Statistical data show that from 1999 to 2010 more than 29,000 people in the US died of mesothelioma, a rare form of deadly cancer that affects the mesothelium, the thin cell wall that protects the body’s internal organs. Due to its 20 – 40 years latency period, many of those diagnosed with this illness are already above the age 50, while the cancer itself is more likely at stage 3 or 4, making the survival rate usually lasting only up to two years.

Inhalation of tiny, sharp Asbestos fiber dusts is the only known cause of mesothelioma. These fiber dusts stick and scar the lungs, and then spread to, and likewise damage, the other organs of the body, making the affected person’s health deteriorate until he or she becomes too weak to battle the disease.

The toxicity of asbestos was discovered during the time of Pliny the Younger, a lawyer and a magistrate from ancient Rome; this was around 100 A.D. It was during the19th century, however, when records of numerous asbestos-related deaths became more widespread, especially from the late 1800s up until the 1970s, when people in asbestos-mining towns or those whose work directly exposed them to asbestos, suffered early deaths as their lungs were scarred by asbestos fibers.

The fatal occurrences only clearly prove how widespread mining and the use of asbestos was in many different types of industries. In the US, most particularly in the shipping industry, more than four million workers (including US Navy personnel) were exposed to thousands of tons of asbestos due to their task of building US battleships (during World War II).

Besides asbestos miners, Navy personnel and shipyard workers, there were so many others whose work exposed them to asbestos, such as workers in construction sites, manufacturing plants, railroads, power plants, chemical plants and mills; there were also those whose work involved manufacturing of asbestos-containing products, and demolition, remodeling, or repair of old houses and buildings.

According to the website of Williams and Kherkher, many houses and commercial buildings, like medical centers, offices, malls, and hotels which were built before the 1970s have insulation materials and other equipment and products that contain, or may have contained, asbestos.

The most commonly identified products which contain asbestos include: roofing shingles, textured paint, stove-top pads, floors and walls that surround wood-burning stoves and furnaces, vinyl floor tiles, hot water and steam pipes, door gaskets, oil and coal furnaces, joint compounds used on walls and ceilings, ironing board covers, fireproof gloves, hairdryers, automobile brake pads and linings, and so many others. So long as the asbestos contained in these products are left untouched, then the mineral would be harmless. However, if the product containing asbestos gets disturbed through drilling, repair, damage or deterioration, or if the whole house or building were demolished, then asbestos fibers would definitely be released into the air, becoming a cancer-causing threat to anyone who inhales them.

Asbestos continues to be used in the US despite its already having been banned in 55 countries. With companies continuously exposing workers to, and manufacturing things that contain, this toxic substance there will always be someone to be diagnosed with mesothelioma years after having been exposed to it.


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From Sick Leaves to Temporary Partial Disability Benefits

There is quite a difference between a sickness and a temporary disability. True enough that being sick, in and of itself, is a kind of temporary disability. After all, being sick means that you are temporarily unable to do your work and need a few days rest in order to recuperate from having been ill. However, a sickness will take a few days at most. That is why most employers only allow around six or so days every year to be entitled for an employee to avail of paid sick leaves. Temporary partial disability benefits are an entirely different ball game altogether.

According to the website of the lawyers over at Hankey Law Office P.C., a disability of this nature means that you are able to work, just not quite with the same quality, quantity; or in the usually expected capacity. These benefits are born of a compromise that is mutually beneficial for both the employer and the employee. An employee will not wish to lose his or her job because of an injury, especially if it was a result out of working (as is common for construction workers and such) but an employer will not want to pay out the same amount for a diminished quality or quantity of work done. The benefits ensure a fair though somewhat decreased wage for a period of time while the employee is still healing from the disability. Additional compensation may also be rewarding depends on specific circumstances.

This is usually automatic from employers, especially if the injury that caused the disability came from the work place and was work-related. However, the process with obtaining these benefits can be tedious, complex, and incredibly stressful if you were to try and accomplish this all yourself. That is why it is recommended for you to seek the help of a workers compensation lawyer in order to obtain the benefits that are owed you. Professional, expert help will not only make things flow faster and smoother but will also save you stress and heartache that are energies better channeled towards your getting better from the unfortunate situation that rendered you temporarily and partially disabled.


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Recent Court Decisions in Medical Malpractice in Florida

The Florida Supreme Court recently refused to confirm the restrictive terms of eligibility for expert witnesses in medical malpractice cases embodied in the Daubert Standard (HB 7015; SB 1792). Although it has already been enacted, there are those who believe that the refusal of the Supreme Court to adopt it in court indicate that the law itself is unconstitutional. The opinion of the court was sought in a motion to have the Florida Evidence Code amended to incorporate this expert witness standard.

In a related but separate instance, the high court also ruled that the cap on non-economic damages i.e. pain and suffering of $500,000 in medical malpractice lawsuits is contrary to the constitutional right to equal protection under state law. The rationale behind limiting the liability of medical professionals for errors that resulted in injury or harm to patients is to curb the rapid increase in medical malpractice insurance rates.

Some studies dispute that claim payouts and legal expenses are the reason why insurers increase premiums. Instead, it is suggested that insurers raise medical malpractice premiums to make more money off doctors.

The rulings of the high court in these matters are seen only as a temporary setback in the efforts to protect physicians and make it harder for victims to prove their case in medical malpractice cases. The movers behind the initiative concede that an amendment at this point would not be practicable as the legislative session had already begun.

Florida is not the only state to impose a cap on medical malpractice awards. In fact, there are only 15 states that have absolutely no cap on damages namely: Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Kentucky, Washington, District of Columbia, Wyoming, Alabama, Iowa, Arkansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Vermont.

If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence, the law may not always be on your side. Engage the services of a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling medical malpractice cases in your state to protect your rights and get just compensation.


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