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

Friday, May 1, 2015

Asbestos in Schools

After the federal government officially recognized in the 1970s that exposure to asbestos fibers increased the risk of long-term health risks, the use of asbestos in products was largely discontinued. However, much of the asbestos already used was not removed, meaning buildings around the country still contain materials that have asbestos in them today. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) provides special regulations for how asbestos is treated when it is located within schools.

AHERA and Asbestos in Schools

Under AHERA, school districts and non-profit schools, such as charter or religious schools, are required to:

1. Inspect their schools for asbestos-containing building material; and

2. Prepare management plans and to take action to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards.

An initial inspection is required to determine whether any asbestos-containing materials are present. In addition, a re-inspection of any materials that contain asbestos must be completed every three years. The inspections must be completed by trained and licensed professionals. However, schools must also provide training to members of the custodial staff on asbestos awareness.

A copy of the asbestos management plan must be kept at the school. The plan should document recommended response action, the location of the asbestos in the school, and any action that has been taken to repair or remove asbestos-containing material. AHERA also requires schools to provide yearly notification to parents, teachers, and employee organizations on the availability of the management plan.

The removal of materials containing asbestos is usually not required unless the material is severely damaged or will be disturbed as a result of demolition or renovation of the building. This is because asbestos is not dangerous as long as it is not disturbed. Disturbing or damaging asbestos causes the release of microscopic fibers into the air that, if breathed in, can cause significant health risks. As a result of this danger, if asbestos must be removed, the school must comply with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).

NESHAP requires notification to the proper state agency prior to demolition or any renovation of a building that could contain a certain threshold amount of asbestos. Further, NESHAP requires that the following procedures be followed during removal of asbestos:

  1. Wetting the asbestos-containing removal;

  2. Sealing the asbestos-containing material in leak-tight containers; and

  3. Disposal of the asbestos-containing material as expediently as possible.

The focus of NESHAP is to ensure that the area where work is being performed is not contaminated and that, after the work is completed, there will not be a contamination.

Help with Mesothelioma and Asbestos-related Cancer Victims

While the use of asbestos ended in the 1970s, it is still common to find asbestos-containing materials in buildings today. Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause serious health consequences, such as mesothelioma or other cancers. If you are suffering from mesothelioma or an asbestos-related cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos, you should speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos-related matters. At the Throneberry Law Group, we can help you explore and understand all of your legal options.

Asbestos in Schools