Asbestos & Chemical Exposure
Workers exposed to asbestos and other toxic chemicals can suffer serious illness, including mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. Health problems resulting from asbestos exposure typically arise years after repeated, long-term exposure to the carcinogen. Workers’ compensation laws as well as other statutes that aim to protect workers have evolved to address the harm caused by chemical exposure. According to recent Illinois law, time limits that can prevent a workers’ compensation claim from moving forward will not necessarily prevent a worker from pursuing a civil suit against their employer. A knowledgeable Schaumburg and Wheaton workers’ compensation lawyer can help you seek to maximize your compensation so that you receive the benefits to which you are legally entitled.Asbestos and Chemical Exposure Leading to Illness and Disease
Asbestos continues to pose hazards for workers in Illinois, particularly those who perform work duties in older buildings and warehouses. Oil refineries and power plant workers are at particular risk for toxic chemical exposure which can lead to illness. Exposure to asbestos is caused by the accumulation of asbestos fibers in human tissue such as the digestive tract and respiratory system. The fibers cause damage to cells and ultimately, changes that can cause cancer. Asbestos-related disease may develop in as few as 10 years, and related cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma can take up to fifty years to develop.Illinois Workers’ Compensation for Employees Suffering From Asbestos or Chemical Exposure
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides benefits for workers diagnosed with illness or diseases caused by asbestos and chemical exposure at work. Following a medical diagnosis, employees can proceed with a workers’ compensation claim to recover lost wages and medical costs for treatment of asbestos-related illness. Those workers who suffer illness in the course and scope of employment are entitled to seek compensation, and will not be required to prove fault on the part of their employer.
Recent state law provides that in some situations, employees may sue employers in civil tort actions for injuries that have manifested more than 25 years after their occupational exposure. As an exclusive remedy for work-related illness or conditions, an employee pursuing a workers’ compensation claim typically cannot pursue an injury claim against their employer. However, this law reflects the reality that harm from chemical exposure may not be evident until the time period has passed for filing a workers’ compensation claim. An experienced job injury lawyer can help you assess whether you have a valid claim for relief.Types of Benefits Available Under Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers unable to perform job-related tasks due to a work injury or illness can seek workers’ compensation benefits. The specific benefits available depend on the severity of harm, and can range from temporary to permanent benefits. For example, employees that are permanently disabled may receive permanent partial disability or permanent total disability benefits. Permanent partial disability benefits would begin once the worker has reached maximum medical improvement from their condition, and is able to work. Permanent total disability benefits are available to those workers permanently unable to work, and continue for the duration of the injured worker’s life or until the disability ceases. If asbestos or chemical exposure has led to death, survivor benefits may be available. These help the deceased workers’ family by providing reimbursement for funeral and burial costs, as well as ongoing wage benefits.Pursuing a Third Party Claim for Illness Caused by Asbestos and Chemical Exposure
In addition to pursuing a civil claim against an employer if a workers’ compensation claim is time-barred, injured workers may be able to pursue third-party claims for relief. Manufacturers of products that contain asbestos and other toxic chemicals can be held legally responsible for harm associated with those products. Common allegations for asbestos exposure include premises liability, negligence, and intentional misconduct.Discuss Your Claim With a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg
Following toxic chemical exposure at work, you may be suffering devastating changes to your health and ability to remain gainfully employed. Speaking with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you to understand your rights and begin the process of securing compensation for your harm. At Therman Law Offices, we are prepared to fight for your legal rights. We help people in Schaumburg and Wheaton, and in other communities including Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park, Bartlett, Elgin, Wood Dale, Bensenville, Carol Stream, and Roselle. Our office can be reached by phone at 312-588-1900 or online.