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