The History of Asbestos Litigation in the US

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 10, 2016 4:50:37 PM

Asbestos appears naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers. Once considered a go-to insulation material, asbestos is now widely recognized as a dangerous cause of cancer. The shipbuilding industry is particularly well-known for using asbestos in its boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes, but it was also widely used in construction, the automotive industry, and more. Asbestos exposure generally comes through inhalation, meaning that people working in asbestos industries and their families are most at risk.

The asbestos industry has faced hundreds of thousands of lawsuits over the last half century, as more and more information has come out proving that many companies had known about its dangerous effects and deliberately suppressed the information.

Asbestos has been used for centuries; Ancient Egyptians used it to make burial shrouds. However, it is only since the Industrial Revolution that large numbers of people were exposed to asbestos in such quantities as to cause a major health crisis. Commercial production of asbestos insulation began in 1879, and the first cases of asbestos-related disease followed close behind. Only 20 years later, in 1899, doctors described curious bodies in the lungs of a patient with asbestos-related disease: asbestos fibers. Less than a decade later, one doctor reported a curiously high mortality rate among asbestos workers.

history_of_asbestos_exposure.pngIn the 1920s and 1930s, more doctors began to directly attribute asbestosis and lung cancer to asbestos exposure. A series of studies proved the dangers of asbestos, but many of them were hushed up by corporations. The US and the UK began introducing limited regulations to protect workers most affected by asbestos exposure, particularly those working in asbestos factories. In the 1960s, studies showed that dangers of asbestos exposure were not limited to workers in asbestos factories, but extended to those working more indirectly with asbestos and even those living near factories. Furthermore, a third asbestos-related disease was discovered in the 1960s: mesothelioma. The issue began to attract media attention in the US and the UK alike, with articles appearing in various newspapers and stories broadcasted on television.

In 1969, the US saw its first personal injury lawsuit filed against a major company, Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corps., in which the victim claimed damages due to asbestos-related illness. Over the next few decades, the largest mass tort ever brought to court in the US erupted. Lawyers have been able to prove that companies had knowledge at every level of the dangers of asbestos exposure, yet they ignored or even hid the information. Several of the largest companies in the country were implicated. Many of the companies that mined, manufactured, or used asbestos have closed or gone bankrupt under the weight of litigation. Though regulations are much stricter now, asbestos litigation is still ongoing. Asbestos-related diseases often take decades to manifest, so victims are still finding out today that they were affected by asbestos and bringing their cases to court, long after they were exposed.

Contact our firm for assistance if your loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related condition. We can answer your legal questions and help prepare you for the road ahead.

 

 

Topics: Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Related Diseases: Asbestosis

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 11, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Inhaling asbestos fibers can result in the development of numerous painful and deadly asbestos related diseases. While asbestosis is a noncancerous side effect of asbestos exposure, it is still a serious and progressive long-term lung disease.

Asbestosis results from the scarring of lung tissue, which obstructs the passage of air and makes breathing difficult. The latency period is often decades between initial exposure to asbestos and the onset of symptoms. Patients with asbestosis may experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A persistent cough with mucus
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Clubbing of fingertips and toes
  • A dry, crackling sound while inhaling

The severity of asbestosis depends on the amount and duration of asbestos exposure. People with asbestosis are also at increased risk of developing lung cancer.

asbestosis is another asbestos related disease

Symptoms of asbestosis are similar to those of other respiratory diseases, so patients may undergo a variety of diagnostic tests. While treatment cannot reverse the effects of asbestos scarring in the lungs, it can slow the disease’s progression and relieve symptoms.

Protecting Victims’ Rights

Although the U.S. government placed a moratorium on the production of most asbestos products in the 1970s, many continued to be used into the 1980s and even the 1990s in some cases. As a result, unsuspecting Americans were exposed to the deadly risks of asbestos for decades.

It’s important that victims protect their legal rights as soon as they receive a diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease. Waiting too long to contact a lawyer can prevent a person from obtaining justice and compensation from the companies that failed to protect them.

For decades, Anapol Weiss has successfully advocated for patients and families affected by the devastation of asbestos diseases including mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and more. If you or a loved one is suffering, our asbestos attorneys can help. Contact our firm for assistance.

Topics: Asbestos Exposure

Jobs that May Involve Asbestos Exposure

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 21, 2016 11:30:00 AM

jobs with asbestos exposureAsbestos exposure has been primarily associated with industrial occupations, namely the mining and milling of raw asbestos and the construction, manufacture and use of asbestos-containing products.

Substantial asbestos exposure peaked during the 1960s and 1970s and then declined as regulations were put in place to protect workers.

During exposure, tiny asbestos fibers can enter and remain in the lungs for life. The long latency period of asbestos side effects can be 40 years or more. As a result, people are developing symptoms of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases today after being exposed decades ago.

Industries with asbestos-related occupational hazards include:

Automotive mechanics

Asbestos industry workers

Boilermakers

Boiler workers

Brick masons

Bricklayers

Building inspectors

Carpenters

Chemical workers

Construction workers

Demolition workers

Drywallers

Electricians

Firefighters

Floor covering workers

Foremen

Furnace workers 
    Glaziers

Grinders

Hod carriers

Insulators

Ironworkers

Laborers

Libby vermiculite exfoliation

Power plant workers

Longshoremen

Machine operators

Maintenance workers

Maritime company employees

Merchant marines

Millwrights

Mining workers

Oil refinery workers 
     Offshore rust removal workers

Operating engineers

Painters

Pipefitters

Plasterers

Plumbers

Railroad workers

Roofers

Sheet metal workers

Shipyard workers

Steamfitters

Steel manufacturers

Teachers

Tile setters

U.S. Navy personnel

Welders


While many people developed asbestos-related diseases after being exposed at work, others received secondhand exposure by someone with asbestos fibers on his or her clothing, hair or body. Any exposure to asbestos is hazardous to a person’s health, and unsuspecting workers and their families were exposed to these dangers for decades.  

We are committed to advocating for asbestos disease victims and holding responsible companies accountable for putting those people danger. Contact our firm for assistance if your loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related condition. We can answer any legal questions you have.

You can also learn more about recognizing the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma by downloading our free infographic.

Download Now

 

Topics: Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos-Related Diseases

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 17, 2016 3:30:00 PM

When a person is exposed to asbestos, tiny fibers can enter the lungs and remain there throughout his or her life. Scarring and inflammation develops as asbestos fibers accumulate, which can eventually affect a person’s breathing and long-term health.

Asbestos exposure increases a person’s risk of developing diseases ranging from mild and benign to malignant and deadly. Not everyone who is exposed will develop an asbestos-related disease, but the risk lasts for decades after exposure, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a noncancerous but serious and progressive long-term lung disease. Asbestosis develops from inhaling asbestos fibers that irritate, inflame and scar the lung tissue. This scarring makes breathing difficult, as oxygen and carbon dioxide are obstructed from regularly passing through the lungs. The latency period is typically 10 to 20 years between initial exposure and the onset of asbestosis. Complications can range from asymptomatic to disabling and life-threatening.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma_Symptoms.png 

 Do you know the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Learn more with this free informational download.

Download Now

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that starts in the mesothelial cells lining certain parts of the body, particularly the lungs, chest and abdomen. These cells make a lubricating fluid that allows the lungs and other organs to move. Mesothelioma forms a tumor starting with tissue that has been damaged by asbestos fibers. The disease can develop 20 to 40 years of more after asbestos exposure, according to Mayo Clinic. Those with mesothelioma can have difficulty breathing and swallowing, chest pain, and an accumulation of fluid in the chest called pleural effusion. Sadly, a cure is not possible for most people with mesothelioma.

Lung Cancer

Those exposed to asbestos are at risk for developing malignant tumors that can obstruct the lung's air passages. Common lung cancer symptoms range from chest pain, coughing and wheezing to coughing up blood, labored breathing and unexpected weight loss. People who smoke cigarettes and have been exposed to asbestos greatly increase their risk of developing lung cancer.

Decades of Asbestos Exposure Continued

Asbestos-related diseases were first noted in 1899, and the first cases of asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 1935. Although the U.S. government placed a moratorium on the production of most asbestos products in the 1970s, many continued to be used into the 1980s and even the 1990s in some cases.

For decades, unsuspecting people from across the country were exposed to the deadly risks of asbestos. As committed advocates for asbestos victims, we continue to hold the responsible companies accountable for putting them in danger.

Contact our firm for assistance if your loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related condition. We can answer your legal questions and help prepare you for the road ahead.

 

Topics: Asbestos Exposure

Factors to Consider when Hiring a Pennsylvania Mesothelioma Attorney

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 10, 2016 3:33:00 PM

mesothelioma_attorney.jpgMesothelioma cases are complex from both a medial and legal standpoint. Many of the complexities arise from the fact that multiple asbestos manufacturers are often involved, and exposure often occurred decades before the onset of symptoms. The legal process requires thorough investigation in order to obtain justice and compensation in a timely fashion. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can identify all liable parties and pursue every detail of the case to maximize a family’s recovery.

How can patients and their families ensure they are selecting the right attorney? Below are a few important factors to consider when looking for legal help.

1. Proven Track Record

An experienced attorney has obtained successful mesothelioma verdicts and settlements for many years. A track record of success not only demonstrates an attorney’s ability to win against asbestos companies, but it also shows his or her depth of knowledge with regard to various legal issues involving asbestos.

Law firms with decades of experience will also have detailed records of asbestos products as well as information about past claims, manufacturers, exposed workplaces and more. These documents help identify the details of an individual’s exposure as well as the parties that may be responsible.

2. Personal Comfort with the Legal Team

Mesothelioma patients and their families will have to discuss personal details with their attorney. It is very important to be comfortable communicating not only with the lawyer, but also with his or her legal team.

Past clients often write reviews about their attorney or send letters after their case has concluded. Client feedback can be an excellent indication of a lawyer’s overall rapport with his or her clients.

3. Legal Fees

A mesothelioma attorney should work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients pay nothing until they receive compensation. Contingency fees are typically based on a percentage of compensation plaintiffs obtain from the lawsuit.

Contact our firm for assistance if you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma. We are eager and prepared to discuss your situation and answer any questions you may have.

 

Topics: Mesothelioma, Asbestos Exposure

Filing an Asbestos Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jan 19, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Asbestos is a naturally mined mineral used for a multitude of industrial, commercial and residential purposes related to heat resistance and insulation for nearly 100 years. When airborne asbestos fibers reach a person’s lungs, they can cause scarring, fibrosis, and lung restriction and impairment. These fibers can result in the development of cancers including mesothelioma, which is virtually always fatal regardless of treatment.

Overwhelming evidence shows that asbestos suppliers knew about the potentially deadly effects of asbestos but continued to sell their products. Filing an asbestos lawsuit not only allows victims to seek compensation for their injuries, but it also holds the companies accountable for knowingly exposing people to the deadly dangers of asbestos.

Product Identification, Exposure History, and Medical Records

In Pennsylvania, victims must identify the asbestos-containing products’ manufacturer(s) by name, year and location. Victims also typically offer testimony attesting to their exposure to a specific asbestos product, at a specific job site, over a protracted period of time. His or her medical condition must be confirmed by medical examination, pulmonary tests, x-rays and pathology performed by board certified experts.

The Two Components of an Asbestos Claim

Asbestos claims have two essential components. First, the plaintiff can seek compensation against non-bankrupt suppliers of the asbestos containing products to which they were exposed. Victims can also file a claim against various bankruptcy trusts established pursuant to federal law to protect the interests of many of the asbestos suppliers.

Identifying the correct trust for a particular individual is complex and requires expertise in the asbestos worker’s occupational history, knowledge of the asbestos products and their use, awareness of the bankruptcy court rules and procedures, and extensive medical and product exposure documentation.Contact_an_Asbestos_Lawyer.jpgMesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are devastating, and obtaining justice and compensation involves an extremely complex legal process. It’s important that victims and their families seek representation by a law firm with a track record of success with these types of cases.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, we can help. Contact our firm today for assistance.

 

Topics: Asbestos Exposure

Fighting for Asbestos Victims: Larry Cohan Speaks Out Against House Bill

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jan 15, 2016 3:30:00 PM
288_AnapolWeiss_Lawfirm-1.jpg

Larry Cohan has been advocating for Pennsylvania
asbestos victims for decades.

On January 11, 2016, Anapol Weiss Shareholder Larry Cohan testified before the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee on behalf of Pennsylvania asbestos disease victims. He spoke before the Committee to oppose House Bill No. 1428, which would benefit asbestos suppliers while limiting the rights of people who have developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

The bill represents an attempt by the asbestos industry to delay and deny compensation to asbestos victims and to cripple the operation of asbestos trusts, which were established to provide compensation.

Currently, asbestos victims and their families can file suit against non-bankrupt asbestos suppliers as well as against bankruptcy trusts. The trusts have a pre-approved “scheduled value” as well as a pre-approved percentage of that amount, which the victim actually receives. The proposed bill would give the asbestos companies control over victims’ bankruptcy process submissions and provide the companies with an offset against any verdict against them in the amount of the scheduled value of the bankruptcy trust claim, rather than the actual percentage paid to the victim. In other words, a victim might receive $10,000 in compensation from a bankruptcy trust, but the non-bankrupt defendants would receive a $100,000 credit against any judgment against them.

Cohan argued that if the bill is passed into law, the asbestos companies would have complete control of the course of the litigation – even though they were the ones whose products caused these deadly diseases. Their ability to delay the litigation means that many asbestos victims will likely pass away before their cases even reach trial. Asbestos product identification would then become extremely difficult, and those victims will never have an opportunity to achieve resolution before their death. In addition, victims and their families would receive a fraction of what their case is worth – and far less than what other victims received historically for the same catastrophic injuries.

Cohan will continue to oppose House Bill No. 1428 and fight for the rights of asbestos disease victims in Pennsylvania.

Topics: Mesothelioma, Asbestos Exposure

Subscribe to The Anapol Weiss Blog