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

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mesothelioma Treatment - Extrapleural Pneumonectomy

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease, often not manifesting itself for many years following exposure to asbestos fibers. A particularly aggressive treatment for mesothelioma is extrapleural pneumonectomy (known as EPP). The surgery is quite complicated and serious, but, if successful, can offer significant benefits.

What does the Surgery Involve?

EPP involves the removal of as much of the cancerous material as possible, which includes a lung, as well as the lining around it, lymph nodes, diaphragm, and the heart lining. The surgery requires that the patient be placed under general anesthesia. Because one lung is removed, tests must be conducted prior to surgery to ensure that the remaining lung will be strong enough to take over all lung function. Additionally, it must be determined that the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

The surgery is only viable if the mesothelioma is diagnosed in its early stages, before it can spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. As a result, EPP is often not a treatment option because mesothelioma is usually not diagnosed until stage III or IV. “Staging” is a method of describing the severity or extent of the cancer, with a range between stage 0 and stage IV. At stage IV, the cancer has spread to other tissues or organs far in distance from the area it first developed.

What are the Benefits?

Undergoing EPP to treat mesothelioma may increase the person’s life span, in addition to improving their quality of life by making breathing easier. With additional treatment following EPP, such as chemotherapy or radiation, a person may live for several more years. Further, in some cases, the treatment may actually be curative.

Issues Related to EPP

It is important to keep in mind that EPP is complicated and does pose potential risks. The most significant is a possible increased risk of death during or shortly after the surgery is completed as compared to traditional, more conventional surgery (pleurectomy/decortication). Further, there may be health complications following the surgery, including, but not limited to, internal bleeding, respiratory failure, and pneumonia. Another risk is that the surgery will either not cure the patient of the cancer or that the cancer will return.

Recovery from EPP is slow, taking a total time of approximately six to eight weeks. After surgery, the patient will likely have to remain in the hospital for two weeks for observation in case any complications arise. The total recovery time is lengthy because the remaining lung needs time to take over all lung functions.

Helping Mesothelioma Victims

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, obtaining the best possible treatment is critical. Because of this, it is likely you will have significant medical costs. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have the experience to help you obtain the resources you need to provide for your treatment. Contact us today and let us work for you.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dangers of Asbestos Today

The use of asbestos in products ended several decades ago, but it is still very possible that you may come across it, particularly in older homes or buildings. It is very likely that any house built before the 1980s still contains some products with asbestos in them. Therefore, if you plan on completing work on your home, you should be aware of what to do in the event you come across asbestos.

Some Background on Asbestos

Asbestos was widely used in a significant number of products until the 1970s when it was publicly recognized that exposure to asbestos fibers was dangerous. While most products manufactured today do not contain asbestos, it still may be found in many places. Some of the products that asbestos was used in include, but are not limited to:

1.     Steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts;
2.     Soundproofing material that was sprayed on walls and ceilings;
3.     Patching and joint compounds for walls and ceilings;
4.     Resilient floor tiles, backing on vinyl sheet flooring, and adhesives used for installing floor tile;
5.     Brake pads, clutches, mufflers and gaskets in older vehicles; and
6.     Significant amounts of insulation material.

Before the dangers of asbestos fibers were known, asbestos was used frequently because it provided excellent strength and fire resistance, among other versatile features. Unfortunately, the long-term risks of exposure to asbestos far outweigh the potential beneficial uses of it.

The Danger of Asbestos

It is important to note that asbestos, itself, is not dangerous. The danger comes from microscopic asbestos fibers that are released into the air and breathed into the lungs. Breathing any level of asbestos fibers for any period of time may lead to an increased risk of the development of either lung cancer, mesothelioma or other type of cancer.

Asbestos that is damaged is more vulnerable to releasing these fibers, especially if it is hit, rubbed, handled, or exposed to vibration or air flow. Asbestos that is damaged may be repaired or removed entirely, which should be done by a person specifically trained in the handling of asbestos. Repairing asbestos involves sealing or covering it. If you come across what you believe to possibly be asbestos, it is best to leave it alone and have it inspected by a professional. Remember that you will not be able to see if fibers have been released into the air because they are microscopic.

Mesothelioma Attorneys

Today, we know that exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to significant health consequences. While the use of asbestos in new products has almost ended, there are still many older products still in use today that contain it.  Limited exposure may increase health risks, so it is still advisable to avoid handling asbestos altogether.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe it developed as the result of exposure to asbestos fibers, contact the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mesothelioma and Product Liability

In mesothelioma lawsuits, the burden of proof is on the victim (known as the plaintiff). Simply being diagnosed with mesothelioma is not enough to make a successful claim. The Throneberry Law Firm has extensive experience in helping victims of mesothelioma obtain the compensation they need in order to fight this terrible disease.

Asbestos in Products

The use of asbestos in products was widespread for a majority of the 1900s. It is not uncommon for people to come across asbestos today, particularly when renovating homes or other buildings. The theory of product liability makes manufacturers responsible for certain injuries caused by the products they make. For example, a defective product that injures people who use it in the manner in which it was designed to be used may give rise to a product liability claim.

As part of his or her employment, a person may have used many different component products in the creation of a new product. The manufacturers of those products that contained asbestos may be liable to people who developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos fibers.

Negligence and Strict Liability

Under a product liability claim, a manufacturer of a product that contained asbestos may be held liable under the theories of negligence or strict liability. The elements in a negligence claim include a duty to use reasonable care, a breach of that duty, a causal connection between the breach and the injury, and damages. In mesothelioma cases, proving negligence can be difficult because what constituted reasonable care changed as the dangers of asbestos exposure became more apparent. A somewhat easier theory to prove a defendant was at fault is under strict liability.

A plaintiff suing under strict liability claims that the defendant manufactured an unreasonably dangerous product, which hurt the plaintiff. Importantly, under strict liability, the defendant does not need to be aware of the danger or mean to injure the plaintiff. In mesothelioma cases, a plaintiff claims that a defendant made a product containing asbestos that the plaintiff was exposed to, and as a result of this exposure, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma.  In a negligence and strict liability asbestos cases, causation often becomes most difficult element to prove for the plaintiff.

In other words, the plaintiff must prove the asbestos exposure from the product caused his or her mesothelioma.  This is complicated by the fact that the effects of exposure to asbestos may not become apparent for several decades. Because of this long period of dormancy, a defendant may claim that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos manufactured by another company and that those factors caused the development of mesothelioma. 

Experts in Mesothelioma Cases

The attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group have experience using many different legal theories to help victims recover for their exposure to asbestos. We would like to put that experience to work for you.

For a no-cost case evaluation, please call us at 888-506-1131 or contact us online.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mesothelioma Compensation

For victims of mesothelioma, obtaining compensation to help pay for medical treatment is a major concern. Fortunately, there are several ways in which compensation can be obtained. The Throneberry Law Firm has extensive experience in obtaining compensation for victims through each of the following means.

Bankruptcy Trust Funds

Many victims of mesothelioma developed the disease as a result of exposure to asbestos, often in relation to employment. Companies that used asbestos can be held liable through lawsuits. However, it is possible that these companies filed for bankruptcy, which provides them protection from being sued. But, in exchange for this protection, companies entering bankruptcy are required to set up trust funds that compensate victims who make successful claims.

There are many factors that contribute to how much compensation a victim will receive from a trust fund, such as the severity of the condition and the age of the victim. Approved claims are liquidated, which means they are assigned a monetary amount. The actual compensation received is usually a percentage of the liquidated amount. This is to help ensure that there will be enough funds in the trust to make all payments to future claimants.


After a defendant is notified of impending legal action, it is possible for a settlement to occur at any time going forward. For both sides, settlement avoids the potential of losing at trial. A victim of mesothelioma may be in need of compensation, making settlement an attractive option.

A settlement is a negotiation between the two parties, meaning the amount of money received could be anything. Under bankruptcy trust funds and trial verdicts, the amount of compensation is usually regulated or capped. It is important to realize that, as part of the settlement, the person will have to agree to relinquish any right to sue the defendant in the future.

Trial Verdict

If a settlement cannot be negotiated, the case will go to trial. If the defendant is found to be at fault, the jury will make a determination as to the amount of damages the plaintiff should be awarded. This amount must be approved by the judge. As with determining trust fund compensation, the amount awarded at trial is affected by many factors. If the jury finds the victim’s situation particularly moving, the amount awarded may be significant.

Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers mesothelioma a disabling condition. As a result, individuals diagnosed with the disease can apply for Social Security disability benefits. A person may apply online, by phone, or by visiting a local Social Security office. The process usually takes between three and five months. A good deal of information must be provided regarding the person’s work and medical history.

Helping You Get the Compensation You Deserve

At the Throneberry Law Firm, we can help you obtain this critical compensation. We understand how important it is for you and your family to have financial security as you face this terrible disease.

For a no-cost case evaluation, please call us at 888-506-1131 or contact us online.