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.