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Mesothelioma Law Center Blog



May 23, 2016

Asbestos Exposure and Product Liability Law


Asbestos Exposure and Product Liability:  A reason you may be entitled to financial compensation for becoming ill with mesothelioma or asbestos-related, lung cancer is products liability law. This vast area of law encompasses strict liability, breach of warranty, and negligence. When bringing a products liability lawsuit, your mesothelioma attorney will argue that the manufacturer, distributer, and/or retailer of the asbestos you were exposed to should be held liable for your illness and the pain and suffering it has caused you.

Establishing a timeline is a key component in bringing a products liability-based mesothelioma case. One reason for this is because the construction, automotive, and other industries stopped widely utilizing asbestos in the early 1980s. At this time, scientific evidence of the health risks of asbestos exposure was strong. These health risks were determined to outweigh the cheap, durable, flexible, and heat-resistant properties offered by the group of mineral fibers that comprise asbestos. Because the 1970s brought widespread knowledge of the dangers posed by asbestos, they also bear heavily on responsibility for the effects of exposure. For many years since, agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have imposed standards on employers in the construction, automotive, and shipbuilding industries to protect workers from asbestos exposure in the workplace. So, depending on when and in what industry you were exposed to asbestos, your employer and property owners where you worked, in addition to parties in the retail chain of asbestos, may be liable for your mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Cases are Often “Fast-Tracked” by Courts

In its malignant cancerous form, mesothelioma is almost always fatal. Before the cancer takes its final toll, the pain and suffering can be immense. Recognizing the decreased lifespan of mesothelioma sufferers, courts frequently “fast-track” asbestos-related lawsuits so that a resolution may be reached in an expeditious fashion. Besides the limited lifespan issue, the compensation was already a long time coming. This is because of the latency between exposure and symptoms. It can take 20 to 50 years for a worker exposed to asbestos to become ill with mesothelioma. Tragically, as a result of work-related asbestos exposure, you may have had a compromised lung, abdominal or heart lining or pleura for many years before being diagnosed.

In other cases, mesothelioma plaintiffs are able to settle with defendants outside of the courtroom. If you are suffering from mesothelioma, contact a skilled and experienced mesothelioma attorney today to discuss your legal and medical options. In addition, if you have already tragically lost a loved one to either of these asbestos-related cancers, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Time is of the essence in filing a claim after you have been diagnosed, so do not delay in contacting a skilled attorney.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


May 18, 2016

Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations


Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations:  Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure and is almost always fatal but takes years – even decades – to emerge. Even after the illness has been contracted and produces symptoms, it may take a long time for it to be accurately diagnosed. The reason for this is the close similarity of the symptoms of mesothelioma to those of lung cancer and asbestosis.

Mesothelioma Statute of Limitations

Once mesothelioma has taken effect and been accurately diagnosed, time takes on two new meanings. On the one hand, it is imperative that mesothelioma sufferers receive the medical treatment and therapy they need to increase both the quantity and quality of life. On the other hand, it is important that mesothelioma sufferers take legal action quickly to fight for any compensation they are entitled to for the cost of medical treatment, as well as pain and suffering, and other losses. This legal aspect of time speaks to what is known as the “statute of limitations.” Because mesothelioma can take 20 to 50 years to occur after exposure to asbestos, every state in the U.S. has extended the window of time in which individuals suffering from mesothelioma as a result of work-related exposure to asbestos may file a lawsuit to seek financial damages from the parties responsible.

This window of time does not remain open forever. The time to file a mesothelioma lawsuit or mesothelioma asbestos trust claim varies from state to state. As you already know because of the cost of medical bills related to diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma, time is also of the essence because of your very real need to pay for the healthcare you so dearly need. To learn the precise statute of limitation on filing a claim for financial compensation in your state, contact a skilled and experienced mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney will explain your legal rights, facilitate accurate diagnosis by a physician specializing in respiratory illnesses, and fight for any compensation you are entitled to for the cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Mesothelioma Is Often Caused by Workplace Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma can result from exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The primary symptoms of the illness are intense pain are shortness of breath. The reason for these symptoms is cancer of the lining of the lung, abdomen, or heart. A thin layer of cells there known as the mesothelium becomes compromised – the result of having been exposed years earlier, whether by inhalation or swallowing, to asbestos.  If you or a loved one worked in any of these industries and are now suffering from the effects of mesothelioma, contact a skilled and experienced mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


May 11, 2016

Understanding Mesothelioma Symptoms


Understanding Mesothelioma Symptoms:  If you were exposed to asbestos and are now sick with aching chest pain, a persistent cough, fever and other pneumonia or flu-like symptoms, consult with a medical expert as soon as possible. Because of the similarity of the symptoms to lung cancer, and the delayed onset of the illnesses with regard to asbestos exposure, diagnosis of mesothelioma can be difficult. Consultation with a medical expert is a must. In addition, a skilled and experienced mesothelioma attorney will fight to obtain any compensation you are entitled to for your medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Asbestosis Involves Scarring in the Tissues of the Lung

Asbestosis is a scar formation the lung tissue that results from the exposure to and presence of asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a group of mineral fibers. These fibers, until the 1980s, were commonly used in a variety of industries because of its durability, flexibility, and resistance to heat. The ways that these fibers enter the lungs are through inhalation or swallowing. Because the body is unable to expel the tiny fibers from the lungs, the fibers remain there. Scarring occurs, and this interferes with lung function by blocking the uptake of oxygen from the air in the lungs into the bloodstream. This reduces that amount of oxygenated blood that returns to the heart and other tissues in the body. In addition, the presence of scar tissue in the lung causes stiffening of the lung – a condition that makes it difficult for the lung to expand with a deep breath. Unfortunately, asbestos scarring in the lung is irreversible, and as a general rule, the more exposure, the more scarring.

Mesothelioma is a Cancer of the Lining of the Lung

Mesothelioma often result from work-related asbestos exposure. Pleural Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the pleura – the layer of tissue that lines the lung. Alternately, mesothelioma may take effect in the peritoneum – the lining of the of abdomen and pericardial – the lining of the heart.  Like asbestosis, mesothelioma has a lengthy latency period. In other words, both illnesses typically occur many years after the exposure to asbestos. Ultimately, the evidence that serves as proof of work-related asbestos exposure is scarring of the lung. This scarring is revealed via x-rays or CT scans. In addition to scarring, symptoms also point to the existence of asbestosis and mesothelioma. The symptoms, most notably shortness of breath, become pronounced during common types of physical exertion, such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries. Importantly, when discussing symptoms with both your physician and experienced attorney, carefully detail your asbestos exposure history.

What to Do if You Have Mesothelioma

If you have mesothelioma or are exhibiting symptoms consistent with mesothelioma, seek medical treatment immediately and, thereafter, contact a skilled and experienced mesothelioma and asbestosis attorney. An experienced attorney will work to ensure that you are accurately diagnosed, and fight for any compensation you are entitled to for your medical treatment and pain and suffering.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


May 2, 2016

Asbestos in the Construction Industry


Asbestos in the Construction Industry

The construction industry was among those that turned to asbestos for fireproofing and insulating in the manufacturing process of a wide array of parts, products, and materials. The material – fibrous mineral – was cheap and heat resistant, and was used widely as early as the 19th century. While asbestos offered utility and cost-savings, however, it has since been linked to serious health problems in the workers that built the industries that so often implemented the mineral’s thin fibers.

The problem: when asbestos is not completely contained, its fine fibers can be inhaled or swallowed. When this happens, the fibers become embedded in a layer of tissue in the chest and abdominal regions known as the mesothelium. Unable to expel the tiny asbestos fibers from the body, the mesothelium becomes compromised. The resulting illnesses, mesothelioma and or asbestosis, take a truly terrible toll on the body. The symptoms are like those of lung cancer, intense pain and difficult breathing, and typically surface between 20 and 50 years after exposure to asbestos.

The purpose of this article is to explain the types of processes in the construction industry that featured asbestos. If you were exposed to asbestos while working in the industry and are now experiencing symptoms consistent with mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact a skilled and dedicated mesothelioma attorney. An experienced attorney will fight for the compensation you are entitled to for you medical needs and pain and suffering.

Asbestos Commonly Used in Construction Industry for Many Years

From the nineteenth century to the early 1980s, asbestos was commonly used in building materials and other products in the construction industry. Pipe and boiler insulation, fireproofing on support beams and ceilings, tiles, and acoustical plaster were all commonly made with asbestos. Again, the reason for this was the durable, flexible, and heat-resistant nature of the group of mineral fibers that comprise asbestos. Because buildings last for a long time, the fact that the use of asbestos was discontinued in the wake of scientific evidence regarding its adverse health effects does not mean that you were not exposed to asbestos if you worked in the construction industry after the 1980s. This is because you may have come into contact with a building or materials that were made prior to the industry’s move away from asbestos use. The types of workers that may have been exposed to asbestos are many and include insulators, plumbers, electricians, pipe fitters, carpenters, sheet metal workers, building maintenance workers, telephone installers, demolition crews, and more. The commonality between these professions and health conditions like asbestosis and mesothelioma is the inhalation or swallowing of dust containing asbestos fibers.

Even if you retired from the industry many years ago, the aching chest pain, cough, and other symptoms you are now experiencing may stem from work-related exposure to asbestos. To discuss your legal and medical options, contact a skilled and experienced mesothelioma and asbestosis attorney.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


April 30, 2016

Mesothelioma and the Automotive Industry


Mesothelioma and the Automotive Industry:  Asbestos-related illness, including mesothelioma and asbestosis, have caused serious health problems for individuals who worked in the automotive industry in the 20th century. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness or are experiencing symptoms and work or worked in the auto industry, contact an experienced mesothelioma and asbestos attorney. The suffering you and your loved ones are being forced to endure may be connected to your work in the automotive industry.

Asbestos Once Commonly Used in Automobile Parts

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos or are experiencing symptoms consistent with those illnesses and worked in the auto industry, you have surely asked three questions:

  • What is asbestos?
  • How was exposed to asbestos?
  • Why does asbestos cause health problems?

With regard to the first question, asbestos is mineral comprised of many fine fibers. Because asbestos possesses certain beneficial properties, such as heat resistance and the capacity to insulate, it was used widely in a number of commercial and industrial products. The automotive industry, especially prior to the late-1970’s, was one the industries to utilize asbestos – especially in the manufacturing of brake pads, brake shoes, gaskets, internal combustion parts, clutches, heat seals, hood lines, insulation and an array of other components. Asbestos was mixed into paint, threaded into fiberglass, and used in other applications.

Tragically, while asbestos may be beneficial to machines, it poses very serious health risks to human beings when its thin fibers are inhaled or swallowed during the process of manufacturing process. The reason for this is that when asbestos is inhaled, the human body is unable to expel it from the inner tissues of the chest and abdominal cavities. These inner tissues comprise the thin layer of cells known as the mesothelium. This layer of cells is also where the name for the illness “mesothelioma” comes from because it is these tissues that are gravely harmed by asbestos exposure.

Both mesothelioma and asbestosis cause immense pain, feature symptoms like those of lung cancer, and are fatal in their malignant cancerous forms. Unfortunately, because of the similarity of the symptoms of asbestos-related illness to those of lung cancer, the illness is difficult to diagnose until it has become cancerous and metastasized. Finally, both asbestosis and mesothelioma typically do not manifest until between 20 and 50 years after the initial exposure period

What to Do if You Have Mesothelioma or Asbestosis

Mesothelioma and the Automotive Industry:  Did you work in the automotive industry either before the late 1970’s or on cars and trucks that were originally manufactured before this time period? Did you work on brakes and/or clutches while in the industry? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, your health problems may be linked to exposure to asbestos in the auto industry. To discuss your legal and medical options, contact a compassionate and experienced mesothelioma and asbestos attorney today.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


April 27, 2016

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure


Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure:  Mesothelioma is a somewhat rare type of cancer that is difficult to diagnose, shares symptoms with lung cancer and asbestosis, and inflicts terrible pain on those afflicted by it. The purpose of this article is to explain what mesothelioma is, how it is linked to asbestos exposure, and what the medical and legal options are for the afflicted and their loved ones. If you or a loved one are suffering with mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney today.

Mesothelioma is the Signature Disease of Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma is the signature disease of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a collection of minerals possessing fine microscopic fibers. These fibers are unique because they are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals, and do not conduct electric current. Because of these unique, flame-resistant characteristics, asbestos has been mined and used extensively in the construction, automotive, shipyards and ship building, steel mills, chemical plants, oil refineries, HVAC, and other industries. While these special fibers possess a certain utility in these industries, they pose serious risks to the workers and other individuals who come into contact with them. Specifically, if asbestos fibers are released into the air that workers breath during the manufacturing or construction processes, they can be breathed in or swallowed by the workers.

The inhalation or swallowing of asbestos fibers can lead to asbestosis or mesothelioma, both dire health problems. Science shows us that the relationship between workplace exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma and asbestosis is strong. Specifically, as many as 75% of mesothelioma cases can be linked to asbestos exposure at work. In addition, because the thin asbestos fibers can cling to the hair or clothes of workers, family members may also be exposed to asbestos when workers return home. This is often referred to as secondhand asbestos exposure.  The effects of asbestos exposure are far different than something like catching the common cold at work. On the contrary, mesothelioma symptoms commonly do not manifest until 20 to 50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. When symptoms do appear, they affect the lungs and commonly include shortness of breath and chest pain. The pain, unfortunately, can be immense.

In its malignant cancerous form, mesothelioma may metastasize in the tissues and internal organs. While mesothelioma, in its cancerous form, is always fatal, proper diagnosis, treatment, and therapy can prolong both the quality and quantity of life.

What to Do if You are Exposed to Asbestos in the Workplace or by Secondhand Exposure

If you worked in an industry utilizing asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or are experiencing mesothelioma-like symptoms, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney. An experienced attorney will work to help you obtain the medical care you need for your condition, and financial care you deserve for both the cost of treatment and pain and suffering you are experiencing. For your health and legal rights, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney today.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


April 25, 2016

An Experienced Mesothelioma Attorney Can Help


Asbestos-related illnesses, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, cause immense suffering on both the afflicted and their loved ones. When one of these illnesses has been contracted through no fault of your own contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney to help answer two questions that commonly arise:

  • What are the treatment options, and
  • How can I hold the individual, business, or institution responsible accountable for my suffering?

The answer to the first question is medical in nature. The answer to the second question is legal in nature. The purpose of this article is to explain the basics of both. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney to discuss your legal options.

Mesothelioma is an Asbestos-Related Type of Cancer

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer. In its malignant form, it encases the tissues of the lungs, heart, and other internal organs. These symptoms are similar to those of lung cancer and asbestosis. In addition, the cancer itself is somewhat rare, with only roughly 3,000 people newly diagnosed each year. The cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose because of the similarity the symptoms it produces to those of lung cancer and asbestosis. This difficulty in diagnosis can itself cause difficulties in treatment if the underlying cause of the symptoms is not accurately identified at the outset. Such a delay in diagnosis can prove tragic, allowing the cancer to metastasize other tissues and organs more quickly in the absence of proper treatment.

Even if mesothelioma is diagnosed early, mesothelioma, nevertheless, is almost always fatal. Still, early diagnosis and proper treatment can lengthen the quality and quantity of life by months and in some cases even years. Moreover, medical experts work to utilize existing therapies, as well as to develop new ones to ameliorate the intense pain experienced by mesothelioma sufferers. The right and ability to receive the best therapies and medical care for mesothelioma is often bound up in the legal side of mesothelioma. This is where the skill of an experienced mesothelioma attorney comes into the picture. On the medical side, an experienced mesothelioma attorney can assist you in confirming a diagnosis with a mesothelioma specialist, and from there obtaining the best treatment and palliative care options available. On the legal side, a skilled attorney will fight for your rightful compensation for the financial burden that mesothelioma imposes.

Contacting an Experienced Mesothelioma Attorney

Wouldn’t you like to be represented by an experienced mesothelioma attorney who knows firsthand the devastating effects of the illness? Attorney Michael Throneberry of the Throneberry Law Group lost his own father-in-law to mesothelioma. It was the witnessing of terrible toll taken on his father by mesothelioma that fuels his passion to fight for the rights of his mesothelioma clients. The types of compensation available to victims are many, and can make an immense difference. To discuss your legal and medical options, contact an experienced mesothelioma attorney today.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


April 2, 2016

Asbestos on the Job


Asbestos on the Job

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified more than 75 job fields where workers are exposed to asbestos. OSHA did not begin regulating asbestos until 1971. While efforts were made to dramatically reduce the amount of asbestos considered ‘permissible’ through the 1980s and 1990s, exposure is still possible.

Is Asbestos Still a Risk?

Even though asbestos is regulated, it is not banned in the United States. This means that there is still a presence in workplaces. Asbestos fibers can be so small, no one can see them. People can breathe in the fibers, which will then scar the lungs. Studies have shown that there is no amount of asbestos that can be considered ‘safe.’

The top five occupations most at-risk for exposure are:

  • Firefighters.  Fire quickly incinerates asbestos products, making them airborne particulates. Hundreds to possibly thousands of 9/11 first responders are to this day suffering from illnesses caused by inhaling asbestos products when the World Trade Center towers fell.
  • Construction Workers. Demolition crews tearing apart old buildings are at risk for exposure. Roofing and flooring materials are still made with asbestos. If you roof homes or help build new houses, you can be at-risk.
  • Industrial/Textile Workers. Specifically foremen, chemical workers, machine operators, and similar trade workers can be exposed to asbestos.
  • Power Plant Workers, who handle asbestos products every day as a matter of their regular work days. Acoustic plaster, hot tops, and mastic are but a few dangerous items they come in contact with on a regular basis.
  • Shipyard Workers. Almost 30% of mesothelioma lawsuits are filed by veterans and shipyard employees who all had to work around asbestos.

Can I Keep Myself Safe?

As stated earlier, there is no ‘safe’ amount of asbestos. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommendations for people to be safer around it. There are education programs, safety equipment your company should get for you, and other ways you can reduce your risk on your own.

OSHA has minimum standards for the construction industry, general industry, and shipyard employment. Any level of exposure can lead to disease from asbestos. In some cases when the legal limits of exposure are exceeded, OSHA requires companies to provide medical monitoring of their employees.

What Should I Do if I am at Risk?

Different occupations have different levels of risk associated with them. If you or other people you work with are coming down with mesothelioma or other diseases, you do not have to face that problem alone.

The length of exposure, the duties of your job, and other factors must be considered. Michael Throneberry has personal experience in handling asbestos claims. He and his law firm are ready to help you. Call them today because you should not be at risk of dying just because you want to work.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


March 14, 2016

Mechanics and Asbestos Brakes


Mechanics and Asbestos Brakes

Asbestos was valuable for automotive brakes due to its heat resistance and strength with a concentration of estimated to be 30 to 80%. Mechanics working on vehicles (both in the past and in the present) that use brake pads containing asbestos fibers are at risk for asbestos exposure. Examples of brakes containing asbestos include but are not limited to:

Allied Signal Friction King Disc Brake Pads (1979-1987);

Bendix Disc Brake Pads (1963-1988); and

Ferodo Brake Pads (1923-1998).

Asbestos linings are also still in use in high-end imports like the Land Rover. Domestically, asbestos is regulated. Foreign manufacturers, on the other hand, have free reign and can use asbestos materials if they so choose. There are no laws on the books that require such products that contain asbestos to be labeled as such.

Brake Mechanics and Asbestos Exposure

An investigation into asbestos litigation done by Jim Morris of the Center for Public Integrity revealed that Ford may have thought it had something to lose and so the company invested nearly $40 million for consultants. These “experts” concluded there is no evidence that putting asbestos in brake shoes and linings leads to mesothelioma.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seems to have different thoughts regarding the risk to asbestos exposure when working with brakes. OSHA recommends using a wet cleaning solution or enclosure when working with brake components because of evidence of chrysotile and tremolite asbestos in the lungs among brake mechanics.

Even though the science is clear about asbestos fibers in brake pads, big corporations still fight to try and minimize their role in the asbestos exposure to brake mechanics.

Take on the Corporate Giant

There are always two sides to every case, and if the case does not settle, a jury will decide the weight of the expert opinion testimony. It is important to gather information early, such as:

When did you start your job working with brake pads? and

How often were you working with the brake pads (8hrs/day, 40hrs/week)?

The attorneys at The Throneberry Law Group will help you organize your case and gather the materials you need. It will begin with a free consultation. The Throneberry Law Group will travel across country if that is what it takes to be able to represent you. Call 888-506-1131 today to set up an appointment.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


February 24, 2016

Firsthand and Secondhand Asbestos Exposure


Firsthand and Secondhand Asbestos Exposure:  The air we breathe might not seem to be at the forefront of one’s mind, as we expect it to be free and clean of toxins. This, however, is not a perfect world and the environment is prone to have its flaws. One flaw is asbestos and its tricky fibers that fill the air around us, oftentimes without us knowing. Asbestos exposure is actually more common than people realize, and even today those who have been exposed might not know it.

Silent but Potentially Deadly

Asbestos exposure is no joke. Exposure to asbestos particles can cause such diseases as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. At least eight million Americans have had sufficient exposure to asbestos, either through firsthand exposure at work, or using commercial products containing it, or through secondhand exposure such as cleaning the clothes of someone who is exposed to a significant amount of asbestos.

Firsthand Asbestos Exposure

An obvious way to be exposed to asbestos is through inhalation (breathing the fibers into your lungs). The second, less common exposure pathway is ingestion, or swallowing asbestos fibers.

Aside from the natural fibers in the air we breathe, certain places and environments are more susceptible to harmful amounts of asbestos. For example, many Veterans who worked in shipyards or on navy vessels were exposed to asbestos in areas where it was used for insulation. Asbestos resists corrosion and high temperatures and can be used to insulate many common things such as boilers, turbines and pumps.

Miners and construction workers can also be exposed on a daily basis. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has estimated that 1.3 million employees in construction and general industry are exposed to asbestos on the job doing things such as repair and maintenance.

Secondhand Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is not just prevalent in those who breathe it on a daily basis. It can resonate at home and in the community as well. Take, for instance, the many wives and children of those who worked in the shipyards during World War II. The fibers transferred to the workers’ clothing, causing the families to fall ill. More recently, in Alabama, a family was awarded a $3.5 million verdict because the mother was exposed to secondhand asbestos and died from mesothelioma. The family sued the Tennessee Valley Authority alleging that she was exposed to asbestos fibers while washing her husband’s work clothes over the span of about 20 years.

Get the Help You Need

Firsthand and secondhand asbestos exposure can have different effects on each individual person. The length of exposure, the time frame, and other medical factors can determine how much compensation you may receive depending on your diagnosis. Michael Throneberry has personal experience, extensive knowledge, and is not limited geographically. Contact the Throneberry Law Group today at 888-506-1131 for your free consultation.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


February 20, 2016

Asbestos-Related Trust Funds and the Proposed FACT Act


Money does not grow on trees, nor does it appear out of thin air. For victims of asbestos exposure, it is very costly to undergo treatment. Each claim is different, but at the very least, there are medical bills that need to be paid. While the asbestos trust funds (worth an estimated $30 billion) are designed to compensate the victims, the FACT Act would require more paperwork and could actually end up delaying the compensation process.

As it stands, getting compensation is anything but instantaneous. The asbestos-related trust funds are not actually controlled by the companies that went bankrupt. Rather, the funds are in the hands of a designated “trustee” who makes decisions as to what the standards are and what the compensation will be. For instance, the claimant will have to show evidence of the asbestos related injury, but depending on the trustee for the company, the claimant might have to satisfy certain medical criteria. When it comes to the FACT Act, the information that a claimant gives is subject to public review.

Facts and Figures of the FACT Act

Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee began considering the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act (FACT). In essence, HR 1927 Section 3 opens doors for those seeking compensation through asbestos trust funds to have their private information on public display.

“(8) A trust described in paragraph (2) shall, subject to section 107—

            “(A) file with the bankruptcy court, not later than 60 days after the end of every quarter, a report that shall be made available on the court’s public docket and with respect to such quarter—”

             “(i) describes each demand the trust received from, including the name and   exposure history of, a claimant and the basis for any payment from the trust made to such claimant.”

What Could the FACT Act Mean for Victims?

Veterans are particularly susceptible to privacy concerns related to asbestos trusts, as they account for about 30% of all mesothelioma diagnoses due to exposure to asbestos containing materials.

Organizations that oppose the FACT Act, such as the Vietnam Veterans of America, National Defense Council, and the Air Force Sergeants Association note that the FACT Act needlessly pries into the private information of mesothelioma victims. The FACT Act exposes the victims to possible identity theft, slows the process, and places an undue burden on the victims to publicly expose what state laws protect as private. The FACT Act raises the possibility that companies could get out of compensating those who are sick and dying (due to asbestos exposure) because of how long it might take to get the compensation and get through the paperwork.

Corporate defendants exaggerate accounts of plaintiff fraud in an effort to limit liability. They suggest that it is intended to decrease the possibility that multiple companies will end up paying the same claims. They argue that the FACT Act is designed so that there are no secrets as to what is being claimed, how much, and by whom. This argument, however, fails to acknowledge that the disclosure of this sensitive information would only lead to the re-victimization of mesothelioma victims by allowing their personal information to be released to the public.

Get the Help You Need from Throneberry Law Group

Michael Throneberry is a compassionate, mesothelioma attorney who will help you understand the process. Mr. Throneberry has personal experience with mesothelioma claims and can discuss your possible trust claim. Contact 888-506-1131 today for a free consultation.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


February 17, 2016

Asbestos-related Diseases Other Than Mesothelioma


The use of asbestos in products was extremely prevalent during much of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, as a result of this, exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers was also common. For some individuals, this exposure led to the development of serious diseases. While mesothelioma is often the disease most associated with asbestos fiber exposure, there are other very serious diseases that can develop, as well.

Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos was used in residences and buildings up until the 1980s because of its resistance to heat. While asbestos was very well-suited for the jobs it was asked to complete, it also was very dangerous to people exposed to its fibers. These microscopic fibers are released into the air when asbestos is disturbed. When breathed in, they may remain in the lungs for years or, in some cases, decades, before the signs of a health issue begin to appear. While asbestos is no longer used today, it still can be found in homes and other buildings, particularly in older structures.

Serious Diseases

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers and involves scarring of the lung tissue. It can lead to a greater risk of the development of lung cancer, particularly if the individual also smokes. The symptoms of asbestosis usually do not appear for many years after the exposure. Those symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent, dry cough, loss of appetite, fingertips and toes becoming wider and rounder than normal (a condition called clubbing), and chest tightness or pain.

Pleural effusion is the development of excess fluid building up in the pleural space, which is the area between the lungs and the chest wall. While usually pleural effusion is not a serious health threat by itself, it may be an indication of a more serious problem. This is because pleural effusion may be caused by cancer. Further, there are some instances of pleural effusion which require treatment to avoid the development of other issues. The symptoms of pleural effusion include shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, and cough.

Pleural effusion that is free of serious inflammation or infection and that rarely causes permanent lung problems is known as uncomplicated pleural effusion. Alternatively, complicated pleural effusion involves significant inflammation or infection. If left untreated, it can lead to the fluid hardening into a constricting ring around the lung through a process called “organization.” This can cause a permanent impairment to the individual’s ability to breathe. To avoid this issue, draining of the fluid is required, which usually involves the placing of a tube in the chest.

Help for Victims of Asbestos Exposure

The above briefly discusses just two of the conditions the health issues that can result as a consequence of exposure to asbestos fibers. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it is possible that you are facing significant medical costs. It may be possible for you to obtain compensation from those responsible for you exposure to asbestos. For more information about recovering for asbestos exposure and asbestos related cancers, speak with an experienced attorney at the Throneberry Law Group.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


February 1, 2016

Asbestos in Electrical Panels


Asbestos in Electrical Panels

As the use of electricity entered every home and building throughout the 1900s, safety measures also had to be put into place. For much of the twentieth century, this involved the use of asbestos. Unfortunately, exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers can lead to the development of serious diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Making Electricity Safe

Electrical panels accept electricity from the main power supply and distribute it throughout a building. It accomplishes this by using cables to connect the power supply to a distribution box within the panel. Within the distribution box are fuses or breakers that connect the main power to electrical cables throughout the house or building.

Electrical currents produce heat and, if not grounded properly, can create a fire. In order to combat against this possibility, early electrical panels used asbestos as an insulator. Asbestos is a poor conductor of electricity and is also resistant to heat and fire. By using asbestos, electrical systems could be made safer.

While using asbestos made electricity in homes and other buildings safer, it also created a health risk for many individuals. This is because asbestos fibers that are breathed into the lungs can lead to the development of serious health conditions. These fibers can remain in the lungs for many years and slowly cause the development of mesothelioma or other cancers. Some of the individuals placed at high risk for asbestos exposure related to electricity are the workers who made electric panels, electricians that installed them, and maintenance workers.

By the 1930s, most homes and buildings had electricity. Companies such as Westinghouse Electric, General Electric, and Johns-Manville (among many others) began creating electrical supply systems with electric panels. Frequently, these panels were made with materials that contained asbestos, including cement, millboard, plastic, tar, or ebony wood. Other parts in the electrical supply systems also contained asbestos, including wiring, which was often covered with asbestos cloth to provide insulation and to protect the wires from flames. Other materials with asbestos included arc chutes, insulation paper, and braided rope. The practice of using asbestos-containing materials continued until the 1980s.

The dangers of asbestos were particularly high during preparation of compounds use in asbestos panel. During this process, asbestos was crushed and refined, which released fibers into the air. In addition, cutting finished electrical panels increased the risk of asbestos exposure. Individuals who installed, drilled, removed, or maintained electrical panels were also placed at risk. The risk was often greater when individuals worked in confined spaces, which placed electricians that worked on naval ships at particular risk.

Compassionate Legal Help

In some cases, it is possible for victims of asbestos exposure to hold those responsible for such exposure accountable. This is often very important because the cost of medical treatment for asbestos-related disease is often significant. For more information, speak with an attorney experienced in handling claims related to asbestos exposure. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys will travel the country to where you live to provide help. We look forward to hearing from you.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


January 24, 2016

Forms of Asbestos


Forms of Asbestos

Asbestos was widely used in the U.S. throughout much of the twentieth century. It provided resistance to heat and fire for countless products at a fairly inexpensive price. Unfortunately, microscopic asbestos fibers also can cause the development of serious diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Further, while the use of asbestos has almost ended, new cases of asbestos-related diseases are still diagnosed to this day.

Asbestos Types

There are six substances that are considered asbestos, with five of them being part of the amphibole mineral family. The other, chrysotile, is part of the serpentine mineral family. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) classified asbestos into these six forms and the EPA adopted these classifications in 1976.

Chrysotile (also called white asbestos) was used extensively during the industrial age. During that period, it is estimated that chrysotile accounted for over 95% of all asbestos use. Additionally, 90 to 95% of asbestos used in the U.S. for commercial applications was chrysotile. Though its use has declined significantly over the past few decades, many places continue to allow “controlled use” of chrysotile asbestos. Some of the products that this form of asbestos can be found in include gaskets, cement, insulation, brake parts, and roofing materials.

The rest of the asbestos types are part of the amphibole family. This includes two commercially valuable types (amosite, or brown asbestos and crocidolite, or blue asbestos), as well as three types that were not commercially used. Each of the amphibole asbestos types are longer and straighter than chrysotile fibers.

Amosite was used because it provided tensile strength and heat resistance to products. Some of these products included cement sheets, insulation, and tiles (for ceilings, roofs, and floors). According to the EPA, amosite was the second most commonly used asbestos in the U.S.

The other commercially valuable type of asbestos is crocidolite, which has very thin fibers. Crocidolite is also more brittle than other amphibole asbestos, which means it can break down much more easily. This also increases the chance that an individual may breathe in those fibers. Crocidolite was used in ceiling tiles, chemical insulation, and electrical and telecommunication wires.

The other three forms of asbestos, though not commercially used, can still be found as a contaminant in some asbestos products.

Help for Victims

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it may be possible to make a claim against those responsible for your exposure to asbestos. For more information, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys will travel to you to represent you in your case. We look forward to discussing how we can help.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


January 18, 2016

Asbestos in Pennsylvania


Throughout the United States during the twentieth century, the use of asbestos was widespread due to its resistance to heat and fire, as well as its relative low cost. Asbestos in Pennsylvania – asbestos use was quite extensive in Pennsylvania due to mining and job sites that produced ships and steel. Exposure to asbestos, particularly over a long period of time, can cause serious health issues, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Asbestos in Pennsylvania

Asbestos could be found throughout Pennsylvania, including in four asbestos mines located in the southeastern part of the state. Asbestos is considered dangerous because its fibers often remain in the lungs for longer periods of time, which increases the risk of the development of mesothelioma.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited numerous facilities within Pennsylvania as potential areas for harm based on the existence of hazardous waste and contamination. Some of the industries that involved the highest levels of exposure included shipbuilding, construction, pipefitting, and demolition. Some of the major job sites in Pennsylvania included:

  • Bethlehem Steel Shipyard;
  • Penn Shipbuilding;
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard;
  • USX Corporation; and
  • LTV Steel.

In addition to the asbestos that was mined from within the state, companies also received large amounts of vermiculite from Libby, Montana that was contaminated with asbestos. According to the Centers for Disease Control (data found by using CDC WONDER search tool), 2,476 Pennsylvania residents died of mesothelioma between 1999 and 2013. During that same period, 473 residents died of asbestosis. The leading counties in Pennsylvania for mesothelioma deaths were Allegheny (288), Philadelphia (222), and Montgomery (205). It is important to keep in mind also that many other victims may have worked in Pennsylvania, but have since moved elsewhere.

BoRit Asbestos Site

To this day, the BoRit Asbestos Site remains a Superfund site on the National Priorities List of the EPA. The site, located in Ambler, operated from the early 1900s to the 1960s. At the site, asbestos-containing material from a nearby manufacturing plant was disposed of. The site was added to the National Priorities List in 2009 because it is located near a residential area, which could be exposed to airborne asbestos. Further, there is a threat of contamination in Tannery Run, Rose Valley Creek, and Wissahickon Creek.

Testing indicated that airborne asbestos levels were not a public health hazard as long as the soil on the site was not significantly disturbed. As a precautionary measure, visitors were instructed not to come into direct contact with the soil. The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recommended the removal of materials that were contaminated with asbestos and to continue evaluation of the site.

Helping Victims

Long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to the development of serious diseases that require significant medical cost to treat. In some cases, those responsible for your exposure to asbestos can be held responsible. For more information on asbestos-related diseases, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys travel the country to meet and help victims of asbestos exposure.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


January 11, 2016

Asbestos History


Asbestos History:  Though the use of asbestos goes back further, it became most prevalent beginning in the late 1800s. While asbestos provided many benefits in countless products throughout the twentieth century, it also caused significant health risks to those exposed to its microscopic fibers. These health issues include mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.

History of Asbestos:  Significant Use in 1900s

Before the late 1800s, the process of mining asbestos was not mechanized. This meant that rock had to be manually chipped at in order to extract the asbestos. As the number of commercial applications of asbestos began to grow, demand also increased. This, along with advances in technology, industrialized the mining process. By the early 1900s, production of asbestos had grown to 30,000 tons annually worldwide.

The potential danger of exposure to asbestos fibers was known very early on. In 1897, an Austrian doctor concluded that a patient’s pulmonary problems were caused by inhalation of asbestos dust. In 1906, the first death of an asbestos worker due to pulmonary failure was documented by Dr. Montague Murray of the London’s Charing Cross Hospital. An autopsy of the 33-year-old victim discovered large amounts of asbestos fibers in his lungs. By 1908, insurance companies in the United States (U.S.) and Canada began to increase the premiums, while simultaneously decreasing the coverage and benefits of policies for workers in asbestos-related industries.

In spite of the warning signs and known risks related to exposure to asbestos, production and use continued to grow. In 1910, the production of asbestos was three times the level produced in 1900. The need for construction materials that were relatively cheap and produced in mass quantities led to the U.S. becoming the world leader in asbestos use. While use declined during World War I and the Great Depression, the beginning of World War II led to renewed interest in asbestos. Following World War II, American expansion and sustained military production related to the Cold War continued the increased use of asbestos.

Today, the use of asbestos is banned in many countries, including throughout the European Union. In the U.S., federal regulation was implemented in the 1970s, which eventually led to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completely banning most use. However, this ban was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Despite this ruling, the use of asbestos has declined steadily ever since. This is due, in large part, to the knowledge of the risks of exposure. The last U.S. asbestos mine was closed in 2002.

While the use of asbestos has declined since the 1970s, it can still be found in various buildings throughout the country. This is because existing asbestos may not have been removed, particularly in much older buildings. Renovation or demolition projects of buildings should be conducted carefully so as not to disturb any asbestos. If asbestos is discovered, its removal should be handled by a licensed professional.

Help for Victims

Exposure to asbestos can cause devastating health issues and new cases are still being discovered today. For more information, speak with an attorney with experience handling asbestos-related cases today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide compassionate legal representation to victims of asbestos exposure.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


January 2, 2016

Asbestos Risk for Oil Refinery Workers


Oil has been, and continues to be, an essential part of our lives. For a large portion of the time that oil has been used, asbestos was also used to protect against heat and the risk of fire. While asbestos was well suited for those tasks, it also posed a risk to people when its microscopic fibers were breathed in. Unfortunately, the asbestos risk for oil refinery workers is significant.

Asbestos and Refining Oil

Crude oil (or petroleum) is unprocessed oil that is extracted from the ground. It is then sent to industrial plants where it is processed and refined into products that are useable, such as gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuel. These plants are usually large complexes with extensive piping that is used to transport fluids to the various processing units.

Petroleum is highly flammable, which can result in explosions and serious fires. In order to refine it, crude oil must be boiled. This process causes gases to release and chemicals to separate. The risks of refining crude oil require parts, equipment, and clothing to be insulated. Historically, asbestos was used in order to protect against high temperatures and potential fires. Specifically, asbestos was contained in:

  • Thermal insulation: used any place where heat and fire could become an issue. From the 1930s to the 1970s, it was common for oil refinery vessels to contain highly flammable materials that required this insulation. Thermal insulation was also used in pipelines, tanks, boilers, reactors, furnaces, and pumps;
  • Refinery equipment: this included sealants and gaskets, which were used in piping and pumps to prevent leaks;
  • Protective clothing: workers around extreme heat and flammable materials wore special clothing.

Refinery workers are responsible for many tasks, which, in the past, placed them at risk of coming into contact with asbestos. This risk was particularly high when materials containing asbestos were cut or sanded, which released the microscopic fibers into the air. Some of the jobs refinery workers conduct include:

  • Operation of the refining or processing units;
  • Maintenance and repairing of equipment;
  • Controlling of pumping stations;
  • Testing oil in storage tanks; and
  • Regulation of the flow of oil in pipelines.

Texas, California, and Louisiana have the most oil refineries within the United States.

Asbestos Danger

Exposure to asbestos fibers can result in the development of serious diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. These diseases often develop over a long period of time, meaning oil refinery workers exposed to asbestos fibers many years ago may still be at risk. Though the use of asbestos was largely discontinued by the 1980s, due to the prolonged development of asbestos-related diseases, more individuals continue to be diagnosed today.

If you believe that you have health issues related to exposure to asbestos, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It may be possible for you to recover from those responsible for your exposure. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys will travel to you to help you with your asbestos-related case.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


December 28, 2015

Lockheed and Shipyard 2


Lockheed and Shipyard 2:  Designated as a Superfund site, Shipyard 2 as it came to be known, is an area that contributed to extensive asbestos exposure. Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company owned and operated the shipyard from 1959 to 1987. During that time, Lockheed produced several important ships. Unfortunately, this also led to increased exposure to asbestos for many workers.

Lockheed and Shipyard 2:  History of Site

Shipyard 2 is located on Harbor Island on the Duwamish River in Seattle, Washington. At the time Lockheed purchased the site in 1959, there were already signs of asbestos contamination and that shipyard workers were suffering from long-term health consequences. A 1945 report from the Shipyard Safety Conference was known by then-owners Puget Sound Bridge and Dredge Company. This report detailed the health risk of asbestos exposure to shipyard workers. Even with this knowledge, asbestos use was continued as an insulator and mixing agent at the shipyard. Lockheed executives would later admit that the information within this report was never shared with workers.

Shipyard activities first began during World War II. During Lockheed’s ownership of the site, the company held several defense contracts. Throughout the 1960s, Lockheed produced Knox class frigates and seven platform dock ships, including the USS Denver and the USS Juneau. Additionally, workers at Shipyard 2 built Coast Guard icebreakers and submarine tenders in the 1970s. The activities of Lockheed at Shipyard 2 included ship berthing, repair, maintenance, and construction.

Following Lockheed’s discontinuance of operations in 1987, Shipyard 2 sat idle until the following year when the Port Authority of Seattle purchased it. Left behind was discarded asbestos and other potentially chemical contaminants. In March 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added Shipyard 2 to the Superfund National Priorities List and named the site “Lockheed West Seattle.” Lockheed (which merged with Martin Marietta in 1994, becoming Lockheed-Martin) continues to promise to fund studies and cleanup of the site. A work plan was proposed in 2010 and cleanup began in 2011. As of August 2013, the estimated cost of cleanup was $48.1 million.

Asbestos Danger

Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is damaged or disturbed, which releases microscopic fibers into the air. Breathing those fibers into the lungs, particularly over a long period of time, can lead to the development of serious health issues such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos was extensively used during much of the twentieth century because it provided strength and fire-resistance to products. For these reasons, asbestos was often used in the production of ships, including ships built for the U.S. Navy. Asbestos was also extensively used in the construction of commercial, residential, and industrial buildings.

Compassionate Help

Exposure to asbestos can lead to significant health complications, which often result in large medical costs. In some cases, it may be possible to recover damage awards against those responsible for your exposure. For more information related to asbestos-related claims, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand how difficult it is for victims of asbestos exposure and would be proud to use our knowledge to help.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


December 18, 2015

National Gypsum Company


The National Gypsum Company (NGC) made extensive use of asbestos in its products beginning with its founding in 1925 and not ending until 1970. This over four decades of use caused widespread exposure to asbestos fibers that eventually led to many lawsuits being filed against NGC. This would lead to the company filing for bankruptcy and forming an asbestos settlement trust fund.

History of NGC

NGC is still in business today, with its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. NGC was originally formed to produce light, flexible wallboard products. The company began including a gold bond certificate with its products promising to pay $5,000 to anyone who could prove another company’s wallboard was lighter and stronger. This marketing campaign became so successful NGC acquired a trademark on “Gold Bond.” The company began expanding the Gold Bond product line to other products, including plaster, acoustical tile, and rock wool, among numerous others. Many of these products contained asbestos.

The use of asbestos in NGC products impacted its own employees as well as workers in residential and commercial construction. Specifically, NGC products with asbestos most severely affected sheetrock workers, drywall tapers, and plasterers. Particular danger occurred for those individuals who sawed or cut products containing asbestos.

By 1990, NGC was over $1 billion in debt, largely due to asbestos-related lawsuits. As a result, the company was forced into bankruptcy. In order to complete the bankruptcy process, NGC was required to setup and fund an asbestos trust to pay for then-existing property damage claims, as well as future personal injury claims. NGC transferred more than $5 million in cash and $600 million in insurance policies to the trust. After emerging from bankruptcy, the company began acquiring some of its competitors. Today, NGC has three primary product brands:

  • Gold Bond Gypsum Board;
  • ProForm drywall finishing products; and
  • PermaBase Cement Board.

All of NGC’s current products are certified to be free of asbestos.

A Dangerous Material

When asbestos is damaged or disturbed, microscopic fibers are released into the air. When these fibers are breathed into the lungs, they can lead to serious health issues, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. These health complications often slowly develop over a long period of time. As a result, exposure from decades ago may only now be manifesting itself into a disease that can be diagnosed.

The use of asbestos was not discontinued in the United States until the 1980s even though the dangers of it were known by many manufacturers several years earlier. This placed at risk numerous individuals, including miners, construction workers, and people who worked at shipyards. Family members were also placed at risk when workers returned to their homes because the fibers would often stick to workers’ clothing or hair.

Providing Help

If you believe that exposure to asbestos has caused the development of a health issue, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Silver Law Group, we understand how difficult it is for you and your family to face an asbestos-related disease. Our attorneys will travel to you to provide the help you need.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


December 14, 2015

Why is Asbestos Dangerous?


Asbestos was extensively used in a wide variety of products until the 1980s. The material was popular because it was inexpensive and provided numerous benefits such as its strength and resistance to heat. Asbestos, however, is dangerous under certain circumstances. Due to the nature of asbestos, health issues may not become apparent for many years.

Danger in the Air

Asbestos containing materials are dangerous when the product is disturbed. This causes microscopic fibers to be released into the air. Asbestos is also considered dangerous when it is friable, which means that it can be easily crumbled with little pressure. Friable asbestos is more susceptible to having its fibers released into the air. Sprayed-on asbestos insulation is considered highly friable, whereas asbestos floor tile is not.

If the fibers enter the lungs (or the digestive tract if asbestos is ingested), serious health issues often develop over time. This is because it is difficult for the body’s immune system to destroy the fibers; they do not readily dissolve or breakdown. The body is unable to remove them once they enter the lungs or body tissues. As a result, they remain in those areas of the body and often lead to the development of disease.

Diseases

There are three primary diseases that exposure to asbestos fibers causes:

  • Asbestosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma

Asbestosis is a non-cancerous, respiratory disease that currently has no effective treatment, which usually means it is fatal. Individuals that develop asbestosis are generally workers who deal with asbestos or asbestos-containing products on a daily basis. It is not, for example, caused as a result of exposure because of the neighborhood a person lived in or living with a person who worked with asbestos.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death related to exposure to asbestos. Individuals who mined, milled, manufactured, or used asbestos containing materials have a higher rate of incidence of lung cancer than the general population.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is directly linked to asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is often referred to as the “signature disease” of asbestos exposure. The individuals at risk of developing this disease include workers exposed to asbestos containing products, but also people who lived with those workers and people who resided near mines, factories, or shipyards that were involved with asbestos.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

Due to its strength and resistance to heat, asbestos was used in thousands of products for much of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, this widespread use caused many people to be exposed to dangerous fibers. If you have been diagnosed with a disease that you believe was caused by exposure to asbestos, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the serious nature of asbestos-related diseases and will work diligently for you.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


December 7, 2015

Asbestos Sheets


The use of asbestos sheets for various construction projects began in 1907. These sheets were made from asbestos cement and were used in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Asbestos sheets are considered to be of medium toxicity, but they are generally not friable and not banned from use.

Types of Sheets

Before asbestos sheets were used, fires were able to spread very quickly, which often resulted in the complete loss of buildings. The various types of asbestos sheets include:

  • Corrugated sheets: primarily used in roofs and as siding for walls to provide structural support and protection in the event of fire;
  • Sheathing (also called corrugated asbestos-cement sheathing or asbestos building lumber): used in roofing and siding, frequently in renovation projects or additions because it was easy and inexpensive to install; and
  • Flatsheet: used in interior walls and ceilings.

Asbestos sheets are made by mixing cement, water, and asbestos together. Once mixed, the material is layered and pressed between metallic plates in order to remove excess water and to create a corrugated pattern. This pattern appears as a series of parallel ridges that add strength to the sheet. Some of the manufacturers of asbestos sheet included Keasby & Mattison, Johns Manville, Philip Carey Manufacturing Corporation, and National Gypsum Company.

Potential Danger

Asbestos sheets contain between 20-45%asbestos. They can become dangerous when they are damaged. This can occur as a result of power washing, sanding, sawing, drilling, or removing sheets. Any of those activities can lead to microscopic asbestos fibers being released into the air. Additionally, heat, water, weathering, and aging can also weaken sheets, making them more susceptible to being damaged. Construction workers are at the most risk as a result of projects involving installing, removing, renovating, or demolishing asbestos sheets.

Though not friable, asbestos sheets can become friable if they are damaged. A product is friable if it is brittle and can be broken apart with very little force. Prior to any demolition or renovation project, asbestos sheets should be abated and, if possible, they should be removed whole. If asbestos sheets become broken and friable, only a licensed and registered asbestos contractor should handle the abatement process. During the removal, all sheets should be wet in order to help minimize the risk of fibers being released.

When asbestos fibers are breathed into the lungs, they may remain for many years before health complications such as mesothelioma or asbestosis develop. The use of asbestos was widespread for much of the twentieth century. While the use largely ended in the 1980s, older homes or buildings may still contain products that contain asbestos. As a result, care should be taken when renovating these types of structures.

Compassionate Help

If you have been diagnosed with a health condition related to exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to hold those responsible for your exposure accountable. For more information, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the difficulty of dealing with asbestos-related diseases and look forward to discussing how we can help.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


November 27, 2015

New Drug May Help Mesothelioma Victims


Recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new medication in the treatment of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and melanoma. The drug, called Keytruda and manufactured by Merck, has shown positive results in the treatment of patients with mesothelioma. This is important, as the treatment options for mesothelioma are currently severely limited.

Mesothelioma

An individual may develop mesothelioma after prolonged exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, this was common for much of the twentieth century, as up until the 1980s asbestos was used extensively in numerous products. Asbestos becomes dangerous when microscopic fibers are disturbed and released into the air. When breathed in, these fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before serious issues become apparent. Construction workers, carpenters, and shipyard workers are just some of the individuals who were placed at risk due to their occupations.

New Drug May Help Mesothelioma Victims

Keytruda attacks and kills cancer cells by targeting a protein called Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). The drug will treat patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer in which the disease has progressed despite the use of alternative treatments. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in 2015, it is estimated that there will be 1,658,370 new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Additionally, an estimated 589,430 people will die due to the disease.

Dr. Hossein Borghaei, a lung cancer and mesothelioma specialist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, stated, “[f]or an early-stage investigation into this terrible disease, it’s very encouraging to have the kind of results that the investigators are reporting.” According to one study made up of 25 mesothelioma patients who had unsuccessfully undergone chemotherapy and who had tumors with the PD-L1 protein, 76% showed improvement after around 5 ½ months. Furthermore, 48% of the individuals in the study had their tumors stop growing and 28% had their tumors shrink.

Individuals may find that the side effects of Keytruda are more tolerable than chemotherapy. These side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • An increased feeling of fatigue;
  • Decrease in appetite;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Impaired breathing;
  • Development of a cough; or
  • Severe immune system-related issues.

According to Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Keytruda will allow physicians to specifically target patients who they believe are the most likely to benefit. Dr. Pazdur explained the progress being made against cancer, stating, “[o]ur growing understanding of underlying molecular pathways and how our immune system interacts with cancer is leading to important advances in medicine.”

Compassionate Legal Help

The development of Keytruda signals a bit of good news for victims of mesothelioma. If you have been diagnosed with this disease, it may be possible for you to recover against those responsible for your exposure to asbestos. Recovery can be critically important for covering the cost associated with medical treatment. For more information, contact an attorney experienced in asbestos-related matters. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys will travel to where you live to provide help.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


November 21, 2015

Asbestos Use in Adhesives


Adhesives are used to help bond numerous types of materials. Beginning early in the 1900s, it was common for asbestos use in adhesives . Unfortunately, microscopic asbestos fibers are dangerous when inhaled into the lungs. By the 1980s, the dangers were so widely known that asbestos use was largely discontinued.

Asbestos Use in Adhesives

Adhesives are used in flooring, wallpaper, HVAC systems, and many other construction materials. Additionally, they were used to patch seal joints on boilers and pipes on United States Naval ships because, when these adhesives contained asbestos, they were capable of withstanding extreme heat and fire. Fortunately, asbestos-containing adhesives have low toxicity levels and are not friable. As a result of this, the only adhesives banned by the Environmental Protection Agency are sprayed-on asbestos adhesives that contain more than one percent asbestos and flooring felt adhesive.

The majority of liquid, non-roofing adhesives that contained asbestos were created through the use of bagged asbestos. The asbestos was placed into a fluffing machine in order to separate the fibers. Next, resins or solvents were added in a batch-mixing tank, along with pigments or fillers. Once complete, the material was packaged in metal pails, smaller containers, or tubes. By 1985, about 9.6 million gallons of asbestos non-roofing adhesives, sealants, and coatings were being produced. However, throughout the 1980s, the use of asbestos began to decline due to awareness of the danger, coupled with the filing of lawsuits, which increased insurance costs.

Danger of Exposure

Most adhesive materials with asbestos contained up to 25% asbestos. Fibers are released as adhesives break down over time. These fibers can also be released during renovation, demolition, or regulator construction if adhesives are damaged or disturbed. Additionally, seals may wear down and flake or peel away. Some of the occupations at risk of exposure to asbestos-containing adhesives included construction workers, HVAC workers, and Navy veterans.

While the use of asbestos in adhesives largely stopped in the 1980s, older homes or buildings may still contain asbestos-containing adhesives. Some of these adhesives can be abated without the help of a professional. However, black adhesive should always be tested for asbestos. If asbestos is detected, the material should be abated by a professional. It is important to never sand or grind adhesives, as this can release fibers into the air. While adhesives are not considered as dangerous as other asbestos-containing materials, it is still necessary to take precaution against exposure.

Microscopic asbestos fibers are dangerous when released into the air where they can be breathed into the lungs. Once in the lungs, these fibers may remain for many years before the development of serious diseases, like mesothelioma or other cancers, become apparent. Unfortunately, these diseases are often life-threatening and result in significant medical bills.

Compassionate Help

If you have been exposed to asbestos and believe that this may have led to the development of health issues, it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It may be possible for you to recover needed damage awards from those responsible for your asbestos exposure. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys will travel to you to provide the help you need.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


November 17, 2015

Crown Cork and Asbestos


An interesting company that continues to be liable for asbestos exposure is Crown Cork and Seal, which is now known as Crown Holdings, Inc. (Crown). Founded in 1892 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Crown never actually manufactured a product that contained asbestos. Rather, the acquisition of another company in the 1960s exposed Crown to the risk of potential lawsuits for asbestos-related issues that remain today.

About Crown

Crown has never filed for bankruptcy and, as a result, does not have an asbestos trust fund. Today, the company is the largest metal packaging company in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Crown is involved in numerous markets, including packaging for drinks, foods, health and beauty items, and household and industrial products.

Crown’s liability in relation to products that contained asbestos came about after it acquired the New York-based Mundet Cork Company (Mundet) in 1963. Mundet manufactured cork-lined bottle caps, which was what attracted Crown to purchase the company. But, Mundet also made insulation products and cement, both of which contained significant amounts of asbestos. While Crown sold off all but the bottle-cap division, the company still remains liable for the exposure to asbestos that Mundet was responsible for.

Crown Cork and Asbestos: Who is at Risk?

There were numerous people placed at risk due to products created by Mundet. These included employees of the Mundet insulation and cement division and customers who used Mundet products, which included several oil refineries and the U.S. Navy. The largest use of Mundet products was commercial, which placed repairers and installers at increased risk.

Insulation workers were at particular risk because they used Mundet products for insulating pipes, walls, and boilers in order to keep those products from overheating and becoming susceptible to fire. Frequently, insulators worked in confined spaces, which increased the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. Chrysotile asbestos was used in the insulation of pipes because it became strong and cohesive when used along with magnesium.

Family members of workers who dealt with products that contained asbestos were also placed at risk. This is because asbestos dust, which contains dangerous, microscopic fibers, remains on clothing and hair. When a person who came into contact with asbestos dust returned home from work, it was possible that asbestos fibers could be released into the air, which family members may have then breathed in. This was a particular risk for family members responsible for cleaning the clothes of workers exposed to asbestos.

Some of the products that Mundet created that contained asbestos included:

  • Mineral wool finishing cement;
  • Mineral wool insulating cement;
  • Cork 85 percent magnesia asbestos insulation;
  • Block insulation; and
  • Pipe covering.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious health consequences such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. If you believe you may have developed a disease related to asbestos exposure, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we understand the difficulty of dealing with asbestos-related diseases. We look forward to discussing how we can help you.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


November 6, 2015

Asbestos in Vinyl Products


Vinyl was first produced in the 1920s and continues to be used today. Made up of plastic resin, vinyl is used in many building and housing applications due to it being simultaneously flexible, sturdy, and durable. Unfortunately, some vinyl products may be dangerous because they contain asbestos.

Asbestos in Vinyl Products

The use of asbestos was common in vinyl because it made the product stronger and better insulated, while also being relatively inexpensive. Vinyl was used in all different kinds of structures such as residences, schools, and commercial buildings. Some of the common products asbestos was used in include:

  • Vinyl sheet flooring;
  • Vinyl wallpaper; and
  • Vinyl Asbestos Tile (VAT).

There were numerous companies that manufactured vinyl products that contained asbestos, including:

  • Armstrong World Industries;
  • Congoleum Corporation;
  • GAF Corporation; and
  • Synkoloid Corporation.

Vinyl Products and Asbestos Exposure

In comparison to other products that contained asbestos, vinyl products are considered less dangerous. This is because asbestos in vinyl is not highly toxic and typically not friable. A product that is friable is susceptible to being broken, releasing fibers into the air through small amounts of pressure. As a result of this, the use of asbestos in vinyl was not prohibited. However, the use of asbestos began being phased out in the 1980s due to the health concerns that exposure to asbestos fibers raised.

While the use of asbestos in new products largely ended in the 1980s, older buildings and residences may still contain products with asbestos. However, if the material with asbestos is in good condition, the risk of exposure is relatively low. This is particularly true for products like tile or wallpaper, which are both considered non-friable. But, cutting, sanding, or disturbing these products can still release fibers into the air.

The most dangerous vinyl product is vinyl sheet flooring. This product often came in very large pieces, which were cut down to size to fit the particular application. It was common for vinyl sheet flooring to have an asbestos backing that is considered friable, meaning disturbing or damaging the product is likely to release fibers.

Due to the fact that vinyl wallpaper and floor tiles contain asbestos that is not considered friable, abatement of those products typically does not require a license. This means that a homeowner that comes across these materials can perform the removal themselves. If doing so, it is important to always wear proper personal protective equipment and dampen all tiles and wallpaper before removing them to limit the chance asbestos dust will be released. Importantly, vinyl sheet flooring must be handled by a professional.

Helping Victims

Individuals exposed to asbestos fibers may be at an increased risk of developing serious health issues such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. If you have been diagnosed with a disease that you believe may be related to asbestos exposure, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, our attorneys will travel to where you live to provide you the help you need.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


November 1, 2015

Mobil and Asbestos


The Mobil Oil Corporation, now known as ExxonMobil and headquartered in Irving, Texas, was founded as part of the breakup of the Standard Oil Company. Due to the nature of its industry, the company made extensive use of products that contained asbestos. As a result, many former employees have developed health issues arising out of their exposure to asbestos fibers.

History of the Company

Mobil Oil began as a result of the order for Standard Oil to break apart into smaller companies after the U.S. Supreme Court found that the company violated federal antitrust laws. In 1931, two of the companies that were spawned out of the breakup, Vacuum Oil and Standard Oil of NY (Socony), merged into Socony Vacuum and sold a product called Mobilgas. In 1955, the company changed its name to Socony Mobil Oil, before becoming Mobil Oil in 1966.

Mobil merged with the Exxon Corporation in 1999, becoming ExxonMobil. Today, it is the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company in the world. ExxonMobil operates 38 oil refineries in 21 countries, capable of a combined daily refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels. The company produces and sells crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas.

Importantly, the company has never filed for bankruptcy, which means it has not been required to set up an asbestos trust fund in order to assist victims of exposure to asbestos.

Mobil and Asbestos

In order to produce oil and manage oil refineries, a significant amount of heavy-duty industrial equipment must be used. This equipment is used in the drilling and harvesting of products like oil. Historically, this equipment, which produces a great deal of heat, often contained asbestos. This was because asbestos, which is non-flammable and heat resistant, was widely considered to be the best insulation material for any equipment or vessel that contained anything that was flammable, such as oil and gas.

Some of the different products that the company made or used that contained asbestos include, but are not limited to:

  • Vessels;
  • Carriers;
  • Pipelines;
  • Reactors;
  • Furnaces;
  • Heat exchangers;
  • Boilers; and
  • Protective clothing worn by its refinery workers.

The asbestos placed certain employees at a significant risk of exposure while they worked for the company, including insulators, metal workers, engineers, electricians, and chemical workers.

Dangers of Exposure

When asbestos is disturbed, it can release microscopic fibers into the air. After prolonged, sustained exposure to these fibers, individuals may be at risk for the development of serious diseases, such as mesothelioma and other cancers. While the use of asbestos was widely discontinued in the 1980s, the effects of exposure in some cases may not develop for decades. Unfortunately, when issues arise, they are usually highly dangerous.

Helping Victims

For more information about how to seek damages for the harm you have suffered as a result of exposure to asbestos, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel to victims of asbestos exposure to provide them with help. We look forward to hearing from you to discuss your situation.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


October 27, 2015

Asbestos in Fire Prevention Products


The use of asbestos in products to help provide protection from fire first began centuries ago, but it became increasingly more common during the early twentieth century. Asbestos is a very effective material to provide fireproofing and fire protection, but it is also very dangerous when its microscopic fibers are inhaled. Since the 1980s, the use of asbestos has almost entirely been discontinued.

Fire Protection

Asbestos was an inexpensive additive used in numerous fire-resistant products. Beginning in the mid-1800s, asbestos was used in textiles, woven into fabrics to make them more resistant to fire. Some of the resulting products included suits for firefighters, laboratory gloves, and theater curtains. These textiles were also used in other fire-resistant fabrics, clothes, insulations, and coatings.

The use of asbestos was also quite common in construction materials to help with preventing fires. Some of these products included:

  • Roofing shingles;
  • Wallboard panels;
  • Concrete;
  • Tar paper;
  • Plastic cement; and
  • Ceiling tile.

Asbestos is particularly well suited for all of the above mentioned applications because it is non-flammable and non-combustible, with a melting point of around 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, asbestos is made up of very strong, flexible fibers.

Dangers of Asbestos in Fire Prevention Products

In the 1970s, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) completed studies that led to a determination that the use of asbestos should be restricted. The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) determined that the use of fire-proofing spray containing asbestos should be completely prohibited. However, NESHAP revised that decision in 1990, advising that asbestos-containing spray may be used, but that any such spray must contain either less than one percent asbestos or have the asbestos encapsulated with a binder.

Fire-proofing spray was particularly dangerous because it is a wet, foam-like material upon its application. As the spray dries, it becomes much more friable, which means it becomes more susceptible to crumbling. Additionally, over time, the spray continues to dry out and become even more friable.

It is important to note that the specific level of asbestos content varies by the particular product. For example, ceiling tiles averaged around ten percent asbestos, whereas some textiles were made entirely of asbestos. The occupations at the highest risk of exposure are construction workers and firefighters. This is because renovation projects or a fire can lead to the damage and disturbance of fibers.

Asbestos becomes dangerous when its microscopic fibers are released into the air and breathed into the lungs. Exposure to these fibers can lead to the development of serious diseases, including mesothelioma and other cancers. While the use of asbestos was largely discontinued in the 1980s, products containing asbestos still exist in many homes and other buildings today.

Compassionate Help

The use of asbestos was extremely common for much of the twentieth century, which caused many people to be exposed to dangerous fibers. For information about the legal remedies available to victims of exposure to asbestos, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we will travel to you to help.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


October 24, 2015

General Motors and Asbestos


One of the nation’s most recognized companies, General Motors (GM) has been manufacturing automobiles for over 100 years. As the company grew, it entered other industries as well. Many of the products that GM and its subsidiaries created contained asbestos and, because of the size of GM, the number of people impacted by the company’s use of asbestos is extensive.

History of GM

GM was founded in Flint, Michigan on September 16, 1908 by William Durant. At that time, GM only owned the Buick Motor Company. However, Durant would go on to purchase more than 30 companies with the intention of bringing all of them together under the GM label. These companies included Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Cadillac. Today, GM is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

As the company began expanding, it entered other industries apart from the manufacturing of automobiles. For example, it acquired subsidiaries like Frigidaire and the Delco Appliance Corporation. Additionally, GM helped during World War II by producing tanks, naval ships, and planes. Today, GM also provides consumer lending services.

General Motors and Asbestos

The disturbance of asbestos causes microscopic fibers to be released into the air, which can be breathed into the lungs. Those fibers can cause serious health issues, like the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. An individual may live for several years after exposure to asbestos fibers before any health complications become apparent.

GM purchased products containing asbestos from numerous outside companies, which led to the company being named in a number of lawsuits. For example, Borg-Warner produced clutch parts that contained chrysotile asbestos, which GM used from the early 1960s into the 1980s. The majority of the lawsuits involving GM related to brake linings and clutch facings. GM used asbestos (or products that contained asbestos) in brake and clutch assemblies from the 1930s to the 1980s. Asbestos was also used in adhesives, gaskets, and electrical parts.

Individuals at significant risk included automobile mechanics, warehouse employees, brake and clutch assemblers, and boiler workers. Risk of asbestos exposure also extended to sales people of automobile parts and consumers. Many parts were widely available at stores to enable consumers to work on their own cars. GM subsidiaries, like Frigidaire and Delco manufactured products that contained asbestos to insulate boilers and ovens. This placed individuals who repaired or installed these products at risk, as well as consumers.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and emerged from it the same year. As a result of its bankruptcy, GM was forced to create an asbestos trust fund. This was completed in 2012 and contains $625 million for the benefit of victims of exposure to asbestos that can be traced to GM.

Helping Victims

If you have developed health issues as a result of exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to recover for the damage you have suffered. For more information about potential legal remedies, contact an attorney with experience handling mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cases today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we will travel to you to provide our help.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


October 19, 2015

Asbestos in Automotive Parts


The automobile industry was one of the driving forces behind the growth of the United States. Today, automobiles are everywhere you look and have been for decades. They provide reliable and easy access to transportation. Unfortunately, they also contained significant amounts of asbestos.

Asbestos in Automotive Parts – Products Containing Asbestos

Asbestos was used in automobile parts because of its heat-resistance capabilities. It was commonly used in brake and clutch components. Other auto parts that contained asbestos include hood liners, gasket materials, heat seals, and valve rings.

As part of normal use, asbestos brake linings wore down as a result of friction, releasing large amounts of microscopic asbestos fibers. These fibers often became trapped within the brake housing. When auto mechanics or owners opened the housing, the dust containing asbestos was released into the air and breathed in. Similarly, clutch systems naturally wore down and caused asbestos to become ground down and released into the air as dust.

An estimated 900,000 auto mechanics were exposed to asbestos fibers from brake and clutch parts. Despite the risks of exposure to asbestos fibers, the use of asbestos never completely ended. Asbestos can be found in linings within high-end foreign automobiles and in some aftermarket products.

Due to the sheer size of the automotive industry, the number of companies that manufactured products that contained asbestos are numerous. Some of these companies include automobile manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, and Daimler-Chrysler, as well as parts manufacturers and suppliers including but not limited to:

Abex, Federal-Mogul,

Bendix- a division of Honeywell,

Pneumo Corporation,

Pep Boys,

Advance Auto Parts,

Fisher Auto Parts,

Raymark Industries,

Genuine Parts Company,

O’Reilly Automotive, Inc.,

Autozone,

Ren Auto Parts, and

Austin Auto Parts

It is important to keep in mind that the companies named above are just a fraction of the companies that made automotive products with asbestos.

Dealing with Products Containing Asbestos

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued warnings to mechanics to assume that all brake systems contain asbestos. In addition, OSHA has informed of cleaning techniques that may release asbestos fibers into the air:

  • Using a vacuum cleaner;
  • Using compressed air to clean drum brake systems; and
  • Wiping parts with a dry rag.

OSHA prefers automotive repair shops to use one of the following specific practices to control asbestos dust if they perform more than five brake or clutch jobs per week:

  • Negative-Pressure Enclosure/HEPA Vacuum System Method: Through this method, a special box made up of clear walls or windows is fitted tightly around a brake or clutch assembly thereby keeping any asbestos fibers from escaping into the air; or
  • Low Pressure/Wet Cleaning Method: This method involves the use of a low pressure spray that wets the assembly in order to keep dust from escaping into the air. The runoff is collected in a catch basin.

Helping Victims of Asbestos Exposure

Automobiles have been allowing us to travel easily and inexpensively for over 100 years. Unfortunately, for a large portion of that history, automobiles were manufactured with products that contained asbestos. If you believe that you have been injured as a result of exposure to asbestos, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel the country to provide compassionate legal representation to victims of asbestos exposure.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


October 16, 2015

W.R. Grace and Asbestos


Founded in 1854, W.R. Grace (Grace) is responsible for one of the largest asbestos contamination cases in U.S. history. The contamination caused severe harm to its employees and to the residents of the community of the contamination site. The harm forced the company to file for bankruptcy, organize an asbestos trust fund, and face criminal charges. Despite these obstacles, Grace continues to operate today, with its headquarters in Columbia, Maryland.

W.R. Grace and Asbestos History

Grace purchased vermiculite mines and a processing mill in Libby, Montana in 1963, continuing operation there until 1990. The company employed up to 200 people and produced up to 200,000 tons of vermiculite per year. Unfortunately, vermiculite mines are often a source of asbestos as well. This was the case for Grace’s mine and it posed a significant risk to the people who worked in the mines and to those who lived in the area. It is estimated that more than 400 Libby residents have died due to exposure to asbestos fibers.

The Zonolite Mountain mine was closed in 1990 after large amounts of airborne asbestos fibers were detected. This discovery led to numerous asbestos-related lawsuits filed against Grace. These lawsuits included those of residents who lived near the mine, as well as construction workers and homeowners who came into contact with the numerous materials produced by Grace that contained asbestos.

Grace produced specialty chemicals and materials primarily for the construction industry. Some of the products Grace produced included fireproofing materials, plaster, roofing and deck materials, and additives for concrete and cement. The company shipped these products both domestically and internationally.

Criminal Charges

In 2001, criminal proceedings were filed against Grace by the U.S. government. The company, as well as seven of its executives, was charged with concealing information about the health issues that were caused by exposure to the mine. During the case, records were uncovered that showed the company was aware of harm being caused to employees and residents as early as the 1970s, though nothing was done to limit that danger or warn individuals of the risk.

In addition to the criminal charges in 2001, the company also filed for bankruptcy. In 2009, Grace was ordered to pay the U.S. government in excess of $54 million in order to cover the cleanup costs of its mine. The company established its asbestos trust in 2008 and emerged from bankruptcy in 2014. Today, the mine is considered a Superfund site. Superfund is the name given to an environmental program designed to clean up abandoned areas where hazardous materials exist. The disturbed asbestos caused contamination in residences, schools, businesses, water, and soil.

Help for Asbestos Victims

Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause significant health issues, such as mesothelioma and other cancers. For victims of asbestos exposure, it may be possible to recover damages from those responsible for your exposure. If you would like more information about claims that may be possible as a result of your exposure to asbestos, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Firm, we travel to you in order to help you with your claim.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


October 10, 2015

Johns Manville


With origins of its company tracing back to before the Civil War, the Johns Manville Corporation is responsible for a significant amount of the asbestos-containing products sold in the United States. Exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers can lead to the development of mesothelioma and other serious health conditions. In some circumstances, it is possible for victims to recover monetary damages for the harm caused through asbestos-related claims, including mesothelioma litigation.

History of the Company

The H.W. Johns Manville Corporation is the result of a merger between the H.W. Johns Manufacturing Company, which used asbestos to manufacture fire resistant roofing, and the Manville Covering Company, which manufactured asbestos heat insulation. After the merger was completed in 1901, the company began manufacturing insulation and construction products for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings.

Some of the products manufactured by the company include products for roofing, insulation, automotive sheet cylinder packing, acoustical products, and cement, all of which contained some amount of asbestos. The company was also involved in the World War II effort, manufacturing insulation products for Naval Vessels and other war-related products that contained a mix of asbestos and silica. As U.S. involvement in the war increased, the demand for Johns Manville products also increased.

In 1958, the company entered the fiberglass market and by 1974 it had become an industry leader in the manufacturing of fiberglass as well as PVC pipe and asbestos cement pipe. In addition to its manufacturing activities, Johns Manville also owned asbestos mines, including the Jeffrey Mine, an open pit mine located in Canada. The company also exported a significant amount of raw asbestos abroad.

Bankruptcy

The Johns Manville Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 1982 and eventually reorganized in 1988. As part of its bankruptcy reorganization, the company created a trust fund to pay claims made by victims of asbestos exposure that could be traced to the company. It was discovered that the company was aware of the potentially deadly effects of exposure to asbestos fibers, but took steps to conceal that information from workers and consumers.

The Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust was originally funded with cash, Johns Manville securities, and insurance proceeds. The company was the first asbestos-producing company to file for bankruptcy and establish a trust fund in order to settle all injury claims. To date, hundreds of thousands of victims have been compensated, with over $4 billion in damages paid. The State of the Trust contains quarterly filings with the court that details important financial information related to the trust.

Johns Manville, with over 7,000 employees worldwide, continues to operate today, with its global headquarters in Denver, Colorado. In addition to many of the same industries it has served historically, the company has expanded into industries such as aerospace and wind energy.

Helping Victims

The Johns Manville Corporation is just one of the numerous companies that contributed to the widespread use of asbestos products in the U.S. for much of the twentieth century. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of exposure to asbestos, speak with an attorney with experience in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related claims. At the Throneberry Law Group, we strive to you to help you obtain the compensation you need.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


October 5, 2015

Asbestos in Insulation


Asbestos contains microscopic fibers that, when released into the air, can be breathed into the lungs, where they can remain for several years before serious health issues become apparent. Exposure to these fibers can cause serious health issues, including cancers like mesothelioma. Insulation was the largest source of exposure to asbestos for workers throughout the 1900s.

Insulation Use

Insulation provides many benefits, including energy conservation, sound deadening, reduction of electrical conductivity, and help with the retention of hot and cold temperatures. Asbestos was particularly well-suited for these purposes, as it is fire resistant and a poor conductor of electricity. In addition, it was cheap and durable. The use of asbestos in insulation products began in the late 1800s to help protect against high-temperature pipes. By 1874, asbestos insulation products were commercially produced and sold on a large-scale basis.

Asbestos was used in (and can still be found in some) homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. In homes and other buildings, asbestos insulation was used in attics, ceilings, walls, around pipes, boilers, furnaces, and electrical boxes. Bans on the use of asbestos did not occur until the 1970s. In 1991, the ban was lifted, but products cannot contain more than one percent asbestos.

The five main categories of insulation that contained asbestos include:

  1. Attic: used for heating, ventilation, and cooling (air conditioning) systems. The most widely recognized brand was Zonolite.
  2. Pipe: often used to control temperatures of hot pipes, particularly those in the building of ships. Today, it is often crumbly, making it particularly dangerous due to fibers being released into the air. Air Cell was a common type.
  3. Block: applied to concrete blocks of homes and other buildings in order to maintain hot and cold temperatures; it provides protection from outside temperatures.
  4. Wall: controls the temperature inside a structure, like a home. It is placed inside the drywall between the studs. Often, wall insulation needed to be cut, which released fibers into the air, increasing exposure to fibers
  5. Spray Applied: popular because it was simple and inexpensive to apply to spaces to help control temperatures. The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) prohibited the use of spray-application materials containing more than one percent asbestos unless encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder.

One of the largest manufacturers of insulation products that contained asbestos was Johns Manville. Workers at particular risk of exposure to asbestos related to insulation included insulators, plumbers, electricians, and pipefitters.

Help for Asbestos Victims

If you believe that you or a loved one have been harmed by exposure to asbestos, it may be possible for you to recover for the damages you have suffered. For more information, speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos-related claims today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel across the nation to assist victims in the pursuit of recovery for the damages they have suffered. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing how we can help.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


September 12, 2015

Asbestos Abatement


Though the use of asbestos was largely halted in the 1980s, its widespread use for much of the twentieth century means it is not uncommon for people to come across asbestos in their homes or other buildings today. If this happens, it does not mean panic should set in, but there are precautions that should be exercised. By treating asbestos with caution, injury can be avoided.

Asbestos Abatement: Repair Versus Removal

Asbestos was extensively used in insulation and other products that required heat resistance. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is damaged or removed, which releases microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before serious health complications appear, such as mesothelioma or other cancers.

Asbestos that is damaged or that may be disturbed should either be repaired or removed. A repair involves the sealing or covering of the asbestos (or the product containing asbestos). Sealing or encapsulation occurs when material is treated with a sealant that either binds the fibers together or coats the material, which prevents any fibers from being released. Alternatively, covering or enclosure involves the placement of something over or around the material containing asbestos in order to prevent the release of fibers.

In some cases, removal is required. This is often necessary when remodeling or other work will likely disturb materials containing asbestos. Removal may also be necessary when a product with asbestos is excessively damaged.

Inspectors and Contractors

Inspectors inspect a home or building, make assessments of the conditions, obtain samples used for testing, and give advice on what should be done. Additionally, inspectors can also monitor the air to discover whether asbestos fibers were released, determine whether corrective action was completed following proper procedures, and ensure any cleanup was done correctly. In contrast, contractors actually perform the repair or removal of asbestos or materials containing asbestos.

Under federal law, there is no requirement that individuals who inspect, repair, or remove asbestos in detached, single-family homes be trained or accredited. However, some states or localities do require such training or accreditation. Before allowing someone to begin work, individuals should request documentation of the professional’s completion of federal or state-approved training.

The following are some things to expect when hiring an asbestos professional:

  • For an inspector: An inspector should complete a visual inspection of the entire home and collect samples for analysis in a lab. After the inspection is complete, the inspector should provide a written evaluation which details the exact location of all asbestos, the extent of any damage, and his or her recommendations for correction and prevention of harm.
  • For a contractor: A written contract should be provided which sets out the plan, cleanup, and applicable regulations that must be followed (these may include notification requirements and removal, handling and disposal procedures). Following completion of the contractor’s work, an inspector or independent air testing contractor should perform air monitoring.

Legal Help for Victims of Asbestos Exposure

Exposure to asbestos can have severe consequences. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of being exposed to asbestos, speak with an attorney experienced in asbestos-related diseases. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide compassionate legal advocacy for victims of asbestos-related diseases.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


September 9, 2015

Discovery in Mesothelioma Cases


An important part of any lawsuit is the discovery process. Discovery is a pre-trial phase of a lawsuit in which all parties involved request and gather information related to the case. Due to the complex nature of mesothelioma claims, the discovery phase is critical. For victims in mesothelioma claims, it is important to be prepared for extensive questioning related to many different aspects of the person’s life. While this may seem personally invasive, it is a necessary step in the development of the claim.

What Does Discovery in Mesothelioma Cases Entail?

Discovery occurs before a trial begins and allows each party to obtain evidence from all opposing parties. In order to collect this evidence and information, the parties make use of interrogatories, requests for depositions, production of documents, and admissions. A majority of the information that will be involved in the case is exchanged during this phase of the lawsuit.

The information and evidence collected during discovery helps to give the attorneys a clearer idea of how the lawsuit may unfold if it continues all the way to trial. As a result of this, many settlements occur during the discovery phase, after the attorneys have a better sense of the potential chances of success.

Victims of mesothelioma who file a lawsuit seeking damages will be faced with thorough questioning and personal requests by the defendant. Some of the information that will likely be requested includes the following:

  • Employment history;
  • Medical history;
  • Family history of asbestos-related diseases or cancer;
  • Whether the victim is a smoker or was in the past;
  • Where and how the exposure to asbestos occurred;
  • Whether the victim’s employer instituted any regulations intended to limit asbestos exposure; and
  • The initial date and frequency of exposure.

It is important to be aware that the above are just some of the questions that may be raised by the defendant. There will likely be many more related to the victim’s exposure, diagnosis, and treatment. One way in which a victim will provide answers is through the use of interrogatories. These are like questionnaires in which written answers are provided.

Another way in which evidence and information is collected is through depositions. During a deposition, answers to questions are provided while under oath. Additionally, depositions are recorded and videotaped for documentation purposes. Both parties to the lawsuit will also contact the victim’s family members, co-workers, and former employers to collect more information. The victim’s primary healthcare provider will also have to answer questions related to the medical condition and treatment of the victim.

Some depositions last for only a few hours, while others may span over the period of several days. The length of time depositions last depends on a variety of issues, such as the complexity of the case. The entire discover phase typically lasts several months.

Compassionate Help for Victims

For more information about methods of recovery for mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we travel the country to provide representation to victims of these aggressive diseases.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


September 2, 2015

Asbestos Class Action


Individuals exposed to asbestos fibers are at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Exposure was widespread up until the 1980s, when the dangers of exposure were officially recognized by the federal government. Unfortunately, by that time, many individuals had already been exposed to dangerous levels of fibers. As a result, there have been many asbestos-related claims against the manufacturers and employers that were responsible for causing exposure to victims.

Danger of Asbestos

Asbestos contains microscopic fibers that, when disturbed, are released into the air where they can be breathed into the lungs. They may remain in the lungs for several years (in some cases, even decades) before any damage is detected. Exposure to these fibers has been linked to the development of cancer, including mesothelioma. The cost of treating these diseases or conditions is often quite significant. As a result, victims frequently turn to lawsuits against those responsible for their exposure to recover damage awards that can help pay for medical expenses.

Asbestos Class Action:  Should I Join a Class Action?

A class action lawsuit involves a group of people collectively filing a claim against a defendant. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a group of people who are “similarly situated.” This means that a group of plaintiffs all have similar injuries caused by shared circumstances that raise the same legal issues. The court determines whether the similarities are sufficiently close enough and whether forcing all of the plaintiffs to file separate lawsuits would be overly burdensome.

An individual may be asked to join in a class action lawsuit if it is thought that the individual is similarly situated to the other plaintiffs. If this happens, the individual may elect to join the class action, but this will eliminate his or her ability to file an individual lawsuit against the defendant for the same injury. Alternatively, the individual can elect to “opt out” of the class action, which preserves his or her right to pursue an individual claim at a future date.

Due to the large number of claimants in a class action lawsuit, the result is typically a settlement agreement. This may be highly desirable for an individual who does not want to go through the expense and duration of a trial. However, joining a class action can also have negative consequences. For example, whether through a settlement or success at trial, the award will be divided among all of the claimants in a class action. Because of this, an individual, if successful, often ends up with a larger award by filing an individual claim than if they joined a class action. Before deciding whether or not to join a class action, it is important to consult with an attorney in order to protect your legal rights.

Helping Victims

Exposure to asbestos fibers can result in devastating diseases such as mesothelioma and other cancers. If you believe that you have developed a disease due to exposure to asbestos fibers, speak with an experienced attorney today. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide compassionate representation to victims of asbestos fiber exposure.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


July 27, 2015

Health Insurance and Mesothelioma


Health Insurance and Mesothelioma

For victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, the costs of diagnosis and treatment are significant. These costs are quite often high enough to make it difficult, if not impossible, to afford without the assistance of health insurance. But, individuals should be aware of limitations that insurance has when it comes to these serious diseases.

Covering the Cost

Asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma and other cancers, can result in significant cost to victims. Typical surgeries associated with cancer treatment cost around $40,000 (and that does not include the most aggressive or complicated surgeries). An eight-week chemotherapy cycle costs around $30,000. Monthly radiation costs around $2,000.

While most insurance plans provide coverage for diagnostic testing and treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, it is dependent on each particular plan. Even when these things are covered, it is typically only after high deductibles are met and will have high copayments.

In addition to private insurance, the U.S. government provides certain individuals with coverage. Medicare provides insurance for individuals 65 years of age and older who have a sufficient work history. There are four different types of Medicare:

  • Part A: provided to all individuals covered by Medicare, it covers in-patient hospital care, as well as in-patient care in nursing, hospice, or home facilities;
  • Part B: for an additional premium, it covers visits to doctor’s offices, laboratory costs, medical equipment, and ambulance services;
  • Part C: for an additional premium, it is a combination of Part A and B, and is provided by private insurance companies as supplemental insurance;
  • Part D: providing assistance for prescription medication costs.

Medicaid, the other large government program, provides assistance to low-income individuals. Under certain circumstances, mesothelioma treatment is covered under this program.

An issue that individuals may encounter in relation to their insurance coverage is the network of healthcare providers. For example, mesothelioma is a rare disease, making finding experts within an insurance policy’s network difficult. Unfortunately, this may make going outside of the network in order to find the best care through the use of a specialist necessary, which will increase the cost of treatment.

Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which went into effect in 2014, provided important changes that impacted mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease, including:

  1. Easier obtainment of insurance for low-income families;
  2. Minimum insurance standards for items like cancer screenings, treatment and follow-up care;
  3. Prevention of companies from dropping individuals with life-threatening diseases (like mesothelioma);
  4. Providing for patients with pre-existing conditions (like cancer) to obtain coverage; and
  5. Eliminating annual and lifetime maximums that insurance plans will pay for cancer patients.

Compassionate Legal Help

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are often devastating. For more information on obtaining assistance in seeking the needed benefits to help you combat these insidious diseases, contact the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group today. We understand the difficulty of fighting asbestos-related diseases and diligently fight for the victims we represent.

 

 

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


July 16, 2015

Asbestos and Power Plants


Power plants are massive facilities that generate and distribute energy across the nation to businesses, residences, and other structures. The development of these plants helped spur the growth of America during the twentieth century. But, along the way, they caused workers to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can lead to serious health complications, like mesothelioma and other cancers.

Asbestos and Power Plants

Power plants generate and harness useable power and, in the process, generate tremendous amounts of heat. As a result, the risk of potential fire is a major concern. Historically, asbestos was used to help mitigate this risk. Asbestos is a poor conductor of electricity and is resistant to heat and fire. Because of this, asbestos was widely used in insulation materials, which went into walls, wires, pipes, generators, and other machinery. Asbestos was effective at helping to prevent fire and overheating.

The use of asbestos was especially high in plants that produced electricity and in power distribution centers. During the standard operation of these facilities, asbestos fibers were often released into the air. Other places related to power plants in which asbestos was used included transformer stations, lignite mining plants, and off-site workshops.

Further placing workers in power plants at risk was the specific clothing they wore while at work. Power plant workers wear special insulated, protective clothing that, until the 1980s, also contained asbestos. Unfortunately, though many employers were generally aware of the risks of exposure to asbestos, they frequently did not inform workers of those risks.

Plant workers that were most at risk were blue collar workers. These included individuals who installed and/or maintained pipes and electrical appliances in the plant. Additionally, work involving the upgrading of machinery was dangerous, as it involved the cutting and sawing of products that contained asbestos. Further, many plant workers sprayed asbestos pulp directly onto heated materials, potentially causing exposure. Today, exposure to asbestos fibers is much more controlled and limited, though it may still occur in older plants or in plants that have not had asbestos-containing materials removed.

Asbestos Fibers

When asbestos is disturbed, it releases microscopic fibers into the air that can be breathed into the lungs. Exposure to these fibers, particularly over a long period of time, can result in the development of cancer or other serious diseases. The symptoms of the exposure may not appear for several years, or even decades. Therefore, individuals who worked in power plants many years ago, particularly before the 1980s, may have suffered life-threatening exposure to asbestos fibers, with the symptoms just now being diagnosed.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, it may be possible for you to recover much-needed compensation to help with your medical battle. For more information about how this may be possible, speak with the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group. We provide compassionate and expert representation for victims of asbestos exposure.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


July 16, 2015

Asbestos Risk to Insulators


Insulation is used to help in controlling and maintaining the temperature inside of buildings and homes. Unfortunately, for much of the twentieth century, insulation contained asbestos. The dangers of exposure to asbestos include the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. Individuals who are employed as insulators are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, particularly if this work occurred before the 1980s.

Asbestos Insulation 

Asbestos insulation was the largest source of exposure for workers throughout the 1900s. It was used in homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. Insulation is beneficial because it conserves energy, reduces electrical conductivity, and retains hot and cold temperatures. Before the 1980s, asbestos was extensively used in insulation materials due to its resistance to fire and heat, as well as it being a poor conductor of electricity.

Insulation was and continues to be used in attics, walls, ceilings, flooring, siding, pipe wrapping, and inside of boilers. Today, fiberglass is used instead of asbestos. However, many materials containing asbestos remain in buildings. As a result, individuals performing work on buildings or homes should be cautious about the possibility of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos Risk to Insulators

From a historical perspective, the risk of exposure to asbestos fibers was significant. For example, insulators were at great risk when they measured and cut insulation to fit around steam pipes. After cutting this insulation, insulators often stretched it open and slipped it over the pipe. Finally, the insulation was fastened securely with asbestos-containing adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands.

The cutting, opening, and fastening of the insulation over the pipe all released microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers could remain the lungs for several years before developing into mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers. Further increasing the danger for insulators was the enclosed nature of the jobsites that they often worked in, even if they themselves were not working with products that contained asbestos. For example, a carpenter using materials that contained asbestos may have caused insulators to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.

While the use of asbestos was discontinued by the 1980s, asbestos still remains in many buildings and homes today. Quite often, pipe insulation that contains asbestos is crumbly, making it dangerous because fibers are then easily released into the air. The most common form of loose-fill attic insulation is Zonolite, which was installed in millions of homes.

Insulation products that contained asbestos include:

  • Pipe covering;
  • Block;
  • Cement;
  • Felt;
  • Board;
  • Coating;
  • Seals; and
  • Tapes

Before beginning a renovation or remodeling project, it is important to make sure asbestos is not in a place which may be disturbed. If you suspect that products that will be affected by the work contain asbestos, you should contact an expert in asbestos identification and removal to ensure your safety.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

If you believe that you have been harmed by exposure to asbestos, you should speak to a mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have personal experience in understanding the difficulty of dealing with these issues. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


July 9, 2015

Asbestos Risk to Insulators


Insulation is used to help in controlling and maintaining the temperature inside of buildings and homes. Unfortunately, for much of the twentieth century, insulation contained asbestos. The dangers of exposure to asbestos include the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. Individuals who are employed as insulators are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, particularly if this work occurred before the 1980s.

Asbestos Risk to Insulators:  Dangers of Insulation

Asbestos insulation was the largest source of exposure for workers throughout the 1900s. It was used in homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. Insulation is beneficial because it conserves energy, reduces electrical conductivity, and retains hot and cold temperatures. Before the 1980s, asbestos was extensively used in insulation materials due to its resistance to fire and heat, as well as it being a poor conductor of electricity.

Insulation was and continues to be used in attics, walls, ceilings, flooring, siding, pipe wrapping, and inside of boilers. Today, fiberglass is used instead of asbestos. However, many materials containing asbestos remain in buildings. As a result, individuals performing work on buildings or homes should be cautious about the possibility of asbestos exposure.

From a historical perspective, the risk of exposure to asbestos fibers was significant. For example, insulators were at great risk when they measured and cut insulation to fit around steam pipes. After cutting this insulation, insulators often stretched it open and slipped it over the pipe. Finally, the insulation was fastened securely with asbestos-containing adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands.

The cutting, opening, and fastening of the insulation over the pipe all released microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers could remain the lungs for several years before developing into mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers. Further increasing the danger for insulators was the enclosed nature of the jobsites that they often worked in, even if they themselves were not working with products that contained asbestos. For example, a carpenter using materials that contained asbestos may have caused insulators to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.

While the use of asbestos was discontinued by the 1980s, asbestos still remains in many buildings and homes today. Quite often, pipe insulation that contains asbestos is crumbly, making it dangerous because fibers are then easily released into the air. The most common form of loose-fill attic insulation is Zonolite, which was installed in millions of homes.

Insulation products that contained asbestos include:

  • Pipe covering;
  • Block;
  • Cement;
  • Felt;
  • Board;
  • Coating;
  • Seals;  and
  • Tapes.

Before beginning a renovation or remodeling project, it is important to make sure asbestos is not in a place which may be disturbed. If you suspect that products that will be affected by the work contain asbestos, you should contact an expert in asbestos identification and removal to ensure your safety.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

If you worked as an insulator and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, you should speak to a mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have personal experience in understanding the difficulty of dealing with these issues. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


July 1, 2015

Asbestos Exposure for Plumbers and Pipefitters


Risk of Asbestos Exposure for Plumbers and Pipefitters

Plumbers and pipefitters, particularly those who worked between the 1940s and 1980s, are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos due to the specific materials that they dealt with as a result of their occupation. This exposure puts these individuals at risk of developing mesothelioma and other serious asbestos-related diseases. While the use of asbestos was discontinued decades ago, new cases of asbestos-related disease continue to be diagnosed today.

Plumbers and Pipefitters

Pipefitters are responsible for the design, installation, and repair of pipe systems in large commercial buildings or manufacturing facilities. For smaller projects like residential homes, similar work is performed by what is known as a plumber, as opposed to a pipefitter. However, for both pipefitters and plumbers, these pipe systems transport water, steam, air, gas, and human waste. Pipefitters and plumbers require specialized knowledge due to the high pressure that the pipes are placed under.

For much of the twentieth century, asbestos was the preferred material to be used with pipe systems due to its high heat and fire resistance. Asbestos was commonly used as thermal insulation for pipes, boilers, ducts, and tanks. Pipefitters and plumbers may have also been exposed while using repair materials. These materials included joint compounds, cement, valves, gaskets, pipe coating, and welding rods.

Further increasing exposure risk was the often very close quarters in which pipefitters and plumbers worked. While working in very tight spaces, any asbestos fibers released into the air were more likely to be breathed in. Fibers were very often released when cutting, sawing, or sanding asbestos paper to fit a particular application. This also occurred when pipes or other products containing asbestos were cut or drilled to fit specific dimensions.

Most pipe insulation took the form of either air cell (which may refer to either a brand name or a generic term for insulation) or block insulation. Air cell was used to wrap air supply ducts and may also be known as Asbestocel or Carcycel. Block insulation was a combination of asbestos and binders that, together, formed large blocks for insulation. Some forms of block insulation included Amosite sheeting and asbestos sponge felt.

Dangers of Exposure

Disturbing asbestos releases microscopic fibers into the air that, when breathed in, may remain in the lungs for several years or, in some cases, decades before the harmful effects become apparent. While many of the diagnosed cases of asbestos-related disease resulted from exposure during the period before the 1980s, asbestos can still be dangerous today. While asbestos use has long been discontinued, it was not removed from all buildings. Therefore, it is important to contact a professional before beginning a remodeling or renovation project of a home or building that may contain asbestos.

Helping Victims

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos related cancer, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we fight for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


June 25, 2015

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs


Mesothelioma is a devastating disease that often develops as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. In combating this disease, the financial costs are often significant. This can create, along with the battle with the disease itself, a great deal of emotional distress for victims and their families.

Development of Mesothelioma

Individuals exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers may be at risk of developing mesothelioma. The risk of exposure was highest during the period between the 1940s and 1980s. However, it is still very possible to encounter asbestos today. There are three major types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lung’s protective lining, is the most common form, accounting for about three-quarters of all mesothelioma cases.

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

It has been estimated that the total cost of mesothelioma treatment can range between $150,000 to over $1 million. The cost varies for different individuals, depending on factors such as the age of the victim, the stage of the mesothelioma, and the overall health status of the victim. Costs for mesothelioma include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Physicians and other healthcare providers;
  2. Hospitalization, including potential surgery;
  3. Chemotherapy;
  4. Radiation treatment; or
  5. In some cases, airfare or driving expenses and lodging in order to travel to facilities that provide treatment.

Additionally, the two most common medications used in treatment, Alimta and Cisplatin, cost around $4,100 for one treatment cycle. Under most circumstances, more than one cycle will be required with no guarantee that it will result in a cure.

Earlier diagnosis increases the chance for survival, which, of course, is the best possible outcome. But, earlier diagnosis often leads to higher costs of treatment. This is particularly true of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma because the effects, historically, often did not become apparent until there was very little that could be done in terms of treatment. As the ability to diagnosis mesothelioma earlier becomes possible, the amount and range of treatment options increases, which increases costs.

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs:  Paying for Treatment

Some of the treatment for mesothelioma are covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. If an individual does not have the costs fully covered by those sources, financial assistance information is available through social services units at hospitals, the Cancer Information Network, or the American Cancer Society. Needing financial help is common, particularly for individuals who are forced to stop working as a result of having mesothelioma. This is often why pursuing legal action against manufacturers or employers responsible for the exposure to asbestos is so critical to victims.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

Even today, new diagnoses of mesothelioma are made in victims who were exposed to asbestos fibers decades ago. Unfortunately, because of the potential long dormancy period of asbestos fibers in the lungs, this will likely continue for many more years. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers, contact the experienced mesothelioma law attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


June 22, 2015

W.R. Grace and Libby Mine


W.R. Grace and Libby mine located in Libby, Montana contained a deposits of asbestos that continues to receive attention from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today. While the cleanup effort in Libby has been extensive, the dangers of the mine are present throughout the nation. This is because the vermiculite containing asbestos mined from Libby was used extensively in insulation materials shipped to all parts of the country.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that, when exposed to extremely high temperatures, expands from 8 to 30 times its original size. The result is a lightweight, fire-resistant, and odorless product that was found very well suited for use in insulation placed in walls and attics. The source of the majority of asbestos sold in the United States from 1919 to 1990 was from the Libby mine. The asbestos that was used in insulation by W.R. Grace was sold under the brand name Zonolite. The Zonolite products included Zonolite Super 40, Zonolite Mono-Kote and Zonolite plaster.

In 1963, W.R. Grace took over operations of the mine. At that time, W.R. Grace was aware of the asbestos and that it caused health issues, but did not disclose this to workers or townspeople, and mining continued.

As a result of the widespread use of the asbestos mined from Libby, insulation containing asbestos ended up in homes across the country, where it may still remain today. Disturbing asbestos is dangerous because it releases microscopic fibers into the air which can then be breathed in. These fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before the harm they can cause is detected.

EPA Response to Libby

In 1999, the EPA began an extensive cleanup process of Libby. By 2010, the EPA had cleaned 1,460 business and residences, removing approximately 900,000 cubic yards of materials contaminated with asbestos. The EPA is currently operating a public comment period on its proposed plan for the continuing cleanup in Libby. This comment period ends July 8, 2015. This demonstrates the significant danger that the Libby mine and site continues to present, as 16 years after cleanup first began, the EPA continues to have concern over the site.

U.S. Department of Justice Response to W.R. Grace and Libby Mines

In 2005, W.R. Grace and seven W.R. Grace executives were indicted for knowingly endangering the Libby, Montana residents and concealing information of the health effects of the W.R. Grace mining operations. The criminal case lingered in the court system with pretrial proceedings reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. By 2009, W.R. Grace had paid millions in medical bills to Libby residents, but was acquitted of charges it knowingly harmed the people of Libby and participated in any cover-up.

Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma and other serious health conditions. If you believe you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your legal options, contact us today. The Throneberry Law Group provides compassionate legal representation across the country to victims of asbestos exposure.

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


June 15, 2015

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure


Carpenters Exposed to Asbestos

For much of the twentieth century, carpenters played an integral part in the development of the United States. These individuals helped construct many of the homes and buildings that still stand and are used today. Unfortunately, during much of this period, carpenters were exposed to dangerous microscopic asbestos fibers. This exposure can lead to the development of mesothelioma or other serious asbestos-related diseases.

Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was used in all kinds of construction materials up until the 1980s. Unfortunately, carpentry work was extremely prevalent during the period from the 1940s into the 1980s. As part of the “Baby Boom” following World War II, carpenters were very busy constructing homes and buildings across the country. Before metal studs existed for use in the framing of buildings, carpenters were responsible for this process. As a result, carpenters were exposed to large amounts of asbestos fibers.

Though these carpenters were most widely associated with working with wood, they were also working with and around all kinds of other construction materials that contained asbestos. This includes materials such as:

  • Wallboard, plaster, and joint compounds
  • Brick mortar
  • Roof shingles
  • Insulation for walls and attics
  • Plumbing materials
  • Ceiling and flooring
  • Electrical wiring
  • Paints and stains

In addition, carpenters also handled asbestos sheets, often cutting them into appropriate sizes for various applications. The process of cutting these sheets not only released fibers into the air that the carpenters breathed in, it also caused them to be covered in asbestos dust, which exposed their family members and other individuals to asbestos fibers that these carpenters came into contact with.

There are generally two types of carpenters that work in the construction of buildings. A “rough” carpenter is responsible for the large framing of the house or building. These types of carpenters were often at a higher risk of exposure to asbestos fibers due to the work they were completing and the work of others around them that occurred while framing was being completed. Another type of carpenter is known as a “finish” carpenter. These carpenters are considered more highly skilled because their work often requires greater precision. Finish carpenters are responsible for creating furniture and cabinetry. Their risk of asbestos exposure is considered less than that of rough carpenters.

Although asbestos use ended in the 1980s, it is still possible today for carpenters to be exposed to asbestos fibers through remodeling or renovation projects. If it is thought that materials encountered during a remodeling or renovation project contain asbestos, a professional in asbestos removal should be contacted before the carpenter begins or continues work.

Carpenters who were harmed due to exposure to asbestos fibers can file claims against the companies that manufactured or supplied the products that contained asbestos. Additionally, carpenters can file lawsuits against employers that knew of the dangers of asbestos exposure and did not warn or protect workers.

Compassionate Help

The damage that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause is often devastating. If you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your potential legal options, speak with an attorney experienced in mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide understanding and expertise in helping victims of exposure to asbestos fibers.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


June 1, 2015

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure


The risk of exposure to asbestos fibers is often associated with individuals who worked with or around products that contained asbestos. However, people who come in contact with workers who are exposed to asbestos fibers are also at risk of the dangers of asbestos. These dangers include the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.

Why is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos was used in many products up until the 1980’s, when the dangers of it were universally recognized. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is disturbed and releases microscopic fibers into the air. Once these fibers are released into the air, they can be breathed in and may remain in the lungs. The effects of asbestos fiber exposure may not become apparent for many years or even decades.

How Second-hand Asbestos Exposure Occurs

Second-hand asbestos exposure involves exposure to the asbestos fibers without actually working with the material that contains asbestos. The victims of second-hand exposure are often family members of individuals returning home from work after encountering asbestos as a result of their employment. These workers are unaware that they may be carrying fibers that could be dangerous to their families.

After arriving home from work, anyone else living at the house can sustain considerable exposure to asbestos fibers. Washing the clothing worn by the person who works with asbestos poses a risk. Often, clothes are “shaken off” before washing. While this action helps to shake off dust or other visible particles before washing, it also creates more danger by disrupting and releasing asbestos fibers into the air.

Second-hand exposure can also occur as a result of an individual living in close proximity to a mine or a company that uses products containing asbestos. As an example, the activities of the W.R. Grace Vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana gave rise to several successful lawsuits. While the mine closed in 1991, it is important to note that asbestos fibers may remain in a person’s body for years or even decades before manifesting its dangerous effects. As a result, someone exposed to asbestos fibers prior to the plant closing may not have shown signs of health issues as a result of that exposure yet.

Today, we know that many employers actually had some awareness of the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, those employers often did not take proper precautions, such as forcing employees to shower or change their clothes before going home. As a result, the families of workers exposed to asbestos fibers were also exposed. This second-hand asbestos exposure may allow victims to obtain compensation for medical expenses and suffering.

Compassionate Legal Advocacy

If you have been harmed by second-hand asbestos exposure and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is possible that you can recover needed compensation to combat your condition. The Throneberry Law Group has the experience and expertise to help you explore your legal options in recovering the resources you need to fight asbestos-related diseases. For more information, contact us today.

 

 


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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 for 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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


April 26, 2015

Asbestos Abatement under NESHAP


Though the use of asbestos 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. Under NESHAP, 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


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


April 9, 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 treatment 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 of Mesothelioma Treatment Extrapleural Pneumonectomy?

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 Mesothelioma Treatment Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (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.

www.mesolawcenter.com/contact-us
www.arizonamesotheliomaattorney.com/contact-us


Posted by Michael Throneberry


April 6, 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.

Mesothelioma and Product Liability – 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.

Mesothelioma and Product Liability – 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.

Posted by Michael Throneberry


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. So the dangers of asbestos today still exist.  It is very likely, for example, 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.

Dangers of Asbestos Today

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.

www.arizonamesotheliomaattorney.com
www.mesolawcenter.com


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.

Meosthelioma Compensation – 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.

Mesothelioma Compensation – Settlements

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.

Mesothelioma Compensation – 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.

Mesothelioma Compensation – 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 Mesothelioma 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.

www.mesolawcenter.com/contact-us


Posted by Michael Throneberry


March 9, 2015

Mesothelioma Settlements


The majority of mesothelioma cases never make it to a trial. Instead, it is often beneficial for both sides to agree to a settlement. A defendant may wish to settle to avoid the possibility of having to pay a large award if the case goes to trial. An injured person may find settlement advantageous because it allows faster recovery of compensation and avoids the potential of an unsuccessful lawsuit. The Throneberry Law Group has successfully negotiated for millions of dollars in settlements for the victims of mesothelioma.

How are Mesothelioma Settlements Obtained?

The first step towards obtaining a settlement is contacting an attorney with experience in mesothelioma claims. Your attorney will begin collecting materials to prepare for the filing of a lawsuit against the parties responsible for exposing you to asbestos. At this point, and any time after this, a settlement may be agreed to.

However, it is likely not in the best interests of the plaintiff to agree to a settlement very early in the process. A defendant may offer a low amount early in the hope that the plaintiff will jump at the opportunity to secure compensation. A defendant may offer a greater amount to settle as more information is discovered about the claim. However, in some circumstances, a plaintiff may need immediate compensation due to their particular financial situation. In these situations, accepting an early settlement offer may be the best option.

What Affects the Mesothelioma Settlement Amount?

There are several factors that impact how much a defendant is willing to offer to settle a mesothelioma case, including the following:

● the age of the plaintiff;
● the length of time the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos;
● the diagnosis;
● the plaintiff’s past medical issues;
● the lost wages (both past and future) of the plaintiff as a result of the mesothelioma; and
● the plaintiff’s medical bills.

Another factor is the number of defendants named in the lawsuit. It is common that a person diagnosed with mesothelioma handled many asbestos-filled products that were made by different manufacturers. In situations like this, each manufacturer may be named as a defendant, which could result in a larger total settlement amount than if only one defendant was involved.

Speak with an Attorney

The Throneberry Law Group can help you obtain the resources and compensation you need to fight this horrible disease. In addition, we understand and have compassion for what you are experiencing. Our principal attorney, Michael Throneberry, lost his father to mesothelioma. As a result of this tragic loss, we fight with passion to maximize mesothelioma settlements for mesothelioma victims and their families.

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


Posted by Michael Throneberry


March 5, 2015

Mesothelioma Disability Benefits


Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to the development of mesothelioma which is a form of cancer. The most common form is pleural mesothelioma, which develops in the tissue surrounding the lungs. More than 2,000 people are diagnosed with this form of cancer each year.

It is possible to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your exposure to asbestos fibers. The possible modes of recovery include a settlement, winning the lawsuit, or, if the company has filed for bankruptcy, successfully making a trust fund claim. However, it is also possible that the development of mesothelioma will make an individual eligible for mesothelioma disability benefits.

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a Listing of Impairments to aid in the evaluation of claims for disability. Under §13.15, there are two forms of mesothelioma listed under the category of impairments for mesothelioma disability benefits. They include:

1. Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura; or
2. Tumors of the mediastinum with metastases spreading to or beyond the regional lymph nodes or recurrent following initial treatment.

If an individual has either of these forms of mesothelioma, he or she will be considered disabled. For these purposes, “disabled” means a person has an impairment that prevents them from working.

Compassionate Allowances

The SSA recognizes that in some circumstances, it is critically important for an individual to obtain benefits as quickly as possible. As a result, the SSA processes certain claims faster than others if the disease or condition is easily documented and very serious. There are two forms of mesothelioma that are considered compassionate allowance conditions: peritoneal and pleural. If a person has either of these forms of mesothelioma, their claim will be processed quickly, assuming all other eligibility requirements for mesothelioma disability benefits have been met.

Residual Functional Capacity

For individuals who have a condition that may allow them to work, the SSA determines a person’s residual functional capacity (RFC). A low RFC would indicate that there are very few, if any, jobs a person could perform, given that person’s condition. To determine RFC, the SSA considers:

1. the individual’s statements on the limitations caused by the condition;
2. the opinion of the individual’s doctor on the limitations caused by the condition; and
3. the individual’s medical records.

Using the RFC, a determination is made as to whether a person could perform a job that he or she has performed in the past. If this is possible, the disability claim will be denied. If a person cannot perform work that he or she did in the past, a determination will be made as to whether that person can perform other work, given the person’s RFC, age, education, and skills. If a person is deemed incapable of working, he or she will receive benefits known as a medical-vocational allowance.

Mesothelioma Attorneys

If you have had to quit working as a result of mesothelioma, you may be faced with financial uncertainty. It is important to remember that there are several ways in which you can receive the compensation you need during this difficult period. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have the experience to help you explore all of your legal options. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


February 28, 2015

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Attorneys


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 by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.

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 mesothelioma lawsuit.

Information Required

In order to prove a mesothelioma case, there are several items that must be documented, including, but not limited, to:
The victim’s past employment history;
The victim’s medical history and reports;
The medical expenses related to the illness;
The asbestos in the workplace;
A list of activities the victim can no longer do as a result of the illness; and
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 mesothelioma lawsuit. 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 or mesothelioma lawsuit, which officially begins the lawsuit. Keep in mind, however, that a settlement may occur at any point during the mesothelioma 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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


February 27, 2015

Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit


What happens if the Victim in an Asbestos-related Case has died?

Asbestos can remain in the body, seemingly dormant, for a long period of time. As a result, it may be very near the end of the victim’s life before it is clear that exposure to asbestos caused a life-threatening disease. This raises an important question for victims and the families of victims: if the victim predeceases a lawsuit for being exposed to asbestos, what recourse does the victim’s family have?

Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A claim of wrongful death alleges that the death would not have occurred were it not for the negligent actions of the defendant. In mesothelioma or asbestos-related claims, the defendant is often the company the victim worked for. It is important to note that it is irrelevant that the exposure may have been unintentional. Another consideration, particularly because of the long period in which asbestos-related injury may not appear, is the statute of limitations. It is critical to determine if the statute starts from the time of the misconduct or from the date of the discovery of the disease. The statute of limitations varies from state to state.

In a wrongful death claim, a representative will file suit on behalf of the victim’s survivors, who are called the “real parties in interest.” The representative is typically the executor of the estate. In all states, immediate family members, such as spouses and children, are considered the real parties in interest. Other individuals, such as more distant relatives or domestic partners, may also be considered the real parties in interest, but this varies by state.

Types of Damages in a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit

There are generally three types of damages that may be recovered in wrongful death cases: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages can be thought of as the tangible or actual financial costs suffered by a victim and his or her survivors. These may include such items as the victim’s lost expected future earnings or the medical and funeral expenses.

Non-economic damages can be more difficult to determine, but may have higher value than economic damages. These often include the mental anguish or pain and suffering of survivors. Punitive damages exist as a way to punish the defendant for bad conduct. However, in many states punitive damages are not available in wrongful death claims.

The process for determining the damage amount can be very complex. It is common for expert witnesses with backgrounds in economics, finance, or actuarial science to be used. These experts will testify as to what they believe the value of the damages should be.

Asbestos Attorneys to help You pursue a Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you believe a loved one died as a result of exposure to asbestos, it may still be possible for you to be compensated for your loss. However, it is important for you to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group have the experience and compassion necessary to help you through this difficult time. Contact us today with any questions you may have regarding any asbestos-related injuries.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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.

Bankruptcy in Mesothelioma Claims – 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 Attorney

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.


Posted by Michael Throneberry


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Nationwide Representation in Mesothelioma cases. Michael Throneberry and the Throneberry Law Group provides a free consultation to anyone with symptoms or a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

We understand the medical urgency and financial impact of mesothelioma. For experienced, personalized representation during these very trying time, call us at 888-506-1131 for a free consultation.

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