We live in a world where, as unfortunate as it is, toxic chemicals are a fact of everyday life. Whether it’s the cleaning products you use in your home or the plastic in storage bins, dangers are everywhere. For people that work in certain industries, the risk is even greater, putting them at daily risk for serious illness and toxic exposure.
What happens when you are exposed to these poisons in the workplace? Do you have legal recourse to recover compensation for the damages that result? Learn what you should know about chemical exposure in the workplace, its dangers and when a solid workers’ compensation attorney can help your case.
Toxic Chemicals and Federal Law
While once upon a time, chemicals were used without regulation—consider the widespread use of asbestos all the way up into the 1970’s. Today, federal laws exist to limit workers’ exposure to chemicals in the workplace. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, in fact, exists specifically to protect and set standards for workplace safety. These include not just limiting chemicals but providing proper education and training for management and workers.
Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation is another important protection against injury in the workplace. This is a no-fault insurance system that almost every employer carries. If you’re hurt or get sick on the job, regardless of fault or reason, this insurance is in place to cover your medical bills and part of your lost wages. This includes illnesses that result from exposure to chemicals.
There may also be other laws that attach to exposure claims which can open doors to greater compensation. These include product liability laws which are designed to defend consumers against dangerous products. If there is a safety issue related to the manufacture of a chemical, product liability could come into play.
Proving Chemical Injury
The trickiest part of a chemical injury claim is proof. It can be very tricky to determine for sure that a specific chemical exposure was responsible for the illness or injury you suffered. That’s why it’s important if you think you’ve been exposed to toxic chemicals at work, that you let your employer know right away. This can help to back up your claims later, as well as giving your supervisor a chance to remedy the problem to protect others. You can also ask for the material safety data sheet for the chemical to assess potential risks.
Pursuing a Claim with a Workers’ Comp Attorney
It’s not uncommon for workers’ compensation claims to be refused the first time out, especially if it’s something hard to prove like chemical exposure. That’s why it’s important for those suffering from chemical-related illnesses to reach out for help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Insurance companies will try many tactics to avoid paying claims. The right lawyer can help you fight back and get you the award you need and to which you’re entitled under the law.
If you’re in West Texas and you were exposed to harmful chemicals at work, contact Braker White for a free consultation today.