I am not only a personal injury attorney, I am also a leukemia survivor.  I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in February of 2016.  After two rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, I am in complete remission and have no measurable residual disease.  I am one of the lucky ones.  While being treated at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, I met a number of barge workers, seamen, refinery workers, and offshore workers from both Louisiana and Texas.  They too had leukemia and wondered what caused their disease.  I decided to use my website and my 33 years of legal experience to provide leukemia victims with information about what causes leukemia and to help them get the compensation to which they and their families are entitled.

What Causes Leukemia?

The most common and well-studied cause of leukemia is 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);
  • non-Hodgkins Lymphoma;
  • Aplastic Anemia (AA);
  • myelodysplastic syndrome or myelodysplasia (MDS);
  • bladder cancers; and,
  • other blood cancers.

What Products Contain Benzene?

Benzene is a sweet smelling chemical commonly found in:

  • crude oil;
  • refined petroleum products;
  • gasoline;
  • naphtha;
  • jet fuel;
  • aviation gas;
  • toluene;
  • xylene;
  • creosote;
  • lubricants;
  • paints;
  • paint thinners;
  • solvents; and,
  • other aromatic hydrocarbons.

Which Workers Are Exposed to Benzene?

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

  • Adhesive production;
  • Barge Workers;
  • Chemical Workers;
  • Dock Workers;
  • Gasoline distribution workers;
  • Industrial plant workers who use solvents;
  • Installers using glues & solvents;
  • Newspaper Press Workers;
  • Offshore Oil Rig Workers;
  • Painters;
  • Paper and Pulp;
  • Pesticide Manufacturing;
  • Plumbers;
  • Pipefitters;
  • Printers;
  • Refinery Workers;
  • Rubber Workers;
  • Shoe / Leather workers;
  • Synthetic Rubber Production;
  • Tankermen; and,
  • Truck Drivers

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.

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

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, click on this >>link<<.

Am I Entitled to Compensation for my Leukemia?

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.

What Are the Most Recent Developments in Treating Leukemia?

How Do I Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for my 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 chosing the right lawyer for your case, click this >>link<< or watch Mr. LaGarde’s 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.  Mr. LaGarde is 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 Mr. LaGarde’s video below.

How do I Pay for a Personal Injury Lawyer?

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 and Louisiana Leukemia Lawyer

If you want to speak with a lawyer who can help answer questions about leukemia and other blood cancers, call attorney Richard LaGarde.  As a leukemia survivor, he knows firsthand how devastating a blood cancer can be to a patient and his or her family.  He represents consumers and injury victims in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.  He has also worked with local counsel to help clients in other states across the country.  Mr. LaGarde is 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 Mr, LaGarde at his toll free number of 1-866-LAGARDE (1-866-524-2733) or complete the “Contact Us” form on this website.  To read details about Mr. LaGarde’s personal successful battle against acute myeloid leukemia (AML), read his blog at www.leukemialottery.Wordpress.com.

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