitating illness there.
- O’Connor Hospital: Located in the Santa Clara Valley area of San Jose, this acute care hospital’s oncology department has medical professionals on staff who specialize in treating mesothelioma.
There may also be other smaller medical offices or health systems with doctors who specialize in treating mesothelioma in San Jose and neighboring cities throughout the South Bay of California. Some of those include:
- Kaiser Permanente
- Sutter Health
- The University of California Health Care System
- The Veterans Affairs Clinic and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center
The medical facilities that treat mesothelioma listed above are located across our county in San Jose and in the following areas:
- Santa Clara
- Los Gatos
- Mountain View
- Los Altos
- Palo Alto
As you’ve most likely been advised by the physician who rendered your mesothelioma diagnosis, while this disease is currently incurable, the quality of care you receive for this aggressive cancer can affect your quality of life and prolong how long you have left to spend with family and friends. A San Jose mesothelioma lawyer can point you in the right direction of medical experts who can provide you with top-quality care and financial resources you can tap into to afford your health care. Contact us now for a free initial consultation to discuss your case and your legal options.
How Pursuing Asbestos Litigation Covers Your Medical Expenses
If you’re ill after exposure to asbestos material, the best way to secure the money you need to get medical care at one of the local San Jose medical facilities above or elsewhere in our portion of the state is to file a claim, such as one of the following:
- Filing a California workers’ compensation claim
- Requesting a payout from an asbestos trust fund
- Seeking veterans’ benefits
- Requesting Social Security Disability
- Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit
Being able to file a claim or take legal action described above will involve you or your San Jose mesothelioma lawyer being able to document or prove a few key points, including proof of:
- A mesothelioma diagnosis
- That the onset of your illness is attributable to asbestos use at your job
- The seriousness of your disease, including your prognosis
- The pain and suffering it has caused you and, thus, how much it has affected your quality of life
Ask any California attorney and they’ll tell you that asbestos mesothelioma cases are notoriously complex. There are different requirements you must meet depending on what type of compensation you’re looking to receive. Our San Jose mesothelioma lawyers will discuss what steps you need to follow respective to the different type of claim or lawsuit you’re planning to file during your free legal consultation.
Compensation You Can Recover by Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit in Santa Clara County
The benefits or compensation you can recover in an asbestos mesothelioma case can be used to cover economic damages like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages or lost earning potential
- Funeral costs (if a wrongful death resulted from the asbestos exposure)
Mesothelioma victims may also be able to demand noneconomic damages by filing a lawsuit. If successful, they could recover compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship of a spouse (also known as loss of consortium)
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
While there is no cap on economic damages, California law caps noneconomic damages at $350,000. For wrongful death claims, the cap on noneconomic damages is $500,000.
Filing Deadlines for Mesothelioma Lawsuits in San Jose, California
It’s often understandably quite life-altering when a patient receives a mesothelioma diagnosis. There’s often a steep learning curve that occurs as a patient must meet with doctors to learn what treatment options they have given their stage of the disease. Then, it takes time to undergo treatment and recover from it. It only makes sense that time could slip away, jeopardizing their ability to file suit to recover financial compensation if they’re not cautious.
If you recently received a diagnosis, here’s what you need to know about statutes of limitations that apply in California mesothelioma cases. You have one year from the date of diagnosis or wrongful death to file a lawsuit. The latter date takes precedence.
There are some exceptions to this rule, so it can be helpful to discuss the specifics surrounding your exposure with a mesothelioma attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of California personal injury laws as you look to understand your rights in your case.
How Mesothelioma Attorneys Help Asbestos Exposure Cases
It doesn’t take long after you receive your mesothelioma diagnosis to see just how costly getting the best quality care can be. This is generally when we find that affected patients start reaching out to San Jose mesothelioma lawyers like ours at Frost Law Firm, PC to find out more about their financial compensation recovery options to be able to afford this care.
While the mesothelioma clients who contact our law office for assistance can file a mesothelioma lawsuit in San Jose, CA to pursue damages on their own like any personal injury victim, it can be chancy to do so. The same goes for a patient who has an asbestos-related disease and is considering working with an attorney not familiar with handling asbestos cases.
What dangers do either of the above-referenced options pose? Legal counsel experienced in working with clients with asbestos-related diseases and in related practice areas are standing by to help you compile evidence necessary to file for government benefits or a personal injury lawsuit, so reach out for a free consultation for help from a San Jose mesothelioma lawyer today.