Rep. Blake Fernthold Discusses Need for Asbestos Reform to Protect Veterans and First Responders

Representative Blake Fernthold (R-Texas) is speaking out about problems with the mesothelioma victims’ fund for first responders and veterans exposed to deadly mesothelioma fibers.   The funds were set up by Congress in the 1990s, and money was reserved for future victims, since it typically takes between 20 and 50 years after first being exposed to deadly asbestos fibers before they metastasize into malignant pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, or cause other forms of serious respiratory illness.

u-s--capitol-building-918333-mThese funds were designed to provide fair payments as compensation for present and future victims, but instead there have been many funding problems with the systems and payments, which have been reduced since the 2000s, and in some cases multiple times to the same victims or their families.   Fernthold says the reason for this is because of recurring incidents of fraud and abuse of the system. He, along with a group of advocates, is supporting the Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency (FACT) Act. They hope that with greater transparency, there will be less fraud, and victims and their families will finally get the compensation they deserve.

Part of these alleged incidents of fraud were discovered as part of a recent Wall Street Journal investigation. This investigation supposedly found hundreds of inconsistencies. The inconsistencies involved trust claims and court records and some impossible claims that described children being exposed to asbestos fibers while working in industrial settings.

As our Boston asbestos exposure lawyers can explain, there will always be some degree of inconsistencies, including possible fraud and misappropriation, in large government funds. However, you may still be able to file a civil mesothelioma lawsuit against the maker of the deadly substance or the company that used it during construction, or any number of other defendants. Some of these mesothelioma lawsuits involve around a dozen or more defendants. The reason for this is because it is not easy to know what company made the specific asbestos product, and even when you were exposed to both company’s asbestos products, it may not be possible to determine what percentage of your injury was caused by each defendant. For that reason, it may be up to a jury to listen to the evidence and decide how to apportion damages.

In some mesothelioma cases, there is not even a question of causation, but the only thing that needs to be decided by a jury is damages. Damages is the name in a civil lawsuit for the financial injuries caused to the plaintiff by defendant’s alleged conduct.   There are various types of damages in a typical suit, including pain and suffering, which the jury can reduce to a dollar value based upon the evidence, past and future medical damages, which are known as liquidated damages because they already have a set dollar amount, and other types of damages known as “specials” or special damages. Specials may be claimed in many cases, and you should speak with an experienced mesothelioma injury attorney about this particular claim with respect to the facts in your case.   There may also be claims for lost wages, which can amount to significant recovery in many personal injury cases.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional resources:

Asbestos reforms needed to protect first responders and veterans, October 2, 2015, The Hill, By Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas)

More Blog Entries:

Can Family of Asbestos Workers Sue for Illness?, September 15, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog

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