New California law brings justice to families in mesothelioma lawsuits


For decades, California law has denied families of mesothelioma patients the right to suffer pain and harm on behalf of their deceased loved ones. Families often need this damage to cover the cost of expensive mesothelioma treatment.

The newly signed law, which came into effect on January 1, 2022, changed this situation. Senate Bill 447 (SB 447) will no longer deny this family a basic form of compensation for mesothelioma. Instead, they can seek this type of compensation if their loved one dies before being punished.

Previous California laws reward bad corporate behavior;

The previous law was the result of lobbying by insurance companies. California is one of five states that deny pain and harm to families. The new law changes that.

Comparison of mesothelioma damage in California under the old and new pain laws

Before SB447

If the plaintiff dies after filing the lawsuit but before the trial is over:

Pain and suffering should not be hurt.


If the plaintiff dies after filing the lawsuit but before the trial is over:

The plaintiff's family may receive compensation for the pain and suffering on behalf of the deceased.

Previous laws created loopholes for defendants. This benefits those who wish to extend proceedings until the plaintiff's death to reduce potential losses. Defendants may use tactics to delay proceedings such as filing multiple motions or making persistent objections throughout the trial.

The loophole allows defendants to waste time and resources in court. And it rewards defendants for costing the time, money, and energy of sick or elderly plaintiffs.

Treatment for mesothelioma can be expensive

The best treatment for mesothelioma is often the most expensive. Multimodal treatment is a combination of effective therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Thus, it comes at a high cost. Pain and suffering are often important to cover the cost of mesothelioma treatment.

Plaintiffs' shortcomings in mesothelioma lawsuits are obvious. In general, applicants for mesothelioma have higher medical costs and a poorer prognosis than many patients with other cancers. This means that the defendant's adjournment is more likely to succeed and result in financial difficulties than other types of cases.

In a mesothelioma lawsuit, pain and loss can make up the bulk of a lawsuit against an asbestos company. If the plaintiff dies, the losing defendant will reduce the potential loss from mesothelioma by millions.

SB 447 will start assisting the plaintiff's family starting 2022

SB 447 removes the incentive for California defendants to procrastinate.

To benefit from the new law, plaintiffs must:

still alive on January 1, 2022, at the time the law comes into force; or

has been given a desired negotiation date before 2022.

Opponents of the bill have put forward several arguments against it. They discover that the family can file another motion, known as unlawful death, to atone for their own pain and suffering. But the unnatural deaths themselves, excluding SB 447, still prompted the defendants to pause during the trial to minimize harm.

Opponents of the bill also cited a preferred date for hearings to speed up litigation for the sick. If a preferred exam date is given, the exam must start within 120 days. This option works fine until it's done. Take, for example, the impact of COVID-19 on the California judiciary. Delays and build-up during the pandemic have caused courts to delay preferential proceedings for more than 120 days.

The California legislature was unconvinced by opponents of the bill. It should be noted, however, that the SB 447 has a sunset goal. As a compromise with insurance companies, the law is not expected to take effect until the end of 2025. The governor signed the bill in October.

Raising awareness of mesothelioma will help pass laws like SB 447

Diseases like mesothelioma exacerbate the problem with laws denying the pain and danger of families on behalf of loved ones who have died. Raising awareness of mesothelioma helps incorporate laws like SB 447. And it helps legislators to make these laws permanent. People who want to help raise awareness about mesothelioma can consider partnering with an advocacy group such as the Meso Foundation.

The Story by Tara Strandon

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