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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Health Insurance and Mesothelioma

Health Insurance and Mesothelioma


For victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, the costs of diagnosis and treatment are significant. These costs are quite often high enough to make it difficult, if not impossible, to afford without the assistance of health insurance. But, individuals should be aware of limitations that insurance has when it comes to these serious diseases.


Covering the Cost


Asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma and other cancers, can result in significant cost to victims. Typical surgeries associated with cancer treatment cost around $40,000 (and that does not include the most aggressive or complicated surgeries). An eight-week chemotherapy cycle costs around $30,000. Monthly radiation costs around $2,000.


While most insurance plans provide coverage for diagnostic testing and treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, it is dependent on each particular plan. Even when these things are covered, it is typically only after high deductibles are met and will have high copayments.


In addition to private insurance, the U.S. government provides certain individuals with coverage. Medicare provides insurance for individuals 65 years of age and older who have a sufficient work history. There are four different types of Medicare:


  • Part A: provided to all individuals covered by Medicare, it covers in-patient hospital care, as well as in-patient care in nursing, hospice, or home facilities;

  • Part B: for an additional premium, it covers visits to doctor’s offices, laboratory costs, medical equipment, and ambulance services;

  • Part C: for an additional premium, it is a combination of Part A and B, and is provided by private insurance companies as supplemental insurance;

  • Part D: providing assistance for prescription medication costs.

Medicaid, the other large government program, provides assistance to low-income individuals. Under certain circumstances, mesothelioma treatment is covered under this program.


An issue that individuals may encounter in relation to their insurance coverage is the network of healthcare providers. For example, mesothelioma is a rare disease, making finding experts within an insurance policy’s network difficult. Unfortunately, this may make going outside of the network in order to find the best care through the use of a specialist necessary, which will increase the cost of treatment.


Affordable Care Act


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which went into effect in 2014, provided important changes that impacted mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease, including:


  1. Easier obtainment of insurance for low-income families;

  2. Minimum insurance standards for items like cancer screenings, treatment and follow-up care;

  3. Prevention of companies from dropping individuals with life-threatening diseases (like mesothelioma);

  4. Providing for patients with pre-existing conditions (like cancer) to obtain coverage; and

  5. Eliminating annual and lifetime maximums that insurance plans will pay for cancer patients.

Compassionate Legal Help


Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are often devastating. For more information on obtaining assistance in seeking the needed benefits to help you combat these insidious diseases, contact the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group today. We understand the difficulty of fighting asbestos-related diseases and diligently fight for the victims we represent.


 


 


 


 



Health Insurance and Mesothelioma

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Asbestos and Power Plants

Power plants are massive facilities that generate and distribute energy across the nation to businesses, residences, and other structures. The development of these plants helped spur the growth of America during the twentieth century. But, along the way, they caused workers to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can lead to serious health complications, like mesothelioma and other cancers.


Asbestos and Power Plants


Power plants generate and harness useable power and, in the process, generate tremendous amounts of heat. As a result, the risk of potential fire is a major concern. Historically, asbestos was used to help mitigate this risk. Asbestos is a poor conductor of electricity and is resistant to heat and fire. Because of this, asbestos was widely used in insulation materials, which went into walls, wires, pipes, generators, and other machinery. Asbestos was effective at helping to prevent fire and overheating.


The use of asbestos was especially high in plants that produced electricity and in power distribution centers. During the standard operation of these facilities, asbestos fibers were often released into the air. Other places related to power plants in which asbestos was used included transformer stations, lignite mining plants, and off-site workshops.


Further placing workers in power plants at risk was the specific clothing they wore while at work. Power plant workers wear special insulated, protective clothing that, until the 1980s, also contained asbestos. Unfortunately, though many employers were generally aware of the risks of exposure to asbestos, they frequently did not inform workers of those risks.


Plant workers that were most at risk were blue collar workers. These included individuals who installed and/or maintained pipes and electrical appliances in the plant. Additionally, work involving the upgrading of machinery was dangerous, as it involved the cutting and sawing of products that contained asbestos. Further, many plant workers sprayed asbestos pulp directly onto heated materials, potentially causing exposure. Today, exposure to asbestos fibers is much more controlled and limited, though it may still occur in older plants or in plants that have not had asbestos-containing materials removed.


Asbestos Fibers


When asbestos is disturbed, it releases microscopic fibers into the air that can be breathed into the lungs. Exposure to these fibers, particularly over a long period of time, can result in the development of cancer or other serious diseases. The symptoms of the exposure may not appear for several years, or even decades. Therefore, individuals who worked in power plants many years ago, particularly before the 1980s, may have suffered life-threatening exposure to asbestos fibers, with the symptoms just now being diagnosed.


If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, it may be possible for you to recover much-needed compensation to help with your medical battle. For more information about how this may be possible, speak with the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group. We provide compassionate and expert representation for victims of asbestos exposure.


 


 



Asbestos and Power Plants

Asbestos Risk to Insulators

Insulation is used to help in controlling and maintaining the temperature inside of buildings and homes. Unfortunately, for much of the twentieth century, insulation contained asbestos. The dangers of exposure to asbestos include the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. Individuals who are employed as insulators are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, particularly if this work occurred before the 1980s.


Asbestos Insulation 


Asbestos insulation was the largest source of exposure for workers throughout the 1900s. It was used in homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. Insulation is beneficial because it conserves energy, reduces electrical conductivity, and retains hot and cold temperatures. Before the 1980s, asbestos was extensively used in insulation materials due to its resistance to fire and heat, as well as it being a poor conductor of electricity.


Insulation was and continues to be used in attics, walls, ceilings, flooring, siding, pipe wrapping, and inside of boilers. Today, fiberglass is used instead of asbestos. However, many materials containing asbestos remain in buildings. As a result, individuals performing work on buildings or homes should be cautious about the possibility of asbestos exposure.


Asbestos Risk to Insulators


From a historical perspective, the risk of exposure to asbestos fibers was significant. For example, insulators were at great risk when they measured and cut insulation to fit around steam pipes. After cutting this insulation, insulators often stretched it open and slipped it over the pipe. Finally, the insulation was fastened securely with asbestos-containing adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands.


The cutting, opening, and fastening of the insulation over the pipe all released microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers could remain the lungs for several years before developing into mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers. Further increasing the danger for insulators was the enclosed nature of the jobsites that they often worked in, even if they themselves were not working with products that contained asbestos. For example, a carpenter using materials that contained asbestos may have caused insulators to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.


While the use of asbestos was discontinued by the 1980s, asbestos still remains in many buildings and homes today. Quite often, pipe insulation that contains asbestos is crumbly, making it dangerous because fibers are then easily released into the air. The most common form of loose-fill attic insulation is Zonolite, which was installed in millions of homes.


Insulation products that contained asbestos include:


  • Pipe covering;

  • Block;

  • Cement;

  • Felt;

  • Board;

  • Coating;

  • Seals; and

  • Tapes

Before beginning a renovation or remodeling project, it is important to make sure asbestos is not in a place which may be disturbed. If you suspect that products that will be affected by the work contain asbestos, you should contact an expert in asbestos identification and removal to ensure your safety.


Compassionate Legal Advocacy


If you believe that you have been harmed by exposure to asbestos, you should speak to a mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have personal experience in understanding the difficulty of dealing with these issues. We look forward to hearing from you.


 


 



Asbestos Risk to Insulators

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Asbestos Risk to Insulators

Insulation is used to help in controlling and maintaining the temperature inside of buildings and homes. Unfortunately, for much of the twentieth century, insulation contained asbestos. The dangers of exposure to asbestos include the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. Individuals who are employed as insulators are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, particularly if this work occurred before the 1980s.


Asbestos Risk to Insulators:  Dangers of Insulation


Asbestos insulation was the largest source of exposure for workers throughout the 1900s. It was used in homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. Insulation is beneficial because it conserves energy, reduces electrical conductivity, and retains hot and cold temperatures. Before the 1980s, asbestos was extensively used in insulation materials due to its resistance to fire and heat, as well as it being a poor conductor of electricity.


Insulation was and continues to be used in attics, walls, ceilings, flooring, siding, pipe wrapping, and inside of boilers. Today, fiberglass is used instead of asbestos. However, many materials containing asbestos remain in buildings. As a result, individuals performing work on buildings or homes should be cautious about the possibility of asbestos exposure.


From a historical perspective, the risk of exposure to asbestos fibers was significant. For example, insulators were at great risk when they measured and cut insulation to fit around steam pipes. After cutting this insulation, insulators often stretched it open and slipped it over the pipe. Finally, the insulation was fastened securely with asbestos-containing adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands.


The cutting, opening, and fastening of the insulation over the pipe all released microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers could remain the lungs for several years before developing into mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers. Further increasing the danger for insulators was the enclosed nature of the jobsites that they often worked in, even if they themselves were not working with products that contained asbestos. For example, a carpenter using materials that contained asbestos may have caused insulators to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.


While the use of asbestos was discontinued by the 1980s, asbestos still remains in many buildings and homes today. Quite often, pipe insulation that contains asbestos is crumbly, making it dangerous because fibers are then easily released into the air. The most common form of loose-fill attic insulation is Zonolite, which was installed in millions of homes.


Insulation products that contained asbestos include:


  • Pipe covering;

  • Block;

  • Cement;

  • Felt;

  • Board;

  • Coating;

  • Seals;  and

  • Tapes.

Before beginning a renovation or remodeling project, it is important to make sure asbestos is not in a place which may be disturbed. If you suspect that products that will be affected by the work contain asbestos, you should contact an expert in asbestos identification and removal to ensure your safety.


Compassionate Legal Advocacy


If you worked as an insulator and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, you should speak to a mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have personal experience in understanding the difficulty of dealing with these issues. We look forward to hearing from you.


 


 



Asbestos Risk to Insulators