CML is a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer that’s almost exclusively associated with long term exposure to high levels of benzene, a potentially dangerous but commonly used industrial solvent. Even though studies establishing the CML-benzene link first appeared in the 1970s, the chemical is still widely available and companies still put their employees at risk by using it as often as possible. Many times, doctors do not properly diagnose CML until it reaches the latter stages, so patient prognosis is often grim.
To help chronic myeloid leukemia sufferers obtain the compensation and respect they deserve, the aggressive attorneys at Napoli Law apply proven methods that have been highly successful in the past. Furthermore, because of our vast experience, we are well familiar with all the local rules in various courts, even the ones that are informal and unwritten. Call us today, and see the difference for yourself.
What is CML?
Chronic myeloid leukemia, which is caused by a genetic mutation in platelets and red blood cells, accounts for only about 10 percent of the blood cancer cases each year. Of the approximately 9,000 new cases each year, mostly among people over 65, there will be about 1,000 deaths.
Over time, the mutated cells crowd out healthy cells. The onset is so gradual that many patients have few or no physical symptoms until the disease reaches advanced stages, at which point it spreads and metastasizes quickly. These physical symptoms are rather generic, and include:
- Chronic fatigue;
- Unexplained weight loss;
- Bone pain; and
- Belly bloating.
CML patients may develop certain medical conditions as well, such as anemia (lack of red blood cells), neutropenia (low white blood cell count), and thrombocytopenia (blood platelet shortage).
Chronic forms of leukemia, like CML, are inherently difficult to diagnose because the cells may appear healthy upon first inspection, and they still fight off some bodily infections, although just not as well. Faster-developing acute leukemia is easier to identify and treat early.
Moreover, even if victims survive the cancer itself, leukemia is normally associated with many serious side effects, such as painful bruising and chronic bleeding.
CML and Benzene Exposure
Benzene is a powerful industrial solvent that’s commonly used in the degreasers found in many auto body and auto repair shops. The chemical is also used around pesticides, asphalt, paint thinners, and other industrial products, as well as cigarette lighters and other consumer products.
One of benzene’s most desirable physical characteristics, the fact that it evaporates quickly and therefore leaves little chemical residue, is also one of its most hazardous characteristics, because researchers believe that inhaled benzene fumes trigger the aforementioned cell mutations.
As a result of the quick evaporation, not only the workers who directly use these chemicals, but also people who work in the surrounding area, like product vendors, office workers, and service managers, are greatly at risk for developing serious CML.
A 2003 medical study concluded that people who had been exposed to benzene fumes for more than fifteen years had over a 300 percent higher chance of developing chronic myeloid leukemia.
Given the complex diagnosis issues, along with aggressive treatments that include bone marrow and stem cell harvesting, leukemia treatment can easily exceed $47,000 in the first year alone. The ongoing mature of these treatments also mean substantial amounts of missed work, and many victims must seek extended unpaid leaves of absence to deal with the disease. The complications mentioned above can also mean thousands of dollars in additional direct and indirect losses.
Compensation is available for all these damages. Depending on the company’s level of culpability, additional punitive damages may be available as well.
To establish a claim for damages, victims need only establish a link between benzene exposure and their CML. That’s because makers of defective or unreasonably dangerous products are strictly liable for the damages that these products inflict.
To make the case before the jury, Napoli Law attorneys will partner with top expert scientists in the field who will use solid evidence to convince jurors that there is a reasonable link between benzene fumes and CML. Of course, corporate lawyers will do their utmost to deny this link, but our legal team is more than ready for a fight. In fact, our cases are so overwhelming that nearly all of them settle out of court.
Rely on Experienced Lawyers
Benzene fume-induced chronic myeloid leukemia affects thousands of people who may not even know that they have this dreaded disease. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. Our main office is conveniently located near Grand Central Terminal.