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What is Asbestos?
While most asbestos-containing products were produced during the 1940s to 1970s asbestos litigation remains prevalent today. What exactly is asbestos? Asbestos is the common name for a variety of silicate materials that more resistant to acid and fire than other materials. Physically, asbestos appears fibrous.
Asbestos is used for thermal insulation, fire proofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings and has been used in numerous industries. The employees that worked for these companies were exposed to these potent carcinogens years ago. However, they still experience symptoms from this past exposure including deadly cancers like Asbestiosis, lung cancer and Mesothelioma. Diseases caused by asbestos have a long latency period, usually taking ten to forty years before showing any symptoms of the disease. Currently, many people who worked with asbestos in the 1970’s are just now coming to realize that they are developing cancer at alarming rates.
The companies involved in asbestos exposure ignored all of the warning signs that the materials they were using were putting their employees at risk. Many companies were involved in major cover-ups where research showed that the materials they were using were causing cancer and other illnesses, and that prolonged exposure and use of these materials would only augment the harmful results. As more and more people realize their injuries and illnesses, the asbestos litigation industry continues to boom.
Lien Resolution in Asbestos Litigation
The employees exposed to asbestos have filed thousands of lawsuits over the years involving more than 8,400 defendants. The first wave of lawsuits commenced in the 1960s. They increased in 1973 after the landmark decision was issued by the Circuit Court of Appeals decided the Borel case, which applied strict liability in asbestos lawsuits. (Borel v. Fireboard Paper Prods. Corp., 493 F.2d 1076 (5th Cir. 1973)
While more than 70 asbestos manufacturing companies have been forced into bankruptcy in the past 20 years, trusts have been created to pay their asbestos victims. Regardless of these trusts, most defendant manufacturers pay pennies on the dollar in settlement. But, many of the plaintiffs are very sick and have incurred thousands of dollars in medical bills. As with other personal injury lawsuits, asbestos-related lawsuits have the same issues to resolve when it comes to Medicare, Medicaid and Private Health Insurance Plans as they relate to subrogation rights.
The practical aspects of settling an asbestos lawsuit will usually require attorneys to address a healthcare lien. Many of the liens are at least as big as the settlement, leaving the client with what would appear to be nothing. This does not have to be the final result.
LRS has established relationships with Medicare offices all over the country. There are offices set up to handle asbestos litigation, exclusively. Procedures exist to resolve most Medicare liens so that your client will walk away with money in their pocket. This money is not only representative of the injustice committed by the defendants but badly needed by the plaintiff to assist in the expenses incurred as a result of their serious diseases or illnesses. For Medicaid recipients that have sued as a result of asbestos exposure the same holds true. There is no reason why a Medicaid lien should consume the entire settlement.
Many firms are unable to handle these lien issues – so if you have questions, we can help. Contact LRS to assist you in reductions for asbestos lawsuit healthcare lien resolution and Medicare lien resolution.