Have you acquired an illness due to toxic exposure at work? You may have questions about your future:
- Do toxic-exposure illnesses qualify for Workers' Comp?
- What if I'm too ill to ever return to work?
- What are the compensation options for asbestos exposure?
- Do I need a lawyer to help me?
Our experienced work injury lawyers can help you receive the full benefits you deserve.
At Monheit Law, we're prepared to help workers recover the compensation they need while recovering from an illness related to toxic exposure.
Workers employed in a variety of occupations are frequently exposed to a variety of toxic chemicals and substances on the job. It's of utmost important to provide proper safety instruction and protection against these hazards, but acquired illnesses still happen. Employees who suffer from occupational diseases due to exposure to hazardous substances deserve to be compensated when they can no longer fulfill their job duties.
According to the Workers' Compensation Act, any injury or illness which is directly related to job duties qualifies for benefits. This applies to everything from serious physical injuries incurred in sudden accidents to occupational diseases which have built up over a period of several years or decades. In any Workers' Compensation claim, the most important aspect is proving that your work conditions directly caused your injury or illness.
Proving An Illness Is Work-Related
When compiling paperwork for a Workers' Comp claim, it's extremely important to provide detailed medical evidence which proves a direct link between your illness or injury and your work environment. If you believe you are suffering from a work-related illness, you should meet with your doctor right away. He or she can give you a diagnosis, begin treatment, and give their expert opinion on whether or not your condition is work-related.
After meeting with a doctor, you should file an injury report with your employer and consider meeting with a work injury lawyer. This will begin the process of receiving benefits.
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Common Exposure-Related Illnesses And Conditions
The use of hazardous substances and chemicals in the workplace is more common than many people may realize. It doesn't take exposure to extremely dangerous chemicals in order to acquire an occupational illness. Some workers acquire such illnesses simply from being exposed to relatively harmless chemicals over long periods of time, such as professional cleaners.
Common health complications due to toxic exposure include:
- Respiratory illnesses such as asthma
- Mesothelioma and asbestosis
- Kidney damage
- Heart problems
- Skin conditions
There are alternate forms of compensation available for victims of mesothelioma or asbestos-related illnesses. Since the dangers of asbestos exposure are so well-known, many companies both current and defunct have set up victim's trust funds which assume liability and make payouts and settlements.
If your working conditions require you to work around chemicals or toxic substances and you've been dealing with any of the above conditions, you should meet with your doctor to see if your condition is work-related.
OSHA's Guidelines For Limiting Exposure
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines in place for protecting workers in environments with toxic substances and chemicals. If you believe your employer is in violation of these guidelines, you should consider filing a report with OSHA:
- Chemical manufacturers and importers should provide labels and safety data sheets outlining the hazards of chemicals they produce and import. Failure to provide this information could be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if an illness occurs.
- Employers must provide labels and safety data sheets to workers who are exposed to hazardous chemicals and train them in how to safely handle chemicals.
- Employers must measure respiratory hazards in their workplaces and make sure they haven't eclipsed any of OSHA's Occupational Exposure limits
How Can I Recover Full Compensation?
Attempting to prove that your illness is work-related on your own can be difficult. Your employer and their insurance carrier may argue that you acquired your disease through exposure to hazards outside of work.
However, having an experienced work injury lawyer in your corner greatly increases your chances of receiving coverage. A lawyer can deal with the insurance company on your behalf and shut down any attempts they may make to deny coverage.
Additionally, your lawyer can help you determine if you qualify for other forms of compensation, such as Social Security disability benefits. If an improperly labeled product caused your exposure-related illness, you may also have grounds for a personal injury claim.