Monday, October 5, 2015

Asbestos in Insulation

Asbestos contains microscopic fibers that, when released into the air, can be breathed into the lungs, where they can remain for several years before serious health issues become apparent. Exposure to these fibers can cause serious health issues, including cancers like mesothelioma. Insulation was the largest source of exposure to asbestos for workers throughout the 1900s.

Insulation Use

Insulation provides many benefits, including energy conservation, sound deadening, reduction of electrical conductivity, and help with the retention of hot and cold temperatures. Asbestos was particularly well-suited for these purposes, as it is fire resistant and a poor conductor of electricity. In addition, it was cheap and durable. The use of asbestos in insulation products began in the late 1800s to help protect against high-temperature pipes. By 1874, asbestos insulation products were commercially produced and sold on a large-scale basis.

Asbestos was used in (and can still be found in some) homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. In homes and other buildings, asbestos insulation was used in attics, ceilings, walls, around pipes, boilers, furnaces, and electrical boxes. Bans on the use of asbestos did not occur until the 1970s. In 1991, the ban was lifted, but products cannot contain more than one percent asbestos.

The five main categories of insulation that contained asbestos include:

  1. Attic: used for heating, ventilation, and cooling (air conditioning) systems. The most widely recognized brand was Zonolite.

  2. Pipe: often used to control temperatures of hot pipes, particularly those in the building of ships. Today, it is often crumbly, making it particularly dangerous due to fibers being released into the air. Air Cell was a common type.

  3. Block: applied to concrete blocks of homes and other buildings in order to maintain hot and cold temperatures; it provides protection from outside temperatures.

  4. Wall: controls the temperature inside a structure, like a home. It is placed inside the drywall between the studs. Often, wall insulation needed to be cut, which released fibers into the air, increasing exposure to fibers

  5. Spray Applied: popular because it was simple and inexpensive to apply to spaces to help control temperatures. The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) prohibited the use of spray-application materials containing more than one percent asbestos unless encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder.

One of the largest manufacturers of insulation products that contained asbestos was Johns Manville. Workers at particular risk of exposure to asbestos related to insulation included insulators, plumbers, electricians, and pipefitters.

Help for Asbestos Victims

If you believe that you or a loved one have been harmed by exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to recover for the damages you have suffered. For more information, speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos-related claims today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel across the nation to assist victims in the pursuit of recovery for the damages they have suffered. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing how we can help.

Asbestos in Insulation

Friday, September 11, 2015

Asbestos Abatement

Though the use of asbestos was largely halted in the 1980s, its widespread use for much of the twentieth century means it is not uncommon for people to come across asbestos in their homes or other buildings today. If this happens, it does not mean panic should set in, but there are precautions that should be exercised. By treating asbestos with caution, injury can be avoided.

Asbestos Abatement: Repair Versus Removal

Asbestos was extensively used in insulation and other products that required heat resistance. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is damaged or removed, which releases microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before serious health complications appear, such as mesothelioma or other cancers.

Asbestos that is damaged or that may be disturbed should either be repaired or removed. A repair involves the sealing or covering of the asbestos (or the product containing asbestos). Sealing or encapsulation occurs when material is treated with a sealant that either binds the fibers together or coats the material, which prevents any fibers from being released. Alternatively, covering or enclosure involves the placement of something over or around the material containing asbestos in order to prevent the release of fibers.

In some cases, removal is required. This is often necessary when remodeling or other work will likely disturb materials containing asbestos. Removal may also be necessary when a product with asbestos is excessively damaged.

Inspectors and Contractors

Inspectors inspect a home or building, make assessments of the conditions, obtain samples used for testing, and give advice on what should be done. Additionally, inspectors can also monitor the air to discover whether asbestos fibers were released, determine whether corrective action was completed following proper procedures, and ensure any cleanup was done correctly. In contrast, contractors actually perform the repair or removal of asbestos or materials containing asbestos.

Under federal law, there is no requirement that individuals who inspect, repair, or remove asbestos in detached, single-family homes be trained or accredited. However, some states or localities do require such training or accreditation. Before allowing someone to begin work, individuals should request documentation of the professional’s completion of federal or state-approved training.

The following are some things to expect when hiring an asbestos professional:

  • For an inspector: An inspector should complete a visual inspection of the entire home and collect samples for analysis in a lab. After the inspection is complete, the inspector should provide a written evaluation which details the exact location of all asbestos, the extent of any damage, and his or her recommendations for correction and prevention of harm.

  • For a contractor: A written contract should be provided which sets out the plan, cleanup, and applicable regulations that must be followed (these may include notification requirements and removal, handling and disposal procedures). Following completion of the contractor’s work, an inspector or independent air testing contractor should perform air monitoring.

Legal Help for Victims of Asbestos Exposure

Exposure to asbestos can have severe consequences. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of being exposed to asbestos, speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos-related diseases. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide compassionate legal advocacy for victims of asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos Abatement

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Discovery in Mesothelioma Cases

An important part of any lawsuit is the discovery process. Discovery is a pre-trial phase of a lawsuit in which all parties involved request and gather information related to the case. Due to the complex nature of mesothelioma claims, the discovery phase is critical. For victims in mesothelioma claims, it is important to be prepared for extensive questioning related to many different aspects of the person’s life. While this may seem personally invasive, it is a necessary step in the development of the claim.

What Does Discovery in Mesothelioma Cases Entail?

Discovery occurs before a trial begins and allows each party to obtain evidence from all opposing parties. In order to collect this evidence and information, the parties make use of interrogatories, requests for depositions, production of documents, and admissions. A majority of the information that will be involved in the case is exchanged during this phase of the lawsuit.

The information and evidence collected during discovery helps to give the attorneys a clearer idea of how the lawsuit may unfold if it continues all the way to trial. As a result of this, many settlements occur during the discovery phase, after the attorneys have a better sense of the potential chances of success.

Victims of mesothelioma who file a lawsuit seeking damages will be faced with thorough questioning and personal requests by the defendant. Some of the information that will likely be requested includes the following:

  • Employment history;

  • Medical history;

  • Family history of asbestos-related diseases or cancer;

  • Whether the victim is a smoker or was in the past;

  • Where and how the exposure to asbestos occurred;

  • Whether the victim’s employer instituted any regulations intended to limit asbestos exposure; and

  • The initial date and frequency of exposure.

It is important to be aware that the above are just some of the questions that may be raised by the defendant. There will likely be many more related to the victim’s exposure, diagnosis, and treatment. One way in which a victim will provide answers is through the use of interrogatories. These are like questionnaires in which written answers are provided.

Another way in which evidence and information is collected is through depositions. During a deposition, answers to questions are provided while under oath. Additionally, depositions are recorded and videotaped for documentation purposes. Both parties to the lawsuit will also contact the victim’s family members, co-workers, and former employers to collect more information. The victim’s primary healthcare provider will also have to answer questions related to the medical condition and treatment of the victim.

Some depositions last for only a few hours, while others may span over the period of several days. The length of time depositions last depends on a variety of issues, such as the complexity of the case. The entire discover phase typically lasts several months.

Compassionate Help for Victims

For more information about methods of recovery for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel the country to provide representation to victims of these aggressive diseases.

Discovery in Mesothelioma Cases

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Asbestos Class Action

Individuals exposed to asbestos fibers are at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Exposure was widespread up until the 1980s, when the dangers of exposure were officially recognized by the federal government. Unfortunately, by that time, many individuals had already been exposed to dangerous levels of fibers. As a result, there have been many asbestos-related claims against the manufacturers and employers that were responsible for causing exposure to victims.

Danger of Asbestos

Asbestos contains microscopic fibers that, when disturbed, are released into the air where they can be breathed into the lungs. They may remain in the lungs for several years (in some cases, even decades) before any damage is detected. Exposure to these fibers has been linked to the development of cancer, including mesothelioma. The cost of treating these diseases or conditions is often quite significant. As a result, victims frequently turn to lawsuits against those responsible for their exposure to recover damage awards that can help pay for medical expenses.

Asbestos Class Action:  Should I Join a Class Action?

A class action lawsuit involves a group of people collectively filing a claim against a defendant. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a group of people who are “similarly situated.” This means that a group of plaintiffs all have similar injuries caused by shared circumstances that raise the same legal issues. The court determines whether the similarities are sufficiently close enough and whether forcing all of the plaintiffs to file separate lawsuits would be overly burdensome.

An individual may be asked to join in a class action lawsuit if it is thought that the individual is similarly situated to the other plaintiffs. If this happens, the individual may elect to join the class action, but this will eliminate his or her ability to file an individual lawsuit against the defendant for the same injury. Alternatively, the individual can elect to “opt out” of the class action, which preserves his or her right to pursue an individual claim at a future date.

Due to the large number of claimants in a class action lawsuit, the result is typically a settlement agreement. This may be highly desirable for an individual who does not want to go through the expense and duration of a trial. However, joining a class action can also have negative consequences. For example, whether through a settlement or success at trial, the award will be divided among all of the claimants in a class action. Because of this, an individual, if successful, often ends up with a larger award by filing an individual claim than if they joined a class action. Before deciding whether or not to join a class action, it is important to consult with an attorney in order to protect your legal rights.

Helping Victims

Exposure to asbestos fibers can result in devastating diseases such as mesothelioma and other cancers. If you believe that you have developed a disease due to exposure to asbestos fibers, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide compassionate representation to victims of asbestos fiber exposure.

Asbestos Class Action

Monday, August 24, 2015

What is Asbestos?

The Industrial Revolution led to a rapid increase in the use of asbestos that continued until the mid-1970s. Asbestos could be found in just about every product made during the twentieth century and also found its way into homes and other buildings. Unfortunately, asbestos can be very dangerous, leading to the development of mesothelioma and other cancers.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of microscopic fibers. When released into the air, the fibers can be breathed in and remain in the lungs for long periods of time. An individual may have these fibers in their lungs for decades before serious complications develop.

There are two main types of asbestos – chrysotile (known as white asbestos) and amphibole. Chrysotile was the most common type of asbestos used in industrial applications. Chrysotile fibers wrap around themselves in the shape of a spiral, which has led to chrysotile being referred to as “serpentine” or “curly” asbestos. Amphibole asbestos is straight and needle-like. It includes several different types of asbestos, including amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite. Both chrysotile and amphibole are known to cause cancer and can lead to the development of mesothelioma.

Evidence that breathing in asbestos fibers causes scarring of the lungs was found during the first half of the 1900s, but for many decades the dangers of asbestos fibers were downplayed or ignored because of the benefits of asbestos. Asbestos is strong, heat-resistant, and does not conduct electricity. As a result, it became tremendously well-suited for insulation applications, including in ships, homes, and other structures. While asbestos use sharply declined beginning in the 1980s, it can still be found today, particularly in older homes or buildings.

What to Do After Exposure to Asbestos

If you believe you have come into contact with asbestos, the first step is to assess the level and length of exposure. If you were in contact with a small amount of asbestos fibers and for a short period of time, the danger that any health issues will arise is probably low. However, prolonged exposure of high levels can significantly increase your risk of developing cancer. This level of exposure often occurred with people whose work history involved dealing with products with asbestos. For example, individuals such as carpenters, shipbuilders, or power plant workers were often exposed to high levels of asbestos fibers while on the job.

It is important to speak with your doctor about your exposure to asbestos. Additionally, it may be advisable to see a specialist in asbestos-related diseases. Your doctor may recommend that you undergo regular chest x-rays or CT scans and lung function tests. Evidence indicates that early detection of asbestos-related disease can be important in treatment and lengthening the victim’s life.

Finally, there are symptoms to watch out for that, if they arise, are reason to contact your doctor immediately. These symptoms include shortness of breath, new or worsening cough, pain and/or tightness in the chest, trouble swallowing, or unintended weight loss.

Compassionate Help

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is likely that you will face significant costs for medical treatment. In some cases, it is possible to pursue a damage claim against those who are responsible for your exposure to asbestos. For more information, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide expert and caring legal representation to victims of exposure to asbestos

What is Asbestos?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Statute of Limitations in Asbestos Litigation

For individuals who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, a claim for damages may be made against those responsible for the exposure to asbestos. These claims can result in significant awards being granted to victims. However, an important aspect of these claims is the statute of limitations.

What is the Statute of Limitations in Asbestos Litigation?

The statute of limitations is the time a victim has to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the injuries caused. For personal injury cases, this period of time usually begins to run from the moment the injury occurs. When the injury occurs is usually fairly easy to determine. For example, if a person is hurt in a car accident, it is easy to determine when that accident occurred. Determining when the limitations period begins to run is important because once the period ends, a victim is usually barred from making a claim. The specific length of the statute of limitations varies by state and by the type of claim involved, but it is usually between one and six years.

In asbestos-related claims, statute of limitations issues are complicated by the nature of asbestos diseases. Asbestos becomes dangerous when microscopic fibers are released into the air and breathed into the lungs. These fibers can remain in the lungs for several decades before any issues caused by such exposure become present. Furthermore, exposure to asbestos fibers that results in the development of disease often occurs over an extended period of time, as opposed to a specific moment, such as in the case of a car accident. Therefore, pinpointing exactly when the injury occurs is very difficult.

Due to asbestos fibers’ long dormancy period, if the statute of limitations began running at the time of the injury (at the time of exposure to asbestos fibers), the period would most likely run before the victim ever became aware of any health issues. As a result of this, for asbestos-related claims, instead of starting the limitations period from the time of injury, the period begins at the time of discovery. The discovery rule in asbestos claims can be traced to the 1973 case of Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Prods. Corp.

The effect of the discovery rule is that the statute of limitations period does not begin until the victim knows or should have known of the injury. In other words, the limitations period does not begin until the effects of exposure to asbestos begin to manifest or show themselves. Under most circumstances, this moment is when a diagnosis is made. In most states, the statute of limitations period for asbestos-related claims is one or two years.

Fighting Asbestos Diseases

Combating asbestos-related diseases often requires significant medical treatment, which can become quite costly. As a result of this, victims frequently consider making claims against manufacturers or employers responsible for their exposure to asbestos. For more information about these types of claims, speak with an experienced mesothelioma and asbestos disease attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide compassionate legal advocacy for victims of these aggressive diseases.

Statute of Limitations in Asbestos Litigation

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Benefits of Hiring a Mesothelioma Attorney

Being diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease is a very serious issue. Combating these diseases will require significant medical treatment, which can end up being very expensive. As a result, many victims of these diseases seek the aid of a mesothelioma attorney in order to obtain assistance in pursuing monetary awards through personal injury claims.

What Can a Mesothelioma Attorney Provide?

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases develop after an individual is exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, exposure was quite common during much of the twentieth century. By the 1980s, the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers were widely known and the use of asbestos was discontinued. However, these diseases, in particular mesothelioma, may not develop for many years (in some cases up to 40 years) after the initial exposure. As a result of this, these types of claims are often very complex.

Asbestos-related cases are often quite complex because they involve both legal and medical issues. A diagnosis many years after the exposure can make proving the claim more difficult. This is because a causal connection between the exposure and the development of the disease must be proven. With many years between exposure and diagnosis, a common defense is that there are intervening causes for the development of the disease. A mesothelioma attorney experienced with these types of cases will know how best to counter this defense.

A mesothelioma attorney is valuable because these types of claims are often made against large companies, which devote extensive resources to defend against these types of claims. These companies often have a great deal of experience defending against claims like this. An attorney devoted to handling only asbestos-related claims can provide you with the same type of experience as these companies possess.

Usually, an attempt to reach a settlement agreement between the victim and the defendant is made before the claim goes to trial. Because of this, a mesothelioma attorney’s experience with what is a fair settlement offer is very important. A mesothelioma attorney will advise on whether to reject the offer and take the claim to trial. Some of the factors that will impact this decision include the progression of the disease and the likelihood of success at trial.

Finally, a victim of an asbestos-related disease may be seriously ill or need to spend a great deal of time receiving medical treatment. A mesothelioma attorney can help by filing required documents and making appearances in court or at settlement negotiations on the claimant’s behalf. This can be important in allowing the victim to focus on fighting against the disease.

Dedicated Mesothelioma Attorneys

At the Throneberry Law Group a mesothelioma diagnosis is personal. We can start helping you immediately by answering questions and serving as a resource for you and your family.   For more information, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide compassionate help for mesothelioma victims.



The Benefits of Hiring a Mesothelioma Attorney