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Oregon ranks high among states for asbestos-related deaths from mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer because of some of its major industries, like shipbuilding, timber, and pulp and paper processing. Oregon mesothelioma lawyers help victims of exposure make tough legal and financial decisions and seek justice against those responsible.Get Financial Help Now
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Filing an Asbestos or Mesothelioma Claim in Oregon
If you were exposed to asbestos in Portland, Eugene, Salem, Gresham, Hillsboro, Bend, Beaverton, or anywhere else in the state, talk to an Oregon mesothelioma lawyer.
It is essential that you work with a local mesothelioma lawyer in Oregon to get justice and seek damages. Asbestos claims can be complicated, but if you were exposed, you have legal rights and options:
- Personal injury lawsuit. Mesothelioma is almost always the result of negligent asbestos exposure. This means you can hold asbestos companies accountable. With a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek damages for medical and other expenses. If your loved one dies from mesothelioma, you can seek damages through a wrongful death claim.
- Asbestos trust fund claim. When asbestos companies go bankrupt over lawsuit costs, they are required to set up trust funds to compensate future claimants. A lawyer can help you find any trusts to apply for compensation.
- VA Benefits claim. Lawyers and Veterans Services Officers also help veterans whose mesothelioma resulted from asbestos exposure during military service. The VA rates mesothelioma as 100% debilitating and offers compensation.
How Much Compensation Can I Get from a Mesothelioma Claim?
Compensation amounts vary significantly by type and individual case. Lawsuits usually generate the most compensation, but they can end in settlements or record-setting jury awards.
An expert lawyer is the best person to give you an estimate of damages you can expect to recover, but they cannot make any guarantees. These are some examples of high-profile asbestos cases in Oregon that resulted in significant compensation for the plaintiffs:
- $36.5 Million for Mine Worker. The case took place in Montana but involved an Oregon man who worked in vermiculite mines in Libby, Montana and later developed asbestosis. The mines contained asbestos, but the company, W.R. Grace, failed to warn or protect workers.
- $8.75 Million for Carpenter. David Hoff worked on construction sites in and around Portland for decades. He now has mesothelioma. He attributes his illness to exposure to asbestos in Kaiser Gypsum products. A Multnomah County jury awarded him significant damages.
- $5.7 Million for U.S. Navy Pipefitter. Robert Sprague served in the navy and worked as a pipefitter where he was exposed to asbestos materials. He later developed mesothelioma. A judge dismissed defendant John Crane’s motion for a new trial after the jury awarded Sprague damages.
- $3.95 Million for Paper Mill Worker. Robert Golik died from mesothelioma after asbestos exposure from his longtime job in several Oregon paper mills. His family pursued a case and was awarded nearly $4 million by a jury in Multnomah County.
Where Was I Exposed to Asbestos in Oregon?
One of the first things a lawyer will do for you is investigate your past asbestos exposure. They have insider knowledge and can track down where and when you were exposed and the companies responsible, just by using your work history.
All states have had problems with asbestos, and Oregon is no exception. Most states are still dealing with the consequences of widespread past asbestos use.
Oregon has specific industries that have caused people to be exposed and still put people at risk. These include the timber industry with its factories for processing pulp and paper.
Shipbuilding has also been a primary industry along the Pacific coast and one that relied heavily on asbestos. Finally, mining and natural asbestos deposits have exposed workers in the past and continue to put Oregonians at risk of harm.
Asbestos Deposits and Mining
Oregon is home to several natural deposits of asbestos, mainly in the southwest and the northeast. Several of these deposits were active asbestos mines, producing the material and exposing workers to the harmful fibers.
Any residents nearby were also exposed as the mining stirred up fibers and contaminated the air. While asbestos mining has ceased, naturally occurring asbestos still poses a risk. Any work or construction project that disturbs the asbestos can lead to exposure in nearby residents and workers.
The Lumber and Paper Industry
Lumber has long been a major industry in this heavily forested state. Workers did not just cut down trees, though. They processed the lumber to make wood pulp and paper. Lumber, pulp, and paper mills all used asbestos in boilers, in insulation, and in the machinery and equipment workers used, putting those employees at risk of exposure.
The Chiloquin Lumber and Box Company in Klamath County operated for decades until 1988. Asbestos cleanup at the site didn’t start until 2005. In the years in between, nearby residents risked exposure.
Shipbuilding and Asbestos
Oregon has an important maritime industry that includes shipbuilding. Asbestos was used heavily in ship construction, particularly during World War II. It was cheap and common, added lightweight strength to other materials, and was fireproof, making it attractive to shipwrights.
Anyone who worked in or around shipyards in Oregon during peak asbestos use likely came into contact with it. Those at the most significant risk of getting sick were workers who built or repaired ships and handled asbestos materials, such as spray-on asbestos insulation used in many ships.
The high use of asbestos on vessels helps explain why U.S. Navy veterans have some of the highest rates of mesothelioma.
North Ridge Estates Superfund Site
Oregon is home to several Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites containing asbestos. One is the North Ridge Estates, a residential community in Klamath Falls, built on the former site of a military barracks constructed with asbestos insulation, roofing, tiles, and other materials.
When the asbestos-laden barracks were demolished, the asbestos materials were simply covered with soil instead of being encapsulated or removed from the site. The modern subdivision was built atop a contaminated stew of dirt and asbestos.
The EPA listed North Ridge Estates as a top priority for cleanup. Several feet of soil needs to be removed from the site, and cleanup is not yet complete. In the meantime, families there have been put at risk of exposure and illness.
Other Sites in Oregon with Asbestos
In addition to timber and paper, shipbuilding, construction, and mining, Oregon was home to many other industries and buildings that used asbestos and exposed workers and residents.
These include military installations, metalworking plants, power plants, and others. A few of these are:
- Alaska Ferries, Portland
- Blitz Weinhard Company, Portland
- Oregon Shipyard, Portland
- Willamette Shipyard, Portland
- Western Kraft Paper Mill, Albany
- Boise Cascade Paper Mill, Salem
- Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Clatskanie
- Southern Pacific Railroad, Klamath Falls
- Oregon Pulp and Paper Company, Salem
- Eugene Water and Electric Board Plant, Eugene
- Weyerhaeuser Lumber, Eugene
- Henry J. Kaiser Shipyard, Swan Island
- Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation, Portland
- Martin-Marietta Aluminum Plant, The Dalles
- Northwestern Electric Company, Portland
- Publishers Paper, Portland and Oregon City
- Roseburg Lumber Company, Dillard
- Albina Shipyard, Portland
- Burns Air Force Radar Station, Burns
- Oregon Steel Mills, Portland
Is Asbestos Still a Danger in Oregon?
Unfortunately, yes, current residents and workers in Oregon can still be exposed to asbestos today. One of the biggest issues in exposure is the asbestos materials that linger in older buildings.
A recent lawsuit illustrates the ongoing risk. John Neves filed and won a whistleblower lawsuit against MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn. Neves supervised six young offenders in remodeling buildings on the site.
Neves was fired after complaining that MacLaren supervisors knew about asbestos in the buildings and didn’t warn him. Ultimately the facility put both Neves and the students at risk of harmful asbestos exposure. A jury in Marion County awarded Neves $250,000.
Residents face exposure risks in their own homes. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently fined a contractor and Multnomah County for failing to follow asbestos safety regulations when working on a home in North Portland. The County allowed an unlicensed contractor to do the work.
Asbestos Laws in Oregon
Laws in Oregon protect people from future asbestos exosure and fine people and companies who violate them. Negligence laws in the state affect how mesothelioma patients take legal action and recover damages.
Asbestos Safety Regulations
Laws regarding asbestos use and handling are administered through Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The department oversees federal laws and administers state-level regulations.
Anyone who will be working with asbestos must be certified by the state. Asbestos abatement projects must be cleared through the department, and disposal must be done carefully and at a licensed facility.
The Oregon legislature recently authorized more spending for the state’s DEQ asbestos program. The DEQ is seeing more demolitions across the state, many of which involve older buildings with asbestos. The additional funding will help do more testing and safe removal.
Statute of Limitations
The state of Oregon has set limits on when you can file a lawsuit for asbestos-related illnesses or the death of a loved one from asbestos exposure. The statute of limitations is two years from the diagnosis of a disease and three years from the time of death.
The time limit is supposed to discourage frivolous lawsuits, but it also means that genuine victims of asbestos exposure may miss out on much-needed compensation. Because of these limits, you must act quickly to take legal action.
Bare Metal Defense Not Valid in Oregon
Some states apply a bare metal defense in asbestos cases. This means that a company is protected from liability if a product it made only contained asbestos because of replacement parts with asbestos. Oregon does not accept this defense from defendants in asbestos lawsuits.
No Lohrmann Test Required
Many states have a strict set of requirements for a plaintiff to prove asbestos exposure caused their illness. Known as the Lohrmann test, plaintiffs must show frequency, regularity, and proximity of asbestos.
Oregon does not require the Lohrmann test for asbestos plaintiffs. Plaintiffs only need to show that an asbestos product was a significant contributing factor to their illness.
Mesothelioma Care in Oregon
If you have been exposed to asbestos in Oregon, whether on the job or some other way, you should receive regular screenings. The sooner you get a diagnosis for mesothelioma, the better because the cancer is easier to treat in the early stages. If you are diagnosed, look for the best cancer care you can find.
In Oregon, the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland is a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. This distinction means you can expect expert care with leading treatments from experienced staff working on the latest cancer research.
Find an Oregon Mesothelioma Lawyer
The best way to ensure you do not miss out because of the statute of limitations or other mistakes is to rely on the help of an Oregon mesothelioma lawyer.
When you search for one of these professionals or a legal team devoted to helping mesothelioma victims, you get the best chance of filing a lawsuit that will be successful. Many people have won justice and compensation, but others have failed. You need the best on your side, so look for a lawyer with the knowledge and experience to get asbestos victims settlements.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.