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California Asbestos Legal Question

california asbestos legal question

Asbestos exposure is a significant health and legal issue in California, mainly because asbestos was used in many building materials until the late 20th century. In this blog, we’ll go over some important legal points about asbestos rules and lawsuits in California to help you understand your rights and what responsibilities others might have if you’re exposed to asbestos.

What is Asbestos and Why is it Dangerous?

Asbestos is a group of natural minerals that are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals, making them a popular choice for building materials, car parts, and even clothing. However, breathing in asbestos fibers can be very harmful, leading to severe health problems like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

California’s Asbestos Rules

California has strict laws to control asbestos exposure and protect public health. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Cal/OSHA are two main agencies enforcing these laws. Here are the areas they cover:

  1. Asbestos Removal: Before tearing down or fixing up old buildings, a check for asbestos is needed. If asbestos is found, it must be safely removed following state guidelines to prevent fibers from getting into the air.
  2. Workplace Safety: Cal/OSHA requires employers to evaluate asbestos risks and provide proper safety gear and training to their employees. Workplaces must also take steps to limit the release of asbestos fibers into the air.

Legal Options for Asbestos Exposure

People who have been exposed to asbestos and developed related illnesses have several ways to seek compensation in California:

  1. Workers’ Compensation: Employees who were exposed to asbestos at work and later got sick can file for workers’ compensation. This doesn’t require proving the employer was at fault.
  2. Personal Injury Lawsuits: If asbestos exposure happened because someone was careless, like the manufacturers of asbestos products or property owners, the affected person might file a lawsuit to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  3. Wrongful Death Claims: Families of people who have died from asbestos-related diseases can sue those responsible for the exposure.

Common Questions

  • How long do I have to file a claim? California law sets a time limit for filing asbestos-related lawsuits, which starts from when the person was diagnosed or should have known about their illness from asbestos.
  • What if I was exposed to asbestos many years ago? Diseases from asbestos often take a long time to show up. California law allows you to file claims years after the first exposure, as long as it’s within the time limit from when you found out about your illness.
  • What if the responsible company is out of business? Many asbestos companies have gone bankrupt, but you can still get money through asbestos trust funds set up to handle claims against these companies.


Dealing with asbestos laws in California can be complicated, especially if you’re also managing health issues. Whether you’re worried about possible asbestos in a building, at work, or personal health, knowing your legal rights and options is essential. If you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer who specializes in asbestos cases to discuss your specific situation and what you can do legally.

You can also take our blog help at the law input to know more about legal facts. 

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