Monday, May 25, 2015

States with Asbestos Issues

Today, the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers are widely understood. These dangers include significant long-term health consequences, such as mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers. Though it was used in products throughout the country, there are certain states that had a higher prevalence of it and a higher number of deaths associated with it.

While the use of asbestos in products was largely discontinued in the 1980s, individuals continue to be diagnosed with serious health conditions related to exposure to asbestos due to the ability of asbestos fibers to remain in the body for long periods of time. Asbestos becomes dangerous when microscopic fibers are released into the air and breathed into the lungs. Importantly, the effects of exposure to asbestos fibers may not become apparent for many years.

Where was it Commonly Used?

Asbestos was more common in certain states as a result of the particular industries that were located in those states. These industries included manufacturing, mining, and shipping. In Michigan, the automobile industry exposed many people to asbestos fibers. Asbestos was used in numerous automobile parts, including transmission components, clutches, brake pads, and spark plugs, among many others.

The rubber and plastic production industries in Ohio caused extensive asbestos exposure. Toledo’s Owens-Corning Fiberglass, which created Kaylo insulation, Fibreboard, and One Cote, eventually filed for bankruptcy as a result of the number of asbestos-related claims made by former employees.

Other states that caused high levels of asbestos exposure include Virginia, which is the home to the largest DuPont Chemical plant, and Massachusetts, which was the home to the Boston Naval Shipyard. Workers at DuPont were exposed in relation to the manufacturing of products such as Kevlar and Rayon. The Boston Naval Shipyard operated for 150 years manufacturing vessels for the Navy, as well as private ships.

States with Asbestos Issues:  Highest Incidence of Death

The state with the largest number of deaths attributed to malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis is California, followed by Florida and Pennsylvania. It should be noted that this measure of asbestos-related death is impacted by the population size of the state, as well as by the possibility that a person was exposed in one state and subsequently moved to another state. Still, this does give some indication of the states with a high-risk of asbestos-related diseases. The other states mentioned here rank seventh (Ohio), ninth (Michigan), and eleventh (Massachusetts).

In California, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and the W.R. Grace site are two places where exposure to asbestos was high. Notably in Florida, individuals were put at risk of exposure due to over 100,000 tons of asbestos being shipped from Montana to five Florida sites for processing.

If you would like more information about asbestos-related diseases and the legal remedies available to victims, speak with the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group. We will travel to you to help with your mesothelioma and asbestos cancer claims.

States with Asbestos Issues

Friday, May 15, 2015

VA Disability Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides compensation for veterans who suffer from a medical condition connected to the veteran’s military service. Quite often, these types of conditions arise as a result of the traumatic injuries on the battlefield. The VA also considers asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, to be conditions that are compensable. VA benefits can provide critical resources to a veteran suffering from the devastating effects of asbestos-related illness.

Asbestos in the Military

Individuals who served in the military, particularly before the 1980s, were at a high risk of being exposed to materials that contained asbestos. This is because the properties of asbestos made it highly suitable for use in machines that needed to be resistant to fire and heat. Though vehicles and other machines in all branches of the military contained asbestos, it was most widely used in naval ships. Because the effects of asbestos fiber exposure usually do not appear for several years, or even decades, it is common for veterans who served during the middle of the twentieth century to just now be diagnosed with serious conditions.

Process for VA Disability Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

The first step in obtaining VA disability benefits is to file a claim, which is accomplished through VA Form 21-526. The VA will obtain evidence, such as the veteran’s military history and medical records. This process can take up to four months, but can be expedited by providing the VA with the evidence required. In addition to collecting evidence, the VA may request that the veteran submit to an examination at a VA hospital.

After all of the evidence is collected, the VA rates the veteran’s disability. This rating system is a percentage, anywhere from zero to 100 percent, in 10 percent increments. The amount of benefit a veteran will receive is dependent upon the disability rating he or she receives. The rating decision usually takes between two to three months.

Once the decision is made, the VA provides the veteran will all of the reasons for the denial or acceptance of the disability claim. It is important to keep in mind that the decision can be appealed.

In order to prove a case for benefits, the veteran must show:

  1. That he or she suffers from a current medical condition;

  2. An event or condition occurred;

  3. That the event or condition occurred during military service (for asbestos-related claims, this often occurs as a result of service on a naval ship or through work at a shipyard); and

  4. A causal connection between the event and current condition.

Help for Veterans

If you served in the military and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition or disease, it is possible that you are eligible for VA benefits. For more information about methods of recovery as a result of being exposed to asbestos, you should speak with an attorney with knowledge in this specialized area. At the Throneberry Law Group, we would be happy to use our experience and expertise to help you.

VA Disability Compensation for Asbestos Exposure

Friday, May 8, 2015

Asbestos Related Claims under FELA

Individuals who worked in the railroad industry are very likely to have been exposed to materials that contained asbestos. Exposure to asbestos-containing materials increases the risk of long-term health issues. Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), railroad workers are afforded a special way of potentially recovering for health conditions that develop as a result of exposure to asbestos. Today, numerous railroad companies have been involved in litigation brought under FELA.

Danger to Railroad Workers

The use of asbestos was widely abandoned in the 1970s when the dangers of exposure to it were recognized by the federal government. Due to the size of the railroad industry during the twentieth century, there are many people who were exposed to asbestos. Further, because of the specific properties of asbestos, it was widely used for railroad materials, including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Insulation, including materials in locomotives, such as boilers, the outside of the engine, under the body of the train, and in boxcars;

  2. Equipment, such as cement ties, plaster, and sealing materials; and

  3. Locomotive parts, such as brake pads, the transmission clutch, and tiles in passenger cars.

Workers possibly affected by exposure to asbestos include those who worked on or constructed railroads, such as by laying track, as well as those individuals who constructed locomotives, rail cars, or parts used in the industry.

Asbestos Related Claims under FELA

FELA was enacted in 1908 with the purpose of providing protection and a method for railroad workers to recover compensation as a result of injuries that occurred while on the job. The need for FELA arose because railroad companies are not subject to the requirements of the workers’ compensation program. Though FELA became law well before the hazards of asbestos exposure were known, it has been successfully used to make claims for people who have developed asbestos-related medical conditions.

In order to recover, the railroad worker is required to prove that the railroad company was at least partially negligent in causing the injury. Under FELA, a railroad company can be forced to pay damages to any employee injured as a result of the company’s negligence or any defect or insufficiency in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats, wharves, or other equipment.

Asbestos is considered a toxic material that could cause detrimental health effects as a result of on-the-job exposure for railroad workers. A railroad worker harmed by exposure to materials containing asbestos can potentially recover for pain and suffering and medical care costs, as well as for the related expenses of family members impacted by the illness, injury, or death of the railroad worker.

We Can Help

If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is possible that you are at increased risk of developing serious health conditions, including mesothelioma or other cancers. For more information about asbestos-related health issues and the legal remedies available,contact the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group. We provide compassionate legal representation to victims of asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos Related Claims under FELA

Friday, May 1, 2015

Asbestos in Schools

After the federal government officially recognized in the 1970s that exposure to asbestos fibers increased the risk of long-term health risks, the use of asbestos in products was largely discontinued. However, much of the asbestos already used was not removed, meaning buildings around the country still contain materials that have asbestos in them today. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) provides special regulations for how asbestos is treated when it is located within schools.

AHERA and Asbestos in Schools

Under AHERA, school districts and non-profit schools, such as charter or religious schools, are required to:

1. Inspect their schools for asbestos-containing building material; and

2. Prepare management plans and to take action to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards.

An initial inspection is required to determine whether any asbestos-containing materials are present. In addition, a re-inspection of any materials that contain asbestos must be completed every three years. The inspections must be completed by trained and licensed professionals. However, schools must also provide training to members of the custodial staff on asbestos awareness.

A copy of the asbestos management plan must be kept at the school. The plan should document recommended response action, the location of the asbestos in the school, and any action that has been taken to repair or remove asbestos-containing material. AHERA also requires schools to provide yearly notification to parents, teachers, and employee organizations on the availability of the management plan.

The removal of materials containing asbestos is usually not required unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed as a result of demolition or renovation of the building. This is because asbestos is not dangerous as long as it is not disturbed. Disturbing or damaging asbestos causes the release of microscopic fibers into the air that, if breathed in, can cause significant health risks. As a result of this danger, if asbestos must be removed, the school must comply with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).

NESHAP requires notification to the proper state agency prior to demolition or any renovation of a building that could contain a certain threshold amount of asbestos. Further, NESHAP requires that the following procedures be followed during removal of asbestos:

  1. Wetting the asbestos-containing removal;

  2. Sealing the asbestos-containing material in leak-tight containers; and

  3. Disposal of the asbestos-containing material as expediently as possible.

The focus of NESHAP is to ensure that the area where work is being performed is not contaminated and that, after the work is completed, there will not be a contamination.

Help with Mesothelioma and Asbestos-related Cancer Victims

While the use of asbestos ended in the 1970s, it is still common to find asbestos-containing materials in buildings today. Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause serious health consequences, such as mesothelioma or other cancers. If you are suffering from mesothelioma or an asbestos-related cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos, you should speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos-related matters. At the Throneberry Law Group, we can help you explore and understand all of your legal options.

Asbestos in Schools

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Asbestos Abatement under NESHAP

Though the use ofasbestos was largely discontinued in the 1970s, there are many buildings that still contain the product. For the most part, asbestos poses little or no threat so long as it is not disturbed. As a result, asbestos was simply left in buildings in order to avoid the expense and difficulty of removing it. However, when repairs or reconstruction are required, materials containing asbestos may be disturbed. Because of this, there are numerous laws regulating the process of removal, known as asbestos abatement. Here, we focus on regulations under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) or asbestos abatement under NESHAP.

General Information about Abatement

Under ordinary circumstances, asbestos in buildings does not pose a significant threat. The danger emerges when asbestos is disturbed or moved, which releases microscopic fibers into the air. This can occur when work is undertaken on a building, which will necessitate the safe removal of the products or materials containing asbestos. Additionally, opening walls or doing other work on a building that makes asbestos accessible may provide a good opportunity to remove it, even though it is not affected by the work. The safe removal of asbestos is critically important, but can also be expensive, which caused some individuals to not remove it in a safe manner. As a result, the need for laws standardizing conduct related to asbestos abatement became apparent. Both state and federal laws regulate asbestos abatement. The types of regulations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. How asbestos is handled and disposed of;

  2. The training and licensing of authorized asbestos contractors; and

  3. Accreditation of laboratories to test air samples after removal.

Asbestos Abatement under NESHAP

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed NESHAP in order to protect the public from exposure to airborne contaminants that pose hazards to people’s health. UnderNESHAP, prior to any demolition or renovation, a thorough inspection of the affected building or part of the building where the demolition or renovation will occur must be completed to search for the presence of regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM). Further, the owner of the building must give written notice to the EPA stating the intention to demolish or renovate. NESHAP requires that all RACM must be removed before any activity beings that may break up, dislodge, or similarly disturb the material or preclude access to the material for subsequent removal. If there is material with RACM on it that is being removed as a unit or in sections, the RACM exposed during the cutting or disjoining must be wetted. This is to help keep it from escaping into the air. Further, during the removal of such material, it must be carefully lowered to the floor or ground level, as opposed to being dropped, thrown, or slid on the ground.

Compassionate Attorneys

Asbestos exposure can lead to significant health complications, including mesothelioma. If you would like more information about asbestos-related conditions and the legal claims you can make for harm you have suffered,speak with an experienced attorney at the Throneberry Law Group

Asbestos Abatement under NESHAP

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pain and Suffering in Mesothelioma Cases

Individuals who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers may choose to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the exposure. These lawsuits can be critical in helping an individual recover resources that will help them pay for medical treatment. One way in which the amount of damages may be determined is by valuing the victim’s pain and suffering.

What is Pain and Suffering in Mesothelioma Cases?

An individual may experience physical and mental pain and suffering as the result of developing mesothelioma. Physical pain and suffering includes a person’s actual physical injuries. This involves the pain and discomfort that the person’s condition imposes on them. In mesothelioma claims, this may include pain in the chest, abdomen, or pain during coughing. Additionally, there is pain and discomfort as a result of treatment the individual receives.

Additionally, a person may experience mental pain and suffering. This involves any negative emotions as a result of the condition, including, but not limited to, mental anguish, emotional distress, fear, anxiety, or the loss of enjoyment life. A person diagnosed with mesothelioma may experience many of these emotions as a result of the numerous symptoms associated with the disease. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Shortness of breath;

  2. Weight loss;

  3. Bowel obstruction;

  4. Anemia; or

  5. If the cancer spreads, difficulty swallowing or swelling of the face and neck.

Further, if the prognosis is not good, there is significant mental pain and suffering as the victim faces the prospect of their life ending.

How is Pain and Suffering in Mesothelioma Cases Determined?

It can be difficult to value an individual’s pain and suffering because it is largely subjective. Unlike a person’s medical bills, pain and suffering is not easily quantifiable. Often, there are no specific guidelines for the jury to follow in making the determination of the value of pain and suffering. Instead, the judge will instruct the jury to use their best judgment to reasonably value the claim. As a result, providing the jury with a clear picture of how the diagnosis and symptoms of mesothelioma have affected the victim’s life will help in obtaining the highest possible award.

In some instances, the court will use what is known as a multiplier to determine the amount of pain and suffering to award. When using a multiplier, the court will multiply the total medical bills and lost earnings by some number, usually between 1.5 and 5. The product of that multiplication is the pain and suffering award.

Speak with a Mesothelioma Attorney

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be facing significant medical expense in your battle with this disease. Filing a lawsuit to recover damages from those responsible for your exposure to asbestos fibers can help you obtain the resources you need to pay for medical expenses. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have experience in helping victims file these types of claims. If you have any questions,contact us today.

Pain and Suffering in Mesothelioma Cases

Friday, April 10, 2015

Workers' Compensation and Asbestos Claims

The workers’ compensation system was developed with the purpose of compensating laborers who were injured in the workplace. For victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, workers’ compensation claims may be a method for recovery. However, there are limitations and issues to account for when considering whether to file a workers’ compensation for asbestos claims.

About Workers’ Compensation

Most states adopted laws in the 1920s putting in place workers’ compensation programs. Today, every state has a system, as well as a federal system for federal employees. Workers’ compensation eliminated the need for an injured worker to file lawsuit against his or her employer. Instead, the worker files a claim and may receive the following:

  1. Medical care, such as the costs related to hospital visits, surgery, or medication;

  2. Disability income; or

  3. Help finding another job.

Generally speaking, an injured worker is not allowed to file a lawsuit against an employer for injuries sustained in the workplace. This is because workers’ compensation does not require the worker to prove fault for his or her injury. In exchange for not having to prove fault, employers are usually shielded from lawsuits. However, there are exceptions, such as if the employer intentionally injured the worker.

The specific benefits an injured worker will receive depend on the state that the individual worked in. Some general issues that in most cases affect the benefit include the severity of the injury, whether the worker will be able to return to work, either in the short-term or long-term, and whether a structured settlement agreement is used.

Issues with Workers’ Compensation and Asbestos Claims

As with lawsuits, there are time constraints (called statute of limitations) on filing a workers’ compensation claim. This can create issues, particularly for mesothelioma because of the long latency period. By the time a person shows symptoms or is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it may be too late to file a claim. It is important to keep in mind that whether the time for filing a claim has passed will depend on the particular circumstances of your case and the laws of the state involved.

Under a workers’ compensation claim, the injured worker is only getting compensation from his or her employer and not the manufacturer of any products that contained asbestos or contractors and suppliers who may have facilitated asbestos exposure.. However, a lawsuit can still be filed against the manufacturer, supplier or contractor. Lawsuits against a manufacturer, supplier or contractor will allow for the possibility of greater awards than workers’ compensation claims because these types of claims are often capped. In addition, lawsuits raise the chance of being awarded punitive damages and pain and suffering, which can significantly increase the award amount. It is also important to note that there may be multiple manufacturers that made products that contained asbestos and were handled by a worker. Naming multiple manufacturers, suppliers and contractors as defendants can increase the potential for higher damage awards when compared to workers’ compensation and asbestos claims.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

Dealing with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease is very difficult and can be expensive. It is important for victims and their families to consider every method for recovery of compensation to help fight these health issues. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease,contact the Throneberry Law Group. We understand what you are going through and would like to help.

Workers" Compensation and Asbestos Claims