Personal Injury

Asbestos – The Major Cause of Mesothelioma

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Health, Personal Injury | 1 comment

One of the most dangerous types of cancer that an individual can develop is Mesothelioma due to the fact that it remains undetectable until it has developed to a certain stage wherein any form of treatment will no longer work. Mesothelioma forms in the mesothelium, which is a kind of coating that protects the different major internal organs of the body. Its symptoms usually appear 15-50 years after a person’s exposure to Asbestos, a “miracle” mineral, which is this chronic cancer’s major cause.

Asbestos is one of the most widely used chemicals around the world due to its remarkable efficacy, elasticity, sound absorption, tensile strength, resistance to chemical and electrical damage, resistance to heat and fire, abundance and availability, and affordability. Its use extends from the most common household items and appliances, such as fabrics, irons, toasters, dishwashers, refrigerators, and deep-fryers, to commercial and industrial equipment, like brakes and clutches, generators, steam pipes, turbines, hot water piping, insulators, boilers, cement, floor coverings, roofing, acoustic insulation, and so forth.

Inhalation of asbestos fibers (either regularly or in great quantity) is what poses the risk of developing mesothelioma. Individuals who are most prone to having this malignant lung cancer are workers in processing plants, shipyards, mines, auto manufacturing plants, construction sites, as well as plumbers, electricians, firefighters, etc.

The height of the use of asbestos happened in the mid 1900s, but it was only during the 1990s, when an alarming increase in the number of mesothelioma cases began to be reported around the world, that its manufacture and trade began to be banned in some parts of the world.

Some of the symptoms of Mesothelioma include shortness of breath, unexplainable weight loss, fatigue, frequent coughing and reduced respiratory function; these symptoms, however, can also be seen in many other types of (less serious) illnesses, thus, making it still harder to detect and identify the person’s real health condition. However, awareness of having been exposed to asbestos, even in the distant past, and then showing these symptoms would give some hint on the possibility of the presence of the cancer. Seeking the help of a Houston personal injury attorney can help the victim of asbestos and mesothelioma decide the best legal options available for the compensation that the law may entitle him/her to receive.

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Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefit: A Win-Win Solution for Employer and Employee

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Employees in the U.S. who sustain work-related injuries or develop an illness due to exposure to dangerous chemicals at work, are entitled to immediate financial assistance that will cover tier medical treatment and which will cushion them from the effect of a possible financial crises due to loss of capacity to earn and the inability to immediately go back to work. Such right is stipulated in the Workers’ Compensation benefit, a law that was passed in 1908 for the very intention of providing the much financial assistance needed by injured workers. Before the passing of this law, workers needed to sue their employers just to avail of the needed compensation. Besides damaging employee and employer relationship, the lawsuits were often won by employers, who always resorted to any of the following arguments:

  • Assumption of Risk – which states that due to the danger associated with the job, possibility of injury should be accepted
  • The Fellow Worker Rule – this argument was used if the cause of the injury was a fellow worker, saving the employer from any responsibility
  • Contributory Negligence – an argument that holds the injured worker himself/herself as the cause of the accident due to his/her negligence or carelessness

If ever there were instances wherein the employee won the case, the compensation he/she was awarded with was either delayed or much less than what he/she actually expected and deserved. Between 1911 and 1920, majority of the states implemented the workers’ compensation benefits law with certain changes to align it to the laws in their own states. Filing for injury benefits through workers’ compensation ensured employees of financial assistance as this insurance benefit was not dependent on the financial capability of any employer. One item the benefit stated, however, is the employer’s freedom from any and further financial and/or legal obligations once the benefit has been awarded.

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Pedestrian Accidents and Negligence

Posted by on Jan 5, 2014 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

A car accident that involves a pedestrian often results in serious injury, and perhaps death. There is no fair contest between speeding metal and yielding soft flesh, which is why 33 states in the U.S. have a modified comparative negligence policy when it comes to car-pedestrian accidents. The thought of being severely injured in a car accident is an absolute nightmare. And knowing that this tragic could be caused because of someone else’s carelessness is absolutely sickening. This means that there is more emphasis on the driver when it comes to liability, and as long as the fault of the pedestrian is 50% or less (51% bar rule) or 49% or less (50% bar rule), the pedestrian or qualified family member may make a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the driver. In its pure form, comparative negligence places the limit to the extent that the pedestrian is at fault at 99%, but the awards will still be reduced by this extent. Twelve states enforce this pure form of comparative negligence.

On the other hand, there are 5 states that maintain a pure form of contributory negligence when it comes to a pedestrian accident. This means that if the pedestrian is in any way, in the slightest degree, responsible for the accident i.e. failing to use the crosswalk, then no claim can be made against the driver, even if the driver was demonstrably negligent  i.e. intoxicated. These states are Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The burden of proof falls entirely on the plaintiff to show that the victim was in no way at fault for the accident, and that the driver was wholly negligent. In these states, the legal representation of the plaintiff must be exceptionally skilled in pedestrian accident cases.

In the states that follow the modified comparative fault rule, such as Pennsylvania which follows the 51% bar rule, the burden of proof is a little lighter, although the degree of fault of the pedestrian will reduce the award by that much. It still requires a competent lawyer to ensure just compensation as the driver’s insurance lawyers will stretch the point as far as it will go to prove the victim’s fault beyond the threshold given half a chance to avoid paying any claim.

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