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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

It wasn’t until the late 20th century that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially concluded that exposure to asbestos caused certain serious diseases, including mesothelioma. As a result of this, along with the potentially long period before symptoms appear, many new cases of asbestos-related disease arise every year. At the Throneberry Law Group, we work diligently for you to obtain the resources you need in order to receive the best medical treatment available.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations describes the amount of time an individual has to file a lawsuit. Each state has different laws regarding the statute of limitations as it relates to asbestos-related claims. Generally speaking, the person making the claim (the plaintiff) must file a lawsuit within two years of the diagnosis. If the person exposed to asbestos has died, a wrongful death lawsuit may be initiated by that person’s survivors. In this case, the wrongful death lawsuit must be made within two years of the victim’s date of death.  Again, each state has different statute of limitations so speaking with an attorney is necessary to determine if you are within the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit.

Information Required

In order to prove a mesothelioma case, there are several items that must be documented, including, but not limited, to:
  1.  The victim’s past employment history;
  2. The victim’s medical history and reports;
  3. The medical expenses related to the illness;
  4.  The asbestos in the workplace;
  5.  A list of activities the victim can no longer do as a result of the illness; and
  6.  Disabilities the victim now has due to the illness.


It is important to locate and provide as much of this information as possible. The more thorough the documentation, the better chance of success you will have.

Litigation Process

Prior to going to court, it is common for both sides to attempt to settle the case. If this is accomplished, the defendant will pay the plaintiff, and the two sides go on their way. If a settlement is not reached at this point, the plaintiff will file a complaint, which officially begins the lawsuit. Keep in mind, however, that a settlement may occur at any point during the lawsuit.

Next, both sides will complete discovery. This process involves both sides attempting to gather information from each other that will strengthen their respective case. For a plaintiff, it is important to be prepared to have numerous questions asked about your personal and professional life. The defendant will be searching for anything in your past that may have had an impact on the development of your illness. The questions may feel invasive, but keep in mind they are not personal and we will be there with you to protect your rights.

After discovery has ended, the next major step is the actual trial. At the trial, both sides will present evidence and examine witnesses in an attempt to convince the jury of the merits of their case. The jury will then decide whether they believe the defendant was liable, and, if so, the amount of compensation the defendant should have to pay.

We Can Help

At the Throneberry Law Group, we have the experience necessary to aggressively fight for your rights and the compassion required to understand the difficult illness you face. We want to help you secure the compensation you deserve.


Call us today at 888-506-1131 or email us online www.mesolawcenter.com/contact-us for a free, no-cost case evaluation.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bankruptcy in Mesothelioma Claims

The potential awards or settlements in asbestos-related injury claims can be substantial. But what happens if the defendant has filed for bankruptcy? Does that mean recovery is impossible? Fortunately, the answer is no, there is still a way for people hurt by exposure to asbestos to receive compensation from liable companies that have since gone into bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Protection and Trust Funds

Defendants in asbestos-related injury claims may have (or will) file for bankruptcy through Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (hereinafter, the “Code”). Under this form of bankruptcy, the company or individual reorganizes and develops a plan to remain in business. Under §524 of the Code, if the bankruptcy plan is approved, the company is protected from lawsuit.

However, pursuant to §524(g), in order to receive this injunction from litigation, the following conditions must be met:

1.     There is a trust for present and future claimants.
2.     The trust is funded by securities of at least one of the debtors.
3.     The trust owns a majority of the voting shares of each debtor, of the parent corporation of the debtor, or of a subsidiary of the debtor.
4.      The trust will use its assets and income to pay claims.
5.     The trust will value and pay similar claims in substantially the same manner.
6.     The trust is approved by 75% of current claimants.

Operation of Trust Funds

After funding the trust, the company has little involvement. Trustees manage the trust for the benefit of the claimants and follow preset distribution procedures. Making a claim for trust funds is similar to filing a lawsuit against the company to recover damages, though the process is simpler and usually faster. However, many of the same items must be proven, such as exposure to asbestos and the development of a disease as a result of that exposure. Additionally, as with filing a lawsuit, there are many state-specific laws that apply, so speaking to an attorney is important.

Claims are usually reviewed using either the expedited review or the individual review. Under an expedited review, the value of different diseases is set and published for claimants to view. If a claimant meets the predetermined criteria, he or she will be entitled to payment. Under an individual review, there are no set values associated with a disease. Instead, the focus is on the individual circumstances and claim amounts will vary. 

If the claim is approved, it will then be liquidated. This simply means the claim will be assigned a monetary value. The actual payment amount that a claimant receives is usually a percentage of the liquidated amount. Claims are paid as a percentage of the liquidated amount in order to ensure that the trust will have enough funds to pay all future claimants.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Attorneys


If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we can help. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel nationwide to provide experienced representation to those in need. Please contact us today.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Common Aspects of Asbestos Litigation

 Theories of Liability

In an asbestos lawsuit, a claim that the defendant caused injury will be made. The most common claims are that the exposure to asbestos fibers caused either mesothelioma or lung cancer, although claims for asbestosis exist as well. There are several legal theories that may be used to recover compensation for injury, or potential injury, from exposure to asbestos fibers. Some of the more common theories include:
                 
1.     Product liability, where a defective or unreasonably dangerous product caused injury;
2.     Workers’ compensation, where as a result of the injury occurring in the workplace, the injured party is entitled to benefits; and
3.     Premises liability, where property owners fail to maintain safe conditions.

It is important to note that asbestos litigation laws vary from state to state. Therefore, you should consult an attorney in your state to discuss the remedies available.

Challenges to Asbestos Litigation

There are several challenges to successfully bringing an asbestos litigation lawsuit. To begin, as a result of the potential extended period of time before the effects of exposure to asbestos fiber begin to appear, evidence may be difficult to obtain. The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes to locate witnesses, defendants, and records. Those witnesses and defendants who can be found may have difficulty in remembering details precisely.

Because significant time often passes before the effects become present, there may be statutes of limitations and statutes of repose considerations. Simply put, these are deadlines by which a plaintiff must bring suit. In jurisdictions that require the filing of a suit within a certain amount of time after exposure, the deadlines for filing may pass before the effects of exposure to asbestos fiber become apparent. Further, in jurisdictions that require a suit within a certain amount of time after discovery of the injury, the victim may not realize the injury is asbestos-related before the deadline passes.

Another challenging factor is the expense of asbestos litigation. This type of litigation is scientifically complex and will likely require the testimony of expert witnesses. In addition, if the defendant has been forced into bankruptcy, there may be inadequate resources to compensate the victims. This may result in a successful verdict, but the inability to collect from the defendant.

We Can Help


The effects of exposure to asbestos fiber can cause severe, even fatal, diseases. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the difficulty of having to deal with the effects of asbestos-related lung cancer or mesothelioma. If you believe you have been harmed by exposure to asbestos fibers and have developed either lung cancer or mesothelioma, please contact us today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mesothelioma | Mesothelioma Symptoms and Treatment

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure.  Mesothelioma cancer invades the mesothelium – the lining of tissue that surround vital organs.  The most common is pleural mesothelioma or cancer of the lining of the lungs.  Mesothelioma also attacks the lining of either the heart, abdomen, or testicles.   

Symptoms

The mesothelium has two layers: one around the organ itself and another forming an outer sac. Between these two layers is a fluid that aids organ movement. Mesothelioma causes the mesothelial cells to multiply wildly and to produce excess lubricating fluid. Ultimately, the mesothelium becomes a thick, tumorous coating of the organ accompanied by excessive fluid. This coating and fluid prevent complete, comfortable expansion of the lung.

Symptoms of mesothelioma can include:
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Lumps
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Localized pain to the particular cancerous lining
  • Swelling and fluid buildup
  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful breathing
  • Fever
  • Respiratory infection
  • Fatigue and anemia
  • Digestive problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Fever
Doctors perform a variety of tests to diagnose mesothelioma and to determine how advanced the cancer is including x-rays, blood tests, pathologic tests, endoscopic ultrasound, bronchoscopy, CT scans, lung-function tests, biopsies or other diagnostic surgeries, MRI and PET scans.

Prognosis

Mesothelioma can metastasize or spread into the organs themselves or to other areas of the body. By the time mesothelioma is diagnosed, the patient usually has only a matter of months to live and treatment is usually palliative - to alleviate symptoms and slow the progress of the disease.
Treatment

Treatment can include surgery to excise the mesothelial and surrounding tissue, chemotherapy, drug regimens, drug trials, gene therapies, radiation, draining of fluid followed by the injection of medication to prevent further buildup, and, rarely, lung removal. Research into new treatment methods continues, as current therapies have relatively disappointing results. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it is usually a terminal condition. Current patients may be eligible to participate in experimental treatments, if they desire.

The Throneberry Law Group takes cases throughout the United States. We will come to you to help you trace the asbestos exposure that caused mesothelioma (or asbestosis or lung cancer). We offer a free consultation at 888-506-1131 to answer your questions, and it costs nothing up front for us to represent you in the lawsuit — we collect no fees unless we recover compensation.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Understand your Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Malignant mesothelioma treatment options generally fall into the following categories – surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or radiation therapy.  These four treatment modalities are the major “conventional” or “mainstream” treatment options for malignant mesothelioma.  Malignant mesothelioma is very aggressive form of cancer where the tumor grows up against anything it contacts often invading surrounding structures and organs.  As a result, malignant mesothelioma treatment is often limited as with other advanced, aggressive, and metastatic cancers.  The goal in treating malignant mesothelioma becomes one focused simply on extending one’s life.   

Important questions to ask your doctor about malignant mesothelioma treatments include:
  • What is the effectiveness or efficacy of the mesothelioma treatment?
  • Is the malignant mesothelioma treatment designed to cure (curative) or designed to improve symptoms (palliative)?
  • What are the side effects of the mesothelioma treatment?
  • How long will the mesothelioma treatment last?
A critical aspect of going with a particular mesothelioma treatment is that you believe in it and have full confidence that it will work.  It is also critical that you have a good rapport with and confidence in your doctor.  Finally, find out as much as you can about your mesothelioma treatment so that you understand your treatment and be more positive that it will work for you.

The Throneberry Law Group takes cases throughout the United States. We will come to you to help you trace the asbestos exposure that caused mesothelioma (or asbestosis or lung cancer). We offer a free consultation at 888-506-1131 to answer your questions, and it costs nothing up front for us to represent you in the lawsuit — we collect no fees unless we recover compensation.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mesothelioma | Questions to Ask your Doctor

The trauma of a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis leaves confusion and disbelief in its wake.  Your doctor will likely recommend you see an oncologist.  Your doctor typically will recommend a specialist for your treatment of malignant mesothelioma.  From the initial diagnosis, ask your doctor for a copy of all of your test results.  You have a right to do so.  Be certain to keep a folder with your pathology report, blood tests, imaging reports (x-ray, ct scan, PET scan, etc.) and any other medical results.  Keeping these results is invaluable for showing another doctor  the medical history of your illness should you seek another opinion or alternative treatment.

Useful questions to ask your oncologist about malignant mesothelioma include:
  • How far has the malignant mesothelioma spread and what is your life expectancy?
  • What should you expect next?
  • What organs have been affected by the malignant mesothelioma?
  • What are my treatment options for malignant mesothelioma and which ones would you recommend?
  • What success rate does the treatment have on malignant mesothelioma?  Will the treatment be a cure for the malignant mesothelioma?
  • What are the potential short-term and long-term side effects of the malignant mesothelioma?
You have a right ask as many questions as you want until you are comfortable that your doctor has covered the bases and explored all the options.  These are uncomfortable issues, and you have to brace yourself for the bad news, but you need information to make informed decisions.

Throneberry Law Group takes cases throughout the United States. We will come to you to help you trace the asbestos exposure that caused mesothelioma (or asbestosis or lung cancer). We offer a free consultation at 888-506-1131 to answer your questions, and it costs nothing up front for us to represent you in the lawsuit — we collect no fees unless we recover compensation.