I’m Both a Board-Certified Personal Injury Attorney and a Leukemia Survivor.

Richard and Mary LaGarde

I am not only a board-certified personal injury attorney*, I am also a leukemia survivor. My acute myeloid leukemia (AML) was diagnosed in February of 2016.  After two rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, I am in complete remission seven years post transplant.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  

While being treated at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, I met a number of industrial workers from all across the country including barge workers, seamen, refinery workers, and offshore workers from Louisiana, Texas, and other states.  Many had leukemia, lymphoma, or MDS and wondered what caused their disease.  

I decided to use my website and my 41 years of legal experience to provide blood cancer victims with information about what causes leukemia, lymphoma, and MDS and to help them get the compensation to which they and their families are entitled.

*Richard LaGarde is board certified in both Personal Injury and Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

What Causes Leukemia?

One of the most common and well-studied causes of leukemia, lymphoma, and MDS is benzene

There is a strong link between acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and benzene exposure. Benzene is a colorless and highly flammable liquid that is widely used in the manufacturing of plastics, synthetic fibers, rubber, dyes, detergents, and other chemicals. It is also found in gasoline, cigarette smoke, and other combustion products.

Numerous studies have found that exposure to benzene increases the risk of developing AML, a cancer that affects the bone marrow and blood-forming cells. Benzene exposure can occur in occupational settings such as factories, refineries, and chemical plants, as well as in the environment through air, water, and soil contamination.

The link between AML and benzene exposure is thought to be due to the ability of benzene to damage DNA and disrupt the normal functioning of blood cells. Benzene exposure can lead to changes in the DNA of blood-forming cells, which can result in the development of leukemia.

In conclusion, there is a strong link between AML and benzene exposure, and it is important to limit exposure to benzene through occupational and environmental measures to reduce the risk of developing this type of cancer.

What Types of Blood Cancer Are Caused by Benzene?

The American Cancer Society reports that blood cancers caused by benzene and benzene-containing industrial chemicals like crude oil, refined petroleum products, naphtha, gasoline, jet fuel, aviation gas, toluene, xylene and other aromatic hydrocarbons include:

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Myelodysplastic syndrome or myelodysplasia (MDS);
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Aplastic Anemia (AA)Bladder cancers

What Products Contain Benzene?

Benzene is a sweet smelling chemical commonly found in:

Crude OilRefined Petroleum Products
GasolineJet Fuel
NapthaAviation Gas
PaintsPaint Thinners
SolventsOther Aromatic Hydrocarbons

If You Use One of These Products Between 1955 and 1977, You Were Likely Exposed to Benzene.

Which Workers Are Exposed to other forms of Benzene?

Workers in the following occupations have been exposed to benzene in high enough levels to cause leukemia and other blood cancers:

Barge WorkersChemical Plant Workers
Chemical Ship SeamenDock Workers
Refinery EmployeesGasoline Distribution Workers
Industrial Workers Using SolventsInstallers Using Glues & Solvents
Newspaper Press WorkersOffshore Oil Rig Workers
PaintersPaper and Pulp Mill Workers
Pesticide ManufacturingPlumbers
Rubber & Synthetic Rubber WorkersShoe/Leather Workers
TankermenTruck Drivers
Chemical Tank Cleaners

How are Workers on Barges and Ships Exposed to Benzene?

Barge workers, tug boat captains, maintenance workers, painters, chippers, welders, tankermen, and crew members on barges and chemical carrying ships are often exposed to benzene fumes as part of their daily work. Exposure to the skin or inhalation of fumes from loading and off-loading benzene containing chemicals at refineries and chemical plants is common.  In addition, inspecting or cleaning tanks can be a source of exposure. Barge workers in Texas and Louisiana seem to make up the largest group of leukemia cases that we have encountered, but benzene has posed a risk to workers all across the country.

How Long Does it Take to Develop Leukemia After Exposure to Benzene?

Scientists have known for more than a century that benzene damages the bone marrow. An article published by the National Institutes of Health suggests that it may take from 5 to 20 years after exposure to benzene before leukemia develops. Other experts suggest a latency period of up to 40 years.

Am I entitled to Social Security Disability Payments for my Leukemia?

The Social Security Administration has established a list of conditions which are considered disabling without the need for additional proof of disability.  One of these “Compassionate Allowance Conditions” is Leukemia defined by the Agency as either Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) or Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). To file your own claim for social security disability benefits due to leukemia, review this article and click on this >>link<< . Additional information about disability benefits for leukemia patients can be found here.

Am I Entitled to Compensation for my Leukemia, Lymphoma, MDS, or Other Blood Cancer?

If your leukemia or other blood cancer was caused by exposure to benzene or other chemicals containing benzene, you may be entitled to compensation.  If you are a land-based worker, you would typically be covered by workers’ compensation insurance which provides benefits including medical expenses and lost wages. If your exposure was caused by the fault of a third-party, you may also have a claim against that third party for full damages and compensation.  If you are a barge worker or a seaman on a tug or chemical ship, you are probably entitled to compensation under the Jones Act and under the maritime law of maintenance and cure.  In addition, if a third party is responsible for your exposure, you may have a claim against that third party for full damages and compensation.

How Do I Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for my Leukemia, Lymphoma, or MDS Case?

There are plenty of personal injury attorneys to choose from.  However, only a small number have the qualifications, compassion, and communication skills to be great attorneys.  For a discussion of what factors go into choosing the right lawyer for your case, click this >>link<< or watch my video below.

 Why Should I Hire a Board Certified Attorney?

Attorneys have a broad range of specialties and experience.  If you are having heart surgery, you wouldn’t hire a dermatologist to perform you surgery.  Instead, you would want to hire a board certified heart surgeon.  If you have a potential personal injury case, you would want an attorney board certified in both civil trial and personal injury trial law.  I am board certified in both areas by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  For a discussion of why it is important to choose a board certified attorney, watch my video below.

Does your firm offer a contingent fee option?

Most personal injury lawyers, including  the lawyers in our firm, offer services on a “no win, no fee” basis also known as a “contingent fee” or “contingency fee” arrangement.  For information on how a contingent fee works, watch this video:

Get a Free Consultation With a Texas, Louisiana, and Florida Leukemia Lawyer

If you want to speak with a lawyer who can help answer questions about leukemia and other blood cancers, call me, attorney Richard LaGarde.  As a leukemia survivor, I know firsthand how devastating a blood cancer can be to a patient and his or her family.  I represent consumers and injury victims in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. I have also worked with local counsel to help clients in other states across the country.  I am board certified in both civil trial and personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  This is a distinction achieved by less than one-half of one percent of Texas attorneys.  Call me at my toll free number of 1-866-LAGARDE (1-866-524-2733) or complete the “Contact Us” form on this website.  To read details about my personal successful battle against acute myeloid leukemia (AML), read my blog at www.leukemialottery.Wordpress.com.

Latest Treatments for AML Leukemia

Q:  Can I call you to discuss my claim without getting a bill for your time?

A:  You can call us today to discuss your legal claim without worrying that you are going to get a bill.  Consultations are free of charge, and there are no upfront costs. Call us today at 1-866- LAGARDE (1-866-524-2733).  Richard  and Mary LaGarde have a combined 67 years of experience in helping clients with lawsuits, arbitrations, and mediations in Texas, Florida, and Louisiana.  Their many years of experience will provide invaluable help to you. Just as importantly, the LaGarde Law Firm will keep you informed every step of the way.  LaGarde Law Firm has offices* in Houston, Texas and Naples, Florida.  Call today if you want to schedule an appointment at either of our two locations.

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Richard LaGarde

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