Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease that often develops as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. In combating this disease, the financial costs are often significant. This can create, along with the battle with the disease itself, a great deal of emotional distress for victims and their families.

Development of Mesothelioma

Individuals exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers may be at risk of developing mesothelioma. The risk of exposure was highest during the period between the 1940s and 1980s. However, it is still very possible to encounter asbestos today. There are three major types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lung’s protective lining, is the most common form, accounting for about three-quarters of all mesothelioma cases.

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

It has been estimated that the total cost of mesothelioma treatment can range between $150,000 to over $1 million. The cost varies for different individuals, depending on factors such as the age of the victim, the stage of the mesothelioma, and the overall health status of the victim. Costs for mesothelioma include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Physicians and other healthcare providers;

  2. Hospitalization, including potential surgery;

  3. Chemotherapy;

  4. Radiation treatment; or

  5. In some cases, airfare or driving expenses and lodging in order to travel to facilities that provide treatment.

Additionally, the two most common medications used in treatment, Alimta and Cisplatin, cost around $4,100 for one treatment cycle. Under most circumstances, more than one cycle will be required with no guarantee that it will result in a cure.

Earlier diagnosis increases the chance for survival, which, of course, is the best possible outcome. But, earlier diagnosis often leads to higher costs of treatment. This is particularly true of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma because the effects, historically, often did not become apparent until there was very little that could be done in terms of treatment. As the ability to diagnosis mesothelioma earlier becomes possible, the amount and range of treatment options increases, which increases costs.

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs:  Paying for Treatment

Some of the treatment for mesothelioma are covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. If an individual does not have the costs fully covered by those sources, financial assistance information is available through social services units at hospitals, the Cancer Information Network, or the American Cancer Society. Needing financial help is common, particularly for individuals who are forced to stop working as a result of having mesothelioma. This is often why pursuing legal action against manufacturers or employers responsible for the exposure to asbestos is so critical to victims.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

Even today, new diagnoses of mesothelioma are made in victims who were exposed to asbestos fibers decades ago. Unfortunately, because of the potential long dormancy period of asbestos fibers in the lungs, this will likely continue for many more years. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers, contact the experienced mesothelioma law attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group.


Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Monday, June 22, 2015

W.R. Grace and Libby Mine

W.R. Grace and Libby mine located in Libby, Montana contained a deposits of asbestos that continues to receive attention from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today. While the cleanup effort in Libby has been extensive, the dangers of the mine are present throughout the nation. This is because the vermiculite containing asbestos mined from Libby was used extensively in insulation materials shipped to all parts of the country.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that, when exposed to extremely high temperatures, expands from 8 to 30 times its original size. The result is a lightweight, fire-resistant, and odorless product that was found very well suited for use in insulation placed in walls and attics. The source of the majority of asbestos sold in the United States from 1919 to 1990 was from the Libby mine. The asbestos that was used in insulation by W.R. Grace was sold under the brand name Zonolite. The Zonolite products included Zonolite Super 40, Zonolite Mono-Kote and Zonolite plaster.

In 1963, W.R. Grace took over operations of the mine. At that time, W.R. Grace was aware of the asbestos and that it caused health issues, but did not disclose this to workers or townspeople, and mining continued.

As a result of the widespread use of the asbestos mined from Libby, insulation containing asbestos ended up in homes across the country, where it may still remain today. Disturbing asbestos is dangerous because it releases microscopic fibers into the air which can then be breathed in. These fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before the harm they can cause is detected.

EPA Response to Libby

In 1999, the EPA began an extensive cleanup process of Libby. By 2010, the EPA had cleaned 1,460 business and residences, removing approximately 900,000 cubic yards of materials contaminated with asbestos. The EPA is currently operating a public comment period on its proposed plan for the continuing cleanup in Libby. This comment period ends July 8, 2015. This demonstrates the significant danger that the Libby mine and site continues to present, as 16 years after cleanup first began, the EPA continues to have concern over the site.

U.S. Department of Justice Response to W.R. Grace and Libby Mines

In 2005, W.R. Grace and seven W.R. Grace executives were indicted for knowingly endangering the Libby, Montana residents and concealing information of the health effects of the W.R. Grace mining operations. The criminal case lingered in the court system with pretrial proceedings reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. By 2009, W.R. Grace had paid millions in medical bills to Libby residents, but was acquitted of charges it knowingly harmed the people of Libby and participated in any cover-up.

Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma and other serious health conditions. If you believe you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your legal options, contact us today. The Throneberry Law Group provides compassionate legal representation across the country to victims of asbestos exposure.


W.R. Grace and Libby Mine

Monday, June 15, 2015

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure

Carpenters Exposed to Asbestos

For much of the twentieth century, carpenters played an integral part in the development of the United States. These individuals helped construct many of the homes and buildings that still stand and are used today. Unfortunately, during much of this period, carpenters were exposed to dangerous microscopic asbestos fibers. This exposure can lead to the development of mesothelioma or other serious asbestos-related diseases.

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was used in all kinds of construction materials up until the 1980s. Unfortunately, carpentry work was extremely prevalent during the period from the 1940s into the 1980s. As part of the “Baby Boom” following World War II, carpenters were very busy constructing homes and buildings across the country. Before metal studs existed for use in the framing of buildings, carpenters were responsible for this process. As a result, carpenters were exposed to large amounts of asbestos fibers.

Though these carpenters were most widely associated with working with wood, they were also working with and around all kinds of other construction materials that contained asbestos. This includes materials such as:

  • Wallboard, plaster, and joint compounds

  • Brick mortar

  • Roof shingles

  • Insulation for walls and attics

  • Plumbing materials

  • Ceiling and flooring

  • Electrical wiring

  • Paints and stains

In addition, carpenters also handled asbestos sheets, often cutting them into appropriate sizes for various applications. The process of cutting these sheets not only released fibers into the air that the carpenters breathed in, it also caused them to be covered in asbestos dust, which exposed their family members and other individuals to asbestos fibers that these carpenters came into contact with.

There are generally two types of carpenters that work in the construction of buildings. A “rough” carpenter is responsible for the large framing of the house or building. These types of carpenters were often at a higher risk of exposure to asbestos fibers due to the work they were completing and the work of others around them that occurred while framing was being completed. Another type of carpenter is known as a “finish” carpenter. These carpenters are considered more highly skilled because their work often requires greater precision. Finish carpenters are responsible for creating furniture and cabinetry. Their risk of asbestos exposure is considered less than that of rough carpenters.

Although asbestos use ended in the 1980s, it is still possible today for carpenters to be exposed to asbestos fibers through remodeling or renovation projects. If it is thought that materials encountered during a remodeling or renovation project contain asbestos, a professional in asbestos removal should be contacted before the carpenter begins or continues work.

Carpenters who were harmed due to exposure to asbestos fibers can file claims against the companies that manufactured or supplied the products that contained asbestos. Additionally, carpenters can file lawsuits against employers that knew of the dangers of asbestos exposure and did not warn or protect workers.

Compassionate Help

The damage that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause is often devastating. If you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your potential legal options, speak with an attorney experienced in mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide understanding and expertise in helping victims of exposure to asbestos fibers.

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure

Monday, June 1, 2015

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

The risk of exposure to asbestos fibers is often associated with individuals who worked with or around products that contained asbestos. However, people who come in contact with workers who are exposed to asbestos fibers are also at risk of the dangers of asbestos. These dangers include the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.

Why is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos was used in many products up until the 1980’s, when the dangers of it were universally recognized. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is disturbed and releases microscopic fibers into the air. Once these fibers are released into the air, they can be breathed in and may remain in the lungs. The effects of asbestos fiber exposure may not become apparent for many years or even decades.

How Second-hand Asbestos Exposure Occurs

Second-hand asbestos exposure involves exposure to the asbestos fibers without actually working with the material that contains asbestos. The victims of second-hand exposure are often family members of individuals returning home from work after encountering asbestos as a result of their employment. These workers are unaware that they may be carrying fibers that could be dangerous to their families.

After arriving home from work, anyone else living at the house can sustain considerable exposure to asbestos fibers. Washing the clothing worn by the person who works with asbestos poses a risk. Often, clothes are “shaken off” before washing. While this action helps to shake off dust or other visible particles before washing, it also creates more danger by disrupting and releasing asbestos fibers into the air.

Second-hand exposure can also occur as a result of an individual living in close proximity to a mine or a company that uses products containing asbestos. As an example, the activities of the W.R. Grace Vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana gave rise to several successful lawsuits. While the mine closed in 1991, it is important to note that asbestos fibers may remain in a person’s body for years or even decades before manifesting its dangerous effects. As a result, someone exposed to asbestos fibers prior to the plant closing may not have shown signs of health issues as a result of that exposure yet.

Today, we know that many employers actually had some awareness of the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, those employers often did not take proper precautions, such as forcing employees to shower or change their clothes before going home. As a result, the families of workers exposed to asbestos fibers were also exposed. This second-hand asbestos exposure may allow victims to obtain compensation for medical expenses and suffering.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

If you have been harmed by second-hand asbestos exposure and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is possible that you can recover needed compensation to combat your condition. The Throneberry Law Group has the experience and expertise to help you explore your legal options in recovering the resources you need to fight asbestos-related diseases. For more information, contact us today.



Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

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