California Law Helps Mesothelioma Patients’ Families in 2022

SB 447 Will Start Helping Plaintiffs’ Families in 2022

SB 447 removes the incentive for defendants in California to drag out litigation.

California Law Helps Mesothelioma Patients’ Families in 2022

To benefit from the new law, the plaintiff must either:

  • be alive on January 1, 2022, when the law takes effect; or
  • have been granted a preferential trial date before 2022.

Opponents of the bill made several arguments against it. They noted families can file a different claim called a wrongful death action to recover for their own pain and suffering. But wrongful death actions alone, without SB 447, still incentivize defendants to stall during lawsuits to minimize damages.

The bill’s detractors also cited preferential trial dates as a way to accelerate litigation for sick people. If granted, a preferential trial date requires a trial to begin within 120 days. This option works well until it doesn’t. Take, for example, COVID-19’s effect on the California court system. Delays and backlogs during the pandemic caused courts to postpone preferential trials beyond 120 days.

California lawmakers were not persuaded by the bill’s opponents. Although it should be noted that SB 447 has a sunset provision. As a compromise with insurance companies, the law is only effective through the end of 2025. The governor signed the bill into law in October.

Increased Awareness of Mesothelioma Helps Pass Laws Like SB 447

Diseases such as mesothelioma highlight the issues with laws denying families pain and suffering damages on behalf of a deceased loved one. Increasing awareness of mesothelioma helps get laws like SB 447 on the books. And it helps encourage lawmakers to make these laws permanent. Individuals who want to help increase mesothelioma awareness may consider engaging with advocacy organizations such as the Meso Foundation.

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