Collecting Workers Compensation for Cancer Caused by the Workplace –
An injury or illness does not have to be caused by an “accident” to be covered by workers compensation. An employee can also be compensated for illnesses or diseases that are the gradual result of work conditions, including heart conditions, lung disease, cancer and other conditions resulting from workplace exposure to chemicals or other toxins.
This type of injury is referred to as an “occupational disease”. For example, a worker who is exposed to asbestos on the job may develop a type of cancer called mesothelioma. The employee would be eligible for Workers Compensation because the illness was directly caused by exposure to asbestos at work.
Some cases of occupationally caused cancer are very easy to prove. As in the previous example, it is well documented that asbestos exposure directly results in mesothelioma – and workers compensation is readily awarded for asbestosis or mesothelioma. However, many other cancers that result from exposure to “carcinogens” (cancer causing toxins) may be harder to “prove” as being caused by the workplace environment.
Cancer Must be Direct Result of Work in Workers Comp Cases
In order to collect workers compensation for cancer, the applicant must prove that the cancer directly resulted from the performance of required work-related duties.
Sadly, it may be difficult to “prove” that a workplace environment caused the cancer, because cancer develops over a long period of time. The cancer caused by workplace toxins may not develop or become symptomatic until months or even years after the initial exposure – so it can be hard to trace the cause of the cancer back to exposure to chemicals at work.
There often are also factors that the Workers Compensation board will use “against” the acceptance of a claim for cancer: family history, smoking, fair skin (in skin cancer), etc. The employee must be able to prove that workplace exposure was the “predominant cause” of the cancer.
Proving Cause of Cancer in Workers Comp Cases
Here are some steps that you and your lawyer can take to “prove” that the cancer was a direct result of workplace exposure to toxins.
- Try to determine if other employees who worked with you under the same work conditions developed the same type of cancer. When a number of employees in the same location (or same industry) develop the same cancer, this can be “proof” that the cancer is work-related.
- Search the Internet for “recalls” of the product(s) (i.e. toxins) to which you were exposed. If a product has been recalled because it is carcinogenic, you have excellent “proof”.
- Search the Internet for changes to the law relating to the toxin or chemical. For instance, if a substance you worked with has been “banned” (made illegal) because it is known to cause cancer, this can be important evidence that the exposure caused your cancer.
- Find a qualified physician who is willing to document the cause of your injuries. Having a doctor make a medical determination as to the connection between the workplace exposure and the cancer is extremely important in “proving” you case.
While “causation” may be difficult to “prove” in workplace cancer cases, our experienced lawyers have handled numerous cases where employees did receive the workers’ compensation they deserve for cancer caused by exposure to toxins in the workplace. An experienced lawyer knows how to effectively submit the proof of causation needed to obtain the maximum benefits in a workers’ compensation case involving cancer.
Types of Cancer in Workers Compensation Cases Orange County Lawyers
Below are just a few of the situations where employees have successfully collected workers’ compensation benefits for cancer caused by workplace exposure to toxins:
- Skin cancer in outdoor workers, including landscapers and construction workers.
- Lung cancer in firefighters due to smoke inhalation.
- Cancer caused by Toluene exposure in automotive workers.
- Cancer in miners caused by Arsenic exposure.
- Leukemia caused by Formaldehyde exposure in furniture workers.
- Lung cancer resulting from Radon exposure in miners & underground workers.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma caused by Dioxin or TDD exposure in waste incineration employees.
- Liver cancer caused by exposure to Vinyl Chloride when making PVC pipes.
- Lung cancer caused by Chromium Hexavalent compounds used in welding.
- And many, many more.
Our Orange County Workers Compensation Lawyers Helpy
If you have been disabled and you live in Orange County, the greater Los Angeles area or anywhere in Southern California, we offer a free consultation with an experienced California Workers Compensation lawyer to help you understand your rights and obtain the maximum workers’ compensation or disability benefits. No matter what stage of the process you are in, we are here to offer you free advice and assist you in getting the maximum benefits for which you qualify.