Benzene Injury Law

Benzene Injury Law Blog

Factors Affecting Your Benzene Leukemia Settlement

If you’ve been diagnosed with leukemia following benzene exposures, it might seem straightforward that you would be entitled to a benzene settlement. Unfortunately, there are many hurdles to overcome in order to establish a viable benzene claim. Here are a number of factors that often play a part in determining leukemia settlement amounts.

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    Type of Illness

    Benzene has been a known carcinogen since before World War II. The diseases most strongly related to benzene exposures are blood and bone cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), and multiple myeloma (MM). We presently do not bring benzene claims for other forms of cancer.


    While benzene can be found in just about any petroleum-based product, most of our clients worked in certain industries, trades, or crafts that were notorious for benzene exposures. We primarily represent petroleum workers, mechanics, gasoline truck drivers, maritime workers, pressmen and other tradesmen who regularly worked with benzene-containing products.

    Product Identification

    It isn’t enough for the daughter of a deceased mechanic to tell us that her dad worked with brake and carb cleaners. In order to have a valid benzene claim, we need to know the name brands of the products. This allows us to identify the manufacturer of that particular product during the era it was used by the sickened worker. We identify the products via the plaintiff’s testimony, the testimony of co-workers and via paper records and receipts. In most cases, you cannot obtain a leukemia settlement without this testimony. Benzene cases are only as strong as the product ID testimony and evidence.

    Statute of Limitations

    The law requires you to bring a lawsuit within a set period of time from your diagnosis. Typically, this is within two years of diagnosis, but it can vary by jurisdiction and type of claim. While there are exceptions to the limitations periods, the timeliness of the claim is always one of the first hurdles that we evaluate.

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    Exposure Years and Latency

    The era in which a plaintiff used these products is another significant factor affecting your case. The benzene content in many products changed over the years. For example, most benzene was removed from paints in the early 1970s, but benzene was still being added to some paint thinners into the late 1970s. Even a common product like Liquid Wrench contained at least 4% benzene in 1978. Brake, carb, and parts cleaners used by mechanics contained toxic levels of benzene into the 1980s. Finally, gasoline and raw petroleum still contain unsafe levels of benzene today. In short, we have to ensure that benzene was in the products at the time they were used by the sickened worker.

    Latency describes the time frame between the benzene exposure and the leukemia diagnosis. The latency period in most of our cases is well over ten years from the date of first exposure. We represent many tradesmen recently diagnosed with AML or MDS stemming from benzene exposures that occurred back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

    Jurisdiction Where Exposures Occurred

    For a variety of reasons, benzene claims that originate in states like California, New York, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois or Washington work better than claims in other states. Some states have laws on the books which make benzene claims unrealistic. The jurisdiction where the exposures occurred often plays a very big part in our evaluation of the case.

    These are some of the primary factors that can affect a settlement related to your benzene exposures. You can visit our verdict and settlement page to view some results for benzene claims. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a bone or blood cancer and worked with benzene-containing products, call 1-800-BENZENE today and speak directly to an attorney at no cost or obligation.

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