Can I Get Workers Comp for COPD?
Yes, if you or a loved one is unable to work due to advanced COPD, you can collect Workers Comp benefits – if the COPD was the result of your employment.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – usually called COPD – actually refers to a group of diseases that result in a limitation of airflow – making it difficult to breathe. Unfortunately COPD cannot be reversed – although new treatments are being developed every year. The performance of certain work duties, or chemical exposure in the workplace, can all lead to COPD – which may qualify your for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Proving COPD is Work Related for Workers’ Comp
COPD typically develops slowly – over a period of years. It may even be many years before a worker starts to experience any of the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. For this reason it can sometimes be hard to “prove” that the COPD was caused by the course of a workers’ employment.
Exposure in the workplace to dust, fumes, paint, cleaning solvents, or occupational pollutants – such as cadmium, asbestos or silica, lead, benzene, beryllium, or mercury – may be what has caused your COPD.
Your Workers’ Comp has nothing to do with “fault”. You only have to prove that you were exposed to a hazardous chemical or substance on the job and that, as a result of that exposure, you developed COPD. This could be the result of direct exposure, accidental exposure, a failure to warn you of the dangers of exposure, or even the result of defective or inadequate protective equipment.
But even though you know that your occupation caused your COPD, the Workers Comp Insurer may try to deny that the COPD is work related. They may try to claim that the COPD was due to smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke, previous employment, or even home conditions such as a fireplace or automotive exhaust.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Workers Comp for COPD?
As you can see, proving that your COPD was caused by your job can be difficult and even exhausting – especially when the Insurance Company is fighting you tooth and nail. An experienced Workers Comp lawyer can knows how to handle problematic Insurers, and how to submit your medical records and documentation, to get your Workers Comp claim approved.
Also, keep in mind, that under certain circumstances you may be able to file a separate personal injury lawsuit for your COPD against a “third party” other than the employer. This will depending upon where the damaging chemicals came from, who controlled the job site where the exposure occurred, what warnings were provided and even what safety equipment was used.
An experienced Workers Comp lawyer can evaluate your case and explain all of your legal options – including whether you may also have a “third party” case. CAll our Long Beach Workers Comp lawyers today for a free consultation.
Long Beach Workers Comp Lawyers: 562-622-4800