How Much Do You Know About Asbestos? How the Carcinogenic Material Has Hurt 1000s of Americans

Asbestos Claim
Many Americans have come to suffer from asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma. But few are even aware of what the substance is and how it is still affecting Americans today.

Your national asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle would like to shed some light on this infamous material and how 1000s of individuals are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the United States.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with a thread-like structure that can make it stronger than steel. It’s durable design, as well as its resistance to heat, electricity and chemical corrosion, made it a go-to item in construction and consumer products.

Unfortunately, it was ultimately discovered that the mineral was highly carcinogenic. Having been used for decades, this was troubling news for thousands of Americans.

A Brief Overview of Asbestos Use in the United States

Asbestos first came into use in the late 1800s as a response to the Industrial Revolution. From then on, the use of asbestos in the industry grew as manufacturing expanded. During this time, asbestos was used heavily for insulation, from homes to oil refineries and everywhere in between.

World War II was another turning point for the use of asbestos. The military created a massive demand for it, using it in military equipment, bases, and transportation. After the war, the use of asbestos continued to expand as the carcinogenic material was used in homes, appliances, and in the construction industry.

The height of production of asbestos was in the 1960s. By 1973, 813,000 tons were being used annual. Many commercial products were made with it, even common household products such as baby powder and children’s’ toys had traces of asbestos.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s and 80s that the American public was finally told about how dangerous the material was.

Individuals and professions who experienced the worst asbestos exposure included:

  • Military
  • Heavy industry
  • Construction
  • Shipbuilding
  • Mining
  • Asbestos product manufacturing

It’s worth noting that family members of individuals who worked in these industries were also susceptible to the effects of asbestos. Workers often, and unknowingly, brought home these tiny fibers on their clothing and tools, spreading asbestos around their homes where they were absorbed by family members.

The Effect of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos fibers can stay airborne for 72 hours, even remaining afloat in a room with no air movement.

The fibers are essentially invisible to the naked eye, cannot be felt or even tasted, and this is where the danger lies. Individuals can inhale massive amounts of asbestos fibers without ever realizing it.

These asbestos fibers can then stick to the lining of the lungs, where the body reacts by forming a scar tissue over them. As the scar tissue accumulates, tumors can begin to grow. Sometimes, the damage caused by asbestos exposure is irreversible.

Asbestos-related diseases can take decades (20-50 years) to develop and it can be just as long before any symptoms arise in the victim. This can affect diagnosis and treatment.

One of the most dangerous diseases caused by asbestos is mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. In the United States, 3,000 individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.

Will Asbestos Ever Be Banned in America?

The EPA has passed laws such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Act to help regulate asbestos use. In 1989, the EPA made a law banning all asbestos products, however, it was overturned after an intense court battle.

Another federal agency that has worked to get rid of asbestos products is the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). They have made it mandatory for companies to control access to places where asbestos is being used and to also regulate the levels of asbestos fibers circulating the air.

The Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) oversees levels of asbestos in commercial products. They do recall and create bans on products with levels that can pose danger to consumers. Toys, crayons, talcum, paints, patching compounds and more have all been recalled or even banned for noticeable traces of asbestos.

Despite efforts made to limit the use of the carcinogenic material, there have been recent discussions about allowing companies to once again use the substance in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed that there be no limitation on the use of asbestos.

The new rule goes that the manufacturers must alert the EPA and seek approval if they are trying to use asbestos in products.

Despite all the pain and suffering many victims and families have suffered as a direct result of asbestos-related diseases and mesothelioma, it appears that the substance may make a comeback.

Did you face exposure to asbestos in the workplace? Get compensated for your pain and suffering with the help of national asbestos litigation lawyers at Hotze Runkle.

Contact Hotze Runkle today at (512) 476-7771 to learn more about your ability to seek a legal claim against the parties that caused you damage. Your pain deserves a voice.


How to Choose a Quality Asbestos Attorney to Secure Compensation

Quality Asbestos Attorney
Asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, can result in life-altering physical and emotional damages, as well as financial issues for victims. Negligent companies and employers who have hurt clients and workers are responsible for the pain and suffering they have caused.

It is only fair that victims of asbestos-related illnesses be compensated appropriately by liable parties to help victims and their families recover from damages suffered. However, filing a claim to recover damages can be difficult in the face of big companies, complex legal issues, and insurance adjusters.

Your knowledgeable asbestos trial lawyers here at Hotze Runkle know you may have quite a few questions when it comes to choosing the right asbestos attorney for your claim. You want to make sure you choose the best option for your needs.

Please consider the following information regarding how to choose a quality asbestos attorney to secure you the recovery that you and your family deserve.

Tips for Choosing the Right Mesothelioma Lawyer

The truth is that there are many mesothelioma lawyers out there who are eager to take your case. Unfortunately, many may not have what it takes to secure financial relief for you, while other attorneys may not be experienced enough to take your case to trial – which can be a highly likely scenario in claims regarding asbestos.

It can be difficult for you to make the right decision when choosing a lawyer. Keep the following tips in mind when choosing an asbestos attorney should you decide to file a claim:

1. Seek Assistance from a National Litigation Firm

Local asbestos attorneys may not be equipped with the same aptitude of knowledge to help you recover full compensation for your asbestos-related injuries. However, national firms are able to work across multiple states and will take your case wherever the value of compensation may be higher. National litigation firms also have no problem traveling to accommodate to the needs of national clients in order to win a case. Local firms may be more limited and not as flexible.

2. Experience and Success Matters

Your potential legal team should have experience in asbestos-related cases, as well as the numbers to back up their success claims. Make sure your attorney has a proven record in asbestos-related cases before deciding to choose them.

It’s also important that they have a high number of cases won in court. Securing a trial attorney can make all the difference in the world as inexperienced attorneys may tell you to accept less than what your case is actually worth just so they don’t have to take your case to court.

3. Payment Based on Contingency

If you don’t get compensated, your lawyer should not get paid. This deal will ensure your legal team is working hard to get you the recovery you deserve. If your asbestos attorney does not work under this contingency agreement, then reconsider the relationship.

4. Legal Team Handles the Trouble

As a client, your responsibility should essentially come down to recalling the events that led to your injury and helping to secure a few documents such as medical bills linked to your asbestos-related illness. All other legal work should be conducted by your attorney.

Mesothelioma victims are already under enough stress, so a quality team of attorneys should alleviate legal concerns including paperwork, investigation, and litigation.

5. Place Communication and Timeliness as Priorities

Mesothelioma cases should be handled in a timely manner. The right team will work hard to uncover the details regarding your claim to start the process of securing compensation right away.

Solid and open communication, as well as frequent updates about your case, will help you feel at ease, knowing that your situation is in trusted hands. You don’t want to wait around impatiently for a team that drags your case along.

Choose Hotze Runkle For Quality Legal Help

If you or a loved one has become ill in the face of asbestos exposure, contact the asbestos trial lawyers of Hotze Runkle now. We work hard to earn your trust and to help you obtain the compensation needed to recover.

Seek help from the trustworthy team of asbestos attorneys with a track record of success in similar cases. Call (877) 919-0830 to speak with one of our dedicated national asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle today.


Railroad workers: have you been exposed to asbestos?

Railroad going into the fog

Railroads have played an essential role in growing the U.S. economy, travel, and the development of this great nation. However, the hardworking individuals who have dedicated their blood and sweat to the industry have been impacted in a very negative way.

During the 20th century, railroad cars and other railroad equipment were manufactured with asbestos, a mineral fiber which serves as a great insulator but which is terribly toxic to humans when inhaled.

Due to working conditions, chances are that many railroad workers were exposed to this mineral and could be suffering from a number of respiratory ailments, or even mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

If you or someone you love worked as a railroad worker and are now suffering from asbestos-related illnesses, look to the national asbestos lawyers a Hotze Runkle to defend your rights and help you find the closure you and your family deserve.

Risks of Exposure

Unfortunately, despite how toxic asbestos is, the product was still used for decades in various industries including the railway system. Many products and equipment used in railroads contained these toxic fibers, including, but not limited to:

  • Insulation: Asbestos was used to insulate parts of steam and diesel locomotives. Some of these parts included the boiler, outside of the engine, boxcars, ceilings of cabooses, under the metal body of the train, driving cabins, carriages, and pipe coverings.
    Asbestos could also be found in roadhouses and railroad shops.
  • Railroad Equipment: Asbestos was used in the creation of plaster, wallboards, cement ties, gaskets and sealing cement.
  • Locomotive Parts: Asbestos fibers could be found in brake linings, brake pads, clutches, floor tiles, and in the ceilings of passenger cars.

Due to the variety of duties a railroad worker could have, chances are that they were exposed to asbestos fibers throughout their workday. However, there are some tasks which could have potentially exposed a railroad worker to dangerous levels of the mineral including:

  • Brake inspection and replacement
  • Coupling and separating cars
  • Locomotive inspections
  • Repairing signals on tracks or yards

It’s worth noting that the risks of asbestos exposure did not only occur for those working directly in the railroads but for their families as well since asbestos fibers can linger in clothing and be transported in that way.

Additionally, employees at or around roadhouses and/or railroad shops were also possibly exposed to asbestos by the fibers carried by the railroad workers who visited these locations.

What You Can Do

Unfortunately, railroad workers in the U.S. are not protected under the worker’s compensation program.

But there is hope.

An injured railroad worker can file a claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) to get the compensation they deserve from their employers.

A FELA lawsuit is categorized as a civil lawsuit in which the railroad worker must prove their employer’s negligence and how it contributed to the injuries suffered. These types of lawsuits can be brought to a federal or state court.

However, in order to be able to file a claim against an employer under FELA, the railroad company which the injured party worked for must available in several states. If not, the worker can sue the individual manufacturers who used asbestos for the railroad equipment.

It is best to hire an experienced attorney who specializes in asbestos claims to handle the nuances and details of these complicated cases.

Contact the experienced Texas asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle today at (512) 476-7771.


How Asbestos Exposure Can Affect Your Health

Asbestos and Your Health
The disastrous effects of asbestos in the lives of many hardworking Americans is no secret. Many Americans were exposed to this dangerous substance well into the early 80s, even though its dangerous side effects had been detected years before.

But not everyone who had substantial contact with asbestos developed the same health problems.

The national asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle want you to obtain the justice you deserve if you have suffered an illness caused by asbestos exposure. We wholly believe that the more you understand about this dangerous substance, the better a decision you can make when it comes to filing a claim against the party responsible for your illness.

Please consider the following information about how asbestos can affect your health.

What are the chances I am suffering from asbestos exposure?

Between 1940 and 1978, 11 million American were exposed to asbestos in one form or another. In the decades that followed, the true damages of asbestos were to be felt.

Between 1999 and 2015, there were 54,418 documented cases of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Additionally, there were 45,009 deaths from mesothelioma reported during that same time frame.

Perhaps most alarmingly is that 20 million people in the United States are estimated to be at risk for developing mesothelioma at some point in their lives.

The risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The amount of asbestos that was in the environment you were exposed in.
  • How often and for how long the exposure occurred.
  • How long the exposure lasted.
  • Previous lung conditions.
  • Whether or not you smoked.

Asbestos-Related Diseases

If you were exposed to asbestos fibers over a long period of time, there are several illnesses you could potentially develop. These include but are not limited to:

    • Asbestosis

Asbestosis is lung scarring due to asbestos fibers. Because of the scar tissue in the lungs, oxygen and carbon dioxide cannot pass as easily through the system, making it much hard for a sufferer to breathe.

This generally occurs in people with very high exposure and can take years to develop detectable symptoms.

    • Pleural Effects

Asbestos fibers in the lungs can also cause a variety of abnormalities in the lining of the chest cavity, known as pleura:

      • Pleural plaques: abnormal collagen deposits
      • Pleural effusion: fluid in the lining
      • Fibrosis of the pleura
      • Folded lung: an area of pleural fibrosis folds into itself creating an airless space in the lung

These pleural abnormalities can be found in 10-60% of the workers exposed to asbestos.

They are also common in their family members, possibly due to asbestos fibers being carried in the workers’ clothes.

    • Laryngeal Effects

In uncommon cases, individuals who have been exposed to asbestos have been shown to have an increased risk of suffering from laryngitis.

    • Immune System Issues

The immune system is often weakened in individuals with asbestosis. It is still not clear if this decrease is the cause or a result of asbestosis. In individuals exposed to asbestos but who do not suffer from asbestosis, mild to no decrease of the immune system has been detected.

    • Lung Cancer

These malignant tumors can take over and obstructs air passages in the lungs. Smoking tobacco, combined with asbestos exposure, dramatically increases the chance of developing lung cancer.

It normally takes about 20 to 30 years after the exposure (latency period) before developing lung cancer. While lung cancer is commonly associated with long periods of asbestos exposures, there have been cases where individuals with one to 12 months of exposure exhibit a  greatly increased risk of developing the illness.

    • Mesothelioma

A rare form of cancer which affects the membrane covering the lungs and chest cavity (pleura), the membrane lining the abdominal cavity (peritoneum), or other membranes surrounding other major organs.

It can take up to 30 to 40 years after an individual has been exposed to asbestos before mesothelioma symptoms become evident.

    • Other Forms of Cancer

Asbestos exposure is mainly known to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. However, asbestos exposure can also cause larynx or ovary cancer.

If You Believe You Were Exposed to Asbestos

If you are concerned about possibly having been exposed to asbestos, visit your doctor or medical provider as soon as possible. Depending on your medical history and the details of your experiences, your doctor may conduct testing.

If you have been exposed to asbestos and are suffering from an asbestos-related illness, contact the experienced Texas asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle today at (512) 476-7771.


9 Myths About Asbestos Claims

Asbestos Claim Myths
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer which can affect the lining of the lungs, heart, and/or abdomen and is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Companies that knowingly expose employees and consumers to this cancer-causing agent are legally liable for damages.

If you are suffering from mesothelioma or believe asbestos has affected your health, it is paramount that you seek legal guidance from the national asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle. We work hard to earn your trust and to deliver the results you deserve.

We know that there are many challenges that come with being diagnosed with mesothelioma and that much of your energy is spent just taking care of your health. However, it is important that you fight for your rights and the justice you deserve.

The dedicated legal team at Hotze Runkle have compiled a list of nine myths regarding mesothelioma claims to help guide you through these difficult times. We believe that the more you know, the stronger your claim can be.

Please consider the following information.

9 Myths About Asbestos Claims You Need to Know About

Myth 1: Large compensations will be paid by asbestos bankruptcy trusts to everyone diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Fact: In order to receive any compensation, a person diagnosed with mesothelioma must provide evidence of:

  1. Exposure to a product or tool containing asbestos produced by the liable company.
  2. Working at an “approved work site” acknowledged by the specific bankruptcy trust.

How detailed or how much evidence you will be needed depends on the trust’s guidelines. This is why it is essential you seek the legal guidance of a qualified asbestos lawyer who can help recover all the damages your situation warrants.

Myth 2: Every company which sold or manufactured asbestos-containing products are bankrupt and brought to justice.

Fact: Many of companies which manufactured or sold asbestos-containing products are in fact not bankrupt. Thousands of companies produced such products, many are big profitable corporations in the U.S.

Some have not yet even been brought to justice and are detected as people develop mesothelioma and file their claims.

Myth 3: Asbestos and mesothelioma claims must be filed as “class action” lawsuits.

Fact: A class-action lawsuit is a group of people affected by the same situation filing a claim and represented by a “class representative.” It is NOT necessary for you to file your claim in this manner. It can be filed as an individual lawsuit.

On the other hand, in some jurisdictions, several people who have made mesothelioma claims may be brought together by the court for a single trial due to the cases having a common issue.

Myth 4: Every mesothelioma claim is compensated with a similar amount of money.

Fact: The worth of a mesothelioma claim varies per case and is dependent on the strength of the evidence. Plaintiffs with detailed proof of being exposed to asbestos can potentially obtain large amounts of money. On the other hand, with little to no proof, the value of a case drops.

Myth 5: Asbestos and mesothelioma claims cannot be won by smokers.

Fact: These situations are actually the complete opposite. Smokers have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, lung diseases or lung cancer if exposed to asbestos, which helps them to develop a stronger case.

Myth 6: Even if a person suffers from mesothelioma, they don’t have a case if they aren’t aware of how they were exposed to asbestos.

Fact: Many individuals who develop mesothelioma do not know where or how they were exposed since asbestos-containing products were not labeled as such. This is why it is important to get experienced legal help which can help you investigate and discover the faulty product which caused you to suffer.

Specialized law firms like Hotze Runkle have a thorough understanding of the nuances of these types of cases and can help you to obtain full compensation.

Myth 7: If a military veteran suffers from mesothelioma, they can only file their claim through the U.S. Veterans Affairs.

Fact: Veterans who have developed mesothelioma due to being exposed to asbestos while serving may receive benefits through the VA services by filing a “VA claim.” However, this doesn’t mean it is impossible to file a claim with bankruptcy trust to receive full compensation. It is completely viable to file a civil lawsuit along with their VA claim.

Myth 8: The money I recover from my asbestos or mesothelioma claim will be taxed.

Fact: Any money you receive because of your claim and due to your mesothelioma will not be taxed.

Myth 9: If a family member passed away from mesothelioma any claims they had were lost with their death.

Fact: Surviving family members may still have the right to be compensated even if the victim has passed. It’s important to be aware, however, that these types of claims are time sensitive and family members must file a claim immediately to have a chance at receiving compensation for their loss. Most states in the country only allow asbestos and mesothelioma claims within a certain amount of time after the diagnosis with the average being two to three years.

If you believe to have been exposed to asbestos or are suffering from mesothelioma, our experienced national asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle are ready to fight for you.

Call the Texas asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle today at (512) 476-7771 for a consultation.


Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Reportedly Contains Asbestos

Parents and their baby
The news agency, Reuters, recently released an incriminating report that Johnson & Johnson is facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that their baby powder had cancer-causing asbestos agents in it. After examining internal documents, Reuters found that J&J had kept information regarding the asbestos contamination from regulators and the public.

While Johnson & Johnson has always marketed their products as family friendly and gentle to use, this special report has shed light on the contaminants that have put many individuals at risk. Despite these findings information, J&J continues to deny the possibility of contamination of the talc with the carcinogenic substances.

Lab Findings Reveal Asbestos in J&J Talc Powder

Internal documents revealed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, small amounts of asbestos were being found in the company’s raw talc and finished powders including “fiberform” and “rod” formations.

Although findings throughout the past four decades found contamination, Johnson & Johnson continuously refused to acknowledge the presence of asbestos in their talc. Instead, the company aimed to protect their image by demanding the government block all negative findings about their products while also influencing U.S. regulator to limit scientific research on the health effects of talc.

In 1976, when the FDA began detecting asbestos in cosmetics products, J&J reported no findings of carcinogen in their products despite three lab tests from between 1972-1975 having revealed asbestos in certain samples, with one reporting that contamination was “rather high.”

Johnson and Johnson has rejected Reuters findings and classifies them as false and misleading. However, this report has affected the company’s value and image.

J&J Faces the Backlash of Thousands of Lawsuits

In the summer of 2018, 22 women with ovarian cancer won lawsuits in which they argued that Johnson and Johnson was fully aware of the dangers of their Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc, yet failed to disclose that any of their products had asbestos contamination.

A St. Louis judge awarded the women $4.69 billion in damages.

Now, almost 10,000 lawsuits have risen in face of this revelation that the company’s talc powder was contaminated with carcinogenic substances. The product, which is marketed as “gentle enough for a baby’s bottom,” was also used as a feminine hygiene product.

While only small percentages of asbestos have been detected in the talc products, the World Health Organization is unable to provide a “safe level” of asbestos contamination.

What should I do if I am a victim of asbestos-contaminated talc?

If you have or a loved one have suffered from asbestos-related cancer from using the Johnson and Johnson talc, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.

The Hotze Runkle national asbestos lawyers know just how companies like J&J fail to disclose the truth of their products in order to protect their sales. Hotze Runkle lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you recover damages, even from huge corporations.

Call the Texas Hotze Runkle asbestos lawyers at (512) 476-7771 for your free consultation today.


U.S. Veterans Suffering From Asbestos Exposure Eligible for Compensation

Asbestos Veteran
In the early 20th century, the U.S. Armed Forces used asbestos as a source of heating and insulation in various structures. The product was used frequently because of its cheap cost, durability, heat resistance qualities, and fireproof capacity.

Although most spray-applied asbestos products were banned in 1973 under the EPA’s Clean Air Act and a full ban placed on the manufacturing, importation, processing, and sale of asbestos-containing products in 1989, structures that had been built with asbestos remained. Veterans that were exposed to the product during their military careers have developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.

It can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to see an onset of mesothelioma symptoms, therefore veterans may begin dealing with their sickness decades after they have served.

The Texas asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle want to help these American heroes in their claims against those who exposed them to these dangerous fibers. This negligence has jeopardized the health of many and even cost some veterans their lives.

Who is at fault when a veteran suffers from asbestos exposure?

The claim will not be made against the government or the military, but rather against the negligent companies that produced the asbestos products you were exposed to.

Which branches of the military were exposed to asbestos?

Before asbestos became heavily restricted in the 1970s and 80s, members of all different military branches faced the dangers of exposure.

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Navy

Members of the Navy were affected by asbestos as it was used in shipyards and the production of vessels. Those serving aboard ships, especially in close proximity to engine rooms, were at highest risk of exposure.

Navy veterans are among the most affected of all individuals because of the extent of their exposure in areas such as:

  • Boiler rooms
  • Engine rooms
  • Storage rooms
  • Navigation rooms
  • Sleeping quarters
  • Mess halls

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Army

32 army installations were discovered to have excessive amounts of asbestos. By the 1970s, barracks were no longer made with asbestos materials, however, the old installations still posed a threat to soldiers.

The following areas in barracks contained asbestos:

  • Flooring
  • Ceiling
  • Roofing
  • Siding
  • Wiring
  • Insulation

In military vehicles:

  • Heating systems
  • Brake pads
  • Clutches
  • Gaskets

In aircraft (WWII era):

  • Bombers
  • Fighter planes

Asbestos Exposure in the Marines

Members of the Marine Corps could have faced exposure in transportation vehicles such as airplanes, ships, armored vehicles, and ships. The Marines often shared facilities with the Navy, so they also faced exposure at these sites, as well as:

  • Military vehicles and transportation
  • Barracks
  • Sleeping quarters
  • Ships
  • Smaller naval vessels

Asbestos Exposure in the U.S. Air Force

Asbestos building materials were used in Air Force stations, planes, and radar stations. The toxic material was used to build Air Force planes and their cockpit heating systems, brakes, torque valves, heat shields for engines, gaskets, insulation, and electrical wiring.

U.S. Air Force members could have faced exposure from any of the following airplane structures:

  • Brakes
  • Cockpit heating systems
  • Heat shields for engines
  • Torque valves
  • Gaskets
  • Electrical wiring
  • Insulation for cargo bays

Veterans Diagnosed With Asbestos Illness or Mesothelioma

It can be anywhere from 10 to 50 years before the initial onset of asbestos-related illness and mesothelioma symptoms surface. Veterans that suspect past exposure should seek medical attention.

If a veteran should be diagnosed with mesothelioma, they should seek immediate legal consultation to recover damages from the negligent asbestos companies that harmed them.

If you feel that you may have faced exposure to the toxic material during your time serving the country, our national asbestos legal team at Hotze Runkle is prepared to help you recover damages.

Call the experienced Texas asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle today at (512) 476-7771 for your FREE consultation today.


Recent Changes in Asbestos Trusts in the United States

wood gavel on cash background
In order to better serve our clients, your dedicated Texas asbestos lawyers at Hotze Runkle are constantly researching and investigating asbestos-related news. One of the more alarming announcements recently made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) is their desire to make it more difficult for asbestos trusts to operate.

This could, ultimately, affect the ability of asbestos victims and their families to seek and obtain compensation from the parties responsible for their pain and suffering.

About Asbestos Trust Funds

In an effort to protect future mesothelioma victims, bankruptcy courts forced companies responsible for asbestos exposure to create trust funds. These trusts began to emerge in the 1980s and were meant to ensure that companies which had gone bankrupt were able to provide financial compensation to victims of their negligent use of asbestos.

As per a Government Accountability Office report from 2011, 60 asbestos trusts were created from 1998 to 2017, with a combined payout of $17 billion to 3.3 million individuals. These funds are the means by which a victim of asbestos exposure and their family can deal with costs of medical care and other damages.

As per the Center for Disease Control, between 1999 and 2013, approximately 12,000 to 15,000 Americans died each year from asbestos-related disease. The median payout for mesothelioma claim is $46,000 but compensation can vary widely from case to case.

Individuals struggling from asbestos exposure face medical expenses and loss of wages while families must deal with funeral costs and other damages.

Current Administration Could Cause Payout Delays

The current administration claims that there are flaws in the current trust fund system and that there are many false claims being made through asbestos trusts. They believe that there is a lack of safeguards protecting against these entities and that many fraudulent claims are being made without adequate evidence.

Over the past two months, the Department of Justice has issued statements that all companies creating trusts must first provide documents with the names of victims and reward amounts as part of a civil investigation. The DOJ is interested in finding any families who have received any sort of asbestos-related payout so that they can repay Medicare for any care the victim received.

Defense lawyers claim that the system is too lenient with evidence when filing a claim and that too many claims are being made against multiple parties. However, because asbestos exposure can occur across multiple sites and at more than one workplace throughout an individual’s occupational history, multiple companies/parties may be responsible.

Asbestos Making a Dangerous Comeback

Although the health hazards caused by asbestos have been proven and the material has been banned in many areas of the world, there have been recent discussions about allowing companies to once again use the substance in the United States. Despite causing health issues, including asbestos-related diseases and mesothelioma, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed that there be no limitation on the use of asbestos.

The new rule goes that the manufacturers must alert the EPA and seek approval if they are trying to use asbestos in products.

Despite all the pain and suffering many victims and families have suffered as a direct result of asbestos-related diseases and mesothelioma, it appears that the substance is going to making a dangerous comeback.

Getting the Compensation You Deserve

Companies that have filed for bankruptcy are protected from lawsuits, so it is important to have the added protection and legal experience of the Texas asbestos lawyers of Hotze Runkle to help you navigate your claim.

If you suspect that you may have been exposed to asbestos or are beginning to deal with symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses, seek medical care immediately. Make sure to keep a log of all your medical visits and expenses, as well as a detailed account of your occupational history and the state’s in which you may have faced exposure.

If you or a loved one has suffered asbestos exposure, contact Hotze Runkle, PLLC today at 1-877-919-0830.


What to Know About Filing an Asbestos Exposure Death Claim for a Loved One

Wrongful Death
Mesothelioma can cause long-lasting emotional and financial distress for not only the unfortunate individual suffering from the illness but also close family members as well.

Unfortunately, malignant mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, is an incurable cancer that can affect the lungs, abdomen, or heart. For many individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma, the disease has already advanced to being terminal, with the average survival time being less than a year.

The passing of a loved one can leave their family members struggling to pay medical bills, funeral costs, and other financial burdens.

If your loved one passed as a result of asbestos exposure or mesothelioma, the national asbestos lawyers of Hotze Runkle have the experience you need to help you fight for the compensation your family deserves.

Who Can Receive Compensation for an Asbestos-Related Death?

When diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, an individual can claim installments from asbestos funds. When the victim passes away, family members that have been appointed to the estate before the individual’s death will inherit the installments, giving them some financial security.

If no person has been designated to inherit the estate, then the decision will be left in the hands of the estate representative, a family member appointed by an attorney.

In the case that the individual affected by the disease never filed a claim, but their death is directly related to asbestos, a family member can still work with an asbestos attorney to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

How Are Estate Representatives Appointed?

There are two ways an estate representative can be appointed:

  • The decedent appoints the representative prior to passing away.
  • The court designates a representative of the estate.

In the end, the appointed estate representative will be able to decide how to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

There are certain criteria to be met in order to file a wrongful death claim. The claim may be used to pay for medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of income experienced. The Texas asbestos attorneys at Hotze Runkle can help you fully understand your rights and what can be done to seek out compensation.

By law, only certain eligible family members can file a wrongful death claim. The individual must have “standing” or be close enough to the decedent as well as be directly affected by the loss of life. These relations can include:

  • A spouse
  • Immediate family member
  • Dependent of the decedent
  • In some states, a claim may be filed by a parent or more distant family member

Additional Information About a Wrongful Death Claim

An asbestos-cancer or mesothelioma claim is much like a personal injury claim. The asbestos attorney must conduct thorough research about the history of the deceased including investigating the workplace or site where the exposure took place, as well as interview co-workers that can testify.

Although the asbestos attorneys at Hotze Runkle are very familiar with companies known for asbestos exposure, it can be difficult to trace specifics once the death has occurred. This is why it is vital that either the decedent or a family member documents work history, sites of exposure, and a list of reliable individuals who can help the investigation.

It’s also important to recognize that asbestos-related wrongful death claims are constricted by a statute of limitations, which is typically 12 to 48 months from the date of diagnosis, depending on the applicable statute of limitations in your state.

The main goal in an asbestos wrongful death claim is to hold the negligent employer or company liable for exposure to the harmful material.

Let Hotze Runkle help you file a wrongful death claim caused by mesothelioma or asbestos exposure.

It is absolutely important to hire an experienced attorney familiar with experience handling wrongful death cases and asbestos-related claims.

Contact the trustworthy and hardworking Hotze Runkle asbestos exposure attorneys today at (877) 919-0830.


The 5 States with the Highest Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Two Demolition cranes demolishing old row of houses in the Netherlands
It’s no secret that asbestos exposure was not taken as seriously in past decades as noted by the fact that it was heavily used all the way into the 1980s.

Sadly, not all U.S. companies have determined to avoid using the carcinogen. Asbestos is still widely used in paper and textile mills, chemical plants, as well as refineries.

These businesses are putting the health of American workers and citizens at risk. According to Asbestos.com, from 1999 to 2010, there were approximately 32,000 people that died due to either mesothelioma or asbestosis.

Although asbestos exposure is a problem all throughout the nation, there are regions/states which are known to have higher rates of exposure. Your mesothelioma lawyers at Hotze Runkle want to highlight the top 5 states with the highest risk of asbestos exposure.

California

With one of the highest rates of asbestos-related deaths in the nation, California has naturally occurring asbestos in 45 of their counties. However, the state does have some of the strictest asbestos laws in the country.

In California the most common at-risk occupations include:

  • Welders
  • Firefighters
  • Renovation/demolition workers
  • Construction workers
  • Drywallers
  • Masons
  • Concrete placers
  • Insulators (in ships, planes, and buildings)
  • Boilermakers
  • Shipyard/dock workers

The demand for asbestos in California started in the 1970s when companies began heavily using raw asbestos fibers in industrial, commercial, and residential appliances.

One of the biggest users of the carcinogenic material in California is the United States military.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has reported the most deaths per million people in the country, even more than California. From 1999 to 2013 there were 14,216 asbestos-related deaths in the state.

There are plenty of sites in Pennsylvania with naturally occurring asbestos such as mines and asbestos deposits. One of the biggest sources of asbestos was from a processing plant in Amber, Pennsylvania. The city has, unfortunately, been labeled “Asbestos Capital of the World.”

Other industries in the state with high rates of asbestos exposure include:

  • Steel mills
  • Locomotive building
  • Shipyards

Florida

The third highest asbestos exposure rate in the nation goes to Florida with 14,248 deaths from 1999 to 2013. One of the biggest contributions to this states asbestos mortality rate is offshore drilling and shipbuilding.

However, other industries and worksites like agriculture, power plants, and construction still offer high risks of asbestos exposure. There is currently no known natural occurrences of asbestos in Florida.

Risky worksites in Florida include:

  • Asbestos processing plants
  • Military bases
  • Dockyards
  • Railroads
  • Old building
  • Renovated buildings
  • Mines
  • Food processing factories
  • Farmers
  • Boiler workers
  • Chemical plant specialists
  • Military veterans
  • First responders

Florida is also one the most popular vacation destinations in the United States. Many types of resorts, hotels, or entertainment venues that were built before the 1980s could quite possibly contain asbestos.

While tourists are at very little risk, the construction workers who helped to build these structures may have been heavily exposed.

New York

Starting as early as the 1850’s, businesses in New York began to use asbestos. In New York, on average, 780 people die every year from mesothelioma. That statistic is expected to rise in the years to come.

As the epicenter of industry in the United States, laborers are constantly exposed because of their work in asbestos infested buildings. In fact, New York has held the top spot for victims over the last 40 years.

Some of the riskiest jobs for asbestos exposure include:

  • Chemical/power plant workers
  • Carpenters
  • Bricklayers
  • Electricians
  • Demolition/renovation experts
  • Mechanics
  • Metalworkers
  • Shipyard workers

One of the highest ranking sites for asbestos exposure was the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Also, almost every single building in the New York skyline used asbestos, putting many workers at risk for asbestos-related illnesses.

Texas

From 1999 to 2015, there have been 3,000 deaths from mesothelioma in Texas alone.

Asbestos can be found in older buildings including schools, abandoned buildings, power plants, utility buildings, storage sites, and military sites.

Military shipyards have some of the highest rates of asbestos exposure. This is why many lawsuits involve veterans that may have developed mesothelioma later in life.

If you or a loved one have been affected by exposure to asbestos and are suffering from mesothelioma, contact Hotze Runkle today at (512) 476-7771 or toll-free (877) 919-0830 for a free consultation.