Occupational Disease claims involve injuries that occur at work and fall into a subcategory of Workers’ Compensation claims with special rules that apply. These claims cover injuries involving occupational lung disease and/or cancer, such as:
- Asbestosis (lung disease)
- Mesothelioma (lung cancer), both directly related to breathing asbestos fibers
- Silicosis (disease from inhaling silica dust)
- Pnemoconiosis (black lung disease) commonly affecting coal miners who inhaled coal dust
- Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome or RADS (irritant asthma) caused by irritant inflammation of airways
Occupational disease may also include injuries involving the brain, such as:
- Solvent-induced neuropathy (brain damage from exposure to benzene, formaldehyde and other industrial chemical vapors)
Our firm is well-versed in the specific criteria required under Workers’ Compensation laws to prove that exposure was work-related. Workers’ compensation provides minimal income compensation and limited medical treatment as a safety net for injured employees. The federal workers’ compensation law provides more benefits than the state workers’ compensation system. The federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) applies to workers who were injured at the port or on ships at the docks. In some circumstances, a worker can file both state and longshore claims.
CASE STUDY 1:
Client: Male, 35 years old
Location: Savannah, GA
Injury: Brain injury, toxic exposure
Facts: A polyurethane insulation worker sprayed foam as part of his regular course of work on commercial structures. He used chemical solvents daily. Years after his greatest exposure, his mental lapses worsened to the point that he was having great difficulty performing his job and was forced to keep a notebook as a substitute for his lost memory.
Our investigation into the chemicals, particularly the solvents, that he was exposed to during his work revealed these chemicals were neurotoxic. Testing by a neurotoxicologist determined that our client had suffered brain injury that was consistent with chemical solvent exposure.
Result: Our legal team filed suit against the product manufacturer of the solvents and neurotoxic materials. The case was filed out of state due to restrictions of Georgia law and settled during trial.
CASE STUDY 2:
Client: Male, 39 years old
Location: Rome, GA
Injury: Reactive airways (irritant asthma)
Facts: An ironworker installs piping and railings as part of his regular course of work on commercial structures. He had worked as an ironworker for 10 years and never had a chronic breathing problem. His only respiratory problems had been acute seasonal sinus congestion or colds. This industrial worker was exposed to a combination of chemicals generated by a subcontractor at the worksite. When he become short of breathe he went to the hospital where he was treated with steroids to open his airways.
Our investigation into the exposure, showed that his irritant-induced asthma was consistent with his occupational exposure to pulmonary irritants. Testing determined that the worker suffered Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS). He became permanently disabled.
Result: Our legal team filed suit against the subcontractor. The case was filed with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation and resolution currently being finalized.