Hawaii Mesothelioma Lawyers

Summary

Hawaii, also known as the Aloha State, is the only state outside of continental North America and is home to 1.4 million people. Hawaii was heavily involved in military operations during and after World War II. Along with military and naval bases, the state is engaged in oil refining, two industries that have a long history of asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma Cases in Hawaii

Statistically, Hawaii has a very low rate of mesothelioma, ranking number 42nd across all 50 states.

MJN Brief

Since 1979, over 198 Hawaiian citizens have died from asbestos-related diseases. Out of these deaths, around 135 have been caused by mesothelioma, with 105 cases reported in Honolulu, the largest city in Hawaii.

Lawsuits have been filed across the state, resulting in significant negotiation settlements for patients and their families. Some settlements have included punitive damages against companies that produced or sold asbestos containing materials (ACM) along with negligent employers.Hawaiians that have been diagnosed and still living with mesothelioma have put forward lawsuits for personal injury. The families of deceased Hawaiians have also filed for wrongful death. These settlements have helped patients and their loved ones cope with the financial and emotional burden of the disease.

Punitive damages attached to these mesothelioma lawsuits have helped hold companies and employers accountable for their negligent actions.

Asbestos Use in Hawaii

Exposure to asbestos can happen in many industrial settings, but it can also occur naturally through mineral deposits. Lucky for Hawaiians, the state contains no naturally occurring asbestos. However, Hawaii is heavily involved in various industries that have been known to use ACM.

Military Operations

Hawaii has one of the largest concentrations of military and naval bases in the nation. Many of these structures were rebuilt after the attack on Pearl Harbour using ACM. This has put Hawaiians in the military industry at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.

Building materials containing asbestos are frequently used across the military. As asbestos is a durable substance with abilities to withstand high temperatures, fire and electricity, it was a common building material for military bases and naval vessels.

Oil Refining

Hawaii’s isolation from the rest of North America has put the state in a unique position in terms of energy consumption and production. Hawaii is the most petroleum-dependent state in the nation, with two crude oil refineries in Honolulu supplying almost all of the state’s demand.

Oil refining equipment is well known for its presence of ACM, putting employees at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. Individuals who work in this industry are often required to manipulate equipment, which can cause asbestos to be released into the air.

Other Occupations

Cases of mesothelioma have been recorded across other occupations in Hawaii. Some of these cases have been reported due to direct exposure to asbestos in the workplace, while secondhand exposure has caused others.

The following occupations in Hawaii may put individuals at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma:

  • Welding and metal fabrication
  • Insulation work
  • Construction and demolition work
  • Drywall installation
  • Concrete pouring and bricklaying
  • Pipefitting and steamfitting
  • Work within sugarcane shipyards

Hawaii Asbestos Laws and Regulations

Although most ACM are out of circulation, asbestos can still be found in industrial buildings, schools and homes across Hawaii. Workers regularly repair or demolish these infrastructures, putting them at risk for being exposed to asbestos.

The Indoor and Radiological Health Branch within the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health has created strict regulations to protect public health and the environment from exposure to asbestos.

The following policies were developed by the state to protect citizens during the removal, transport and disposal of ACM:

  • Renovation and demolition projects need to be submitted to the state before plans can move forward
  • A contractor/supervisor trained in asbestos regulations must be present at all projects involving the handling of asbestos
  • ACM need to be wet until collected or treated in preparation for disposal
  • ACM taken out of facilities need to be contained in transparent, leak-tight wrapping for transport
  • Asbestos may only be disposed of at permitted landfills

Hawaii Statute of Limitations on Asbestos Claims

Hawaiian citizens affected by mesothelioma should know that the statute of limitations on filing a personal injury claim is 2 years. The discovery rule also applies, which means that the time frame to file for personal injury begins when the plaintiff discovered (or should have) the disease. For wrongful death lawsuits, the statute of limitation is 2 years and starts after the date of death.

Retaining a Hawaii Mesothelioma Lawyer

Mesothelioma litigation is a complicated process. For this reason, it’s crucial for patients and their families work with a lawyer who has experience and training in the field. Specialized mesothelioma attorneys will be able to successfully negotiate settlements on your behalf, reducing the stress and burden of the lawsuit.

If you have been exposed to asbestos in Hawaii and have developed mesothelioma as a result, contact our Justice Team today.

View Author and Sources
Sources
  1. Environmental Working Group, “Asbestos: Think Again: Deaths Due to Asbestos Related Diseases by State”. Retrieved from: https://www.ewg.org/research/maps/deaths-due-asbestos-related-diseases#.Wr8mErbMyt8. Accessed on April 15, 2018.
  2. Hawai’i Life, “United States Military Bases & Compounds in Hawaii”. Retrieved from: https://www.hawaiilife.com/blog/memorial-day-military-trivia/. Accessed on April 15, 2018
  3. U.S Energy Information Administration, “Hawaii: State Profile and Energy Estimates”. Retrieved from: https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=HI. Accessed on April 15, 2018
  4. Department of Health, “Hawaii Administrative Rules: Asbestos Requirements". Retrieved from: http://health.hawaii.gov/opppd/files/2015/06/11-501.pdf. Accessed on April 15, 2018
  5. Epidemiology, “A case-control study of mesothelioma and employment in the Hawaii sugarcane industry”. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7918819. Accessed on April 15, 2018

Last modified: May 2, 2018