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Bill could affect compensation for asbestos exposure victims

A bill that would negatively affect the compensation that asbestos victims receive is currently being considered by Congress despite a recent study showing that annual asbestos related deaths are higher than previous estimates. Ohio victims of asbestos exposure likely understand how important legal recourse can be when fighting illnesses related to that exposure. Any delay could prolong a victim's suffering, which compensation from asbestos trusts is meant to address.

The asbestos industry supports the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act that could allegedly draw out the process of providing compensation until well after the victim's death. Responsible companies would also be given the power to request all sorts of extra information from victims at virtually any point in the process, delaying things further by requiring unnecessary and extra paperwork. Quarterly reports -- another addition from the bill -- would make certain medical histories and other information public while also depleting the trust's funds. 

Opponents of the bill may be wondering why this bill is even being considered when a study by the Environmental Working Group put the number of asbestos related deaths at approximately 15,000 fatalities annually. The cause of death for victims is typically mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestosis-triggered lung cancer or any combination of those three illnesses. However, former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Lemen estimates that this number is still too low. Other studies place the rate of lung cancer for asbestos victims higher than the EWG's study, and Lemen also points out that the EWG did not consider other illnesses related to asbestos exposure, such as ovarian and stomach cancer.

While Congress considers this bill, those suffering from diseases related to asbestos exposure must handle the reality of the physical, emotional and financial impact of their illnesses. When it comes to recovery, compensation from responsible parties can be a critical component to the process. Ohio victims who successfully navigate a civil claim for asbestos exposure can benefit from related legal recourse that can address medical bills as well as pain and suffering.

Source:, "Up to 15,000 asbestos-related deaths reported annually in US: Estimates", May 13, 2015

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