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Texas Joins Other States in Bills to Enforce Asbestos Claim Regulation

Texas is the latest state to propose legislation placing strict limits on how and when claims over asbestos-related illnesses can be filed. The bill, HB 1492, would place restrictions on the number of claims that can be filed by a single claimant. Supporters of the bill state that, if passed, the law would prevent fraudulent behavior on the part of claimants. However, those who oppose the bill say that this only hurts victims and their families more and offers handouts to the companies found liable for endangering their employees.

Asbestos can kill

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral material used in myriad industrial applications, such as automotive parts manufacturing, vinyl tile manufacturing, the production of cement sheeting, and attic, floor or pipe insulation materials used in building construction. As such, it exists all around us. However, when asbestos fibers become airborne, they can be breathed in or swallowed—and when that happens, they become lodged in body tissues, never to be purged. In time, these fibers irritate the linings of various viscera and can cause tissue scarring and an extremely aggressive form of cancer called malignant mesothelioma.

Trusts for victims of asbestos-related illness

Diseases like mesothelioma have a long latency period, meaning that the illness may not become apparent until years and even decades following the victim’s last exposure to asbestos. Many individuals worked closely with asbestos on a daily basis for years in industries like construction work, factory work, and HVAC. By the time many of these people became sick, it was long after they had since retired from their careers. The companies that had employed these victims set up trusts after being found liable for the illnesses in order to ensure that their victims were compensated, even as the high volume of claims led to their bankruptcy.

The bill seeks to change the law

Currently, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illness victims may file multiple claims for compensation. However, HB 1492 seeks to change that, making “double-dipping” illegal—one claim, one compensation. Those who are in favor of the bill feel this would tilt the scales back to the side of justice and provide a fair approach to claimants and payers of those claims, but victims feel this is a dig that seeks to lower the price of their lost health and wellness. While the proposed bill would allegedly reduce fraudulent claims, victims and their families are outraged, stating that the problem of fraud in mesothelioma claims cases is baseless. HB 1492 was approved by the House with 126 “yea” votes and 11 “nays. It is currently awaiting approval from the office of the governor.

Source: http://openstates.org/tx/bills/84/HB1492/

Tamara VanWormer

Tamara VanWormer is a writer and editor based in southern California, in a small town adjacent to the United States border with Mexico. Her career path was dappled with dabblings in various fields, including several years spent in healthcare, which gave her access to the latest information about cutting-edge cancer research and sparked her interest in mesothelioma diagnosis and care.

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