Occupational Exposure Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri
Not everything you are exposed to in the course and scope of your employment is healthy for you. Although your employer is supposed to protect you from dangers that will harm you, it doesn’t always work that way. Diseases and injuries caused by occupational exposure are always a risk, whether you work in an office, factory, plant, farm, construction site, or somewhere else.
If you suffer an occupational exposure injury or disease, Missouri’s workers’ compensation program should cover it. That is not to say your employer and its insurance company won’t put up a fight, so be prepared to fight back by hiring an occupational exposure attorney to represent you.
At The Law Office of Steve Slough, we represent employees harmed by exposure to dangers in the workplace. If you live or are employed in St. Louis, Madison County, St. Charles County, or St. Louis County, Missouri, or in St. Clair County, Illinois, we should talk about compensation for your occupational exposure injury.
What Are Some Common Occupational Exposure Injuries?
Repetitive stress injuries, hearing and vision loss, and extreme temperatures are all types of occupational exposure injuries. Exposure to chemicals and toxins in a traumatic event or over time leads to many common exposure injuries. Unfortunately, they are not rare.
Fibers, dust, fumes, and chemicals can cause disease, injury, and even death. Black lung, cancer, mesothelioma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and damage done to the central nervous system have devastating results.
Some occupations are known for the danger of exposure injury. These include miners, farm workers, construction workers, welders, aerospace workers, firefighters, workers in flavoring plants, and those whose jobs require working with materials such as hemp, nylon, and flax.
White-collar employees are also at risk. Toxic mold, poorly-vented offices, and exposure to such hazards as diesel fumes can also cause occupational exposure injuries and disease.
How Might I Be Exposed to Chemicals and Toxins?
Chemical or toxic exposure in the workplace generally occurs in three ways:
You may inhale or breathe in fumes, fibers, or dust. These may affect your lungs, but they may also enter your bloodstream with the potential to affect every organ and tissue in your body. For example, someone whose job is to load and unload semi-trucks may inhale diesel fumes all day, every day.
Ingestion is another avenue of exposure to harmful gases and substances. Eating, drinking, or smoking when your hands have been exposed to contaminates or in areas where they are present poses an ingestion risk. You could also swallow a poison accidentally. For example, someone is spraying a pesticide and the wind blows droplets into their mouth.
Many exposure incidents occur via skin or tissue contact. A spray of blood from a patient infected with Hepatitis B into the face or eyes of a healthcare worker is one example, or using a cleaning product containing dangerous chemicals without wearing gloves or while wearing defective protective clothing could result in skin contact.
What Should I Know About Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Missouri?
The workers’ compensation process in Missouri begins with reporting your injury to your employer. In the case of occupational exposure, you should get a diagnosis from your doctor, then report that diagnosis to your employer. This could occur by filing an injury report through your supervisor or the human resources department. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer should open a claim and you should begin receiving treatment for your injuries and compensation while you are unable to work.
Of course, your employer and its insurer can deny your claim. They can allege you were not exposed to the hazard at work and refuse to pay for treatment or compensate you. Even if they acknowledge your injury as work-related exposure, you will gain from the guidance of a workers’ compensation attorney who knows what benefits you are entitled to receive and will push for full compensation.
Recognize that occupational exposure injuries and diseases can cause permanent disability and lead to death. That makes them substantial claims against your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Getting a diagnosis that names the workplace exposure as the prevailing factor for your injury is critical.
You also need to adhere to filing deadlines or you may forfeit your right to compensation. You must report your diagnosis to your employer within 30 days of receiving it. If you believe your employer and its insurer are not providing fair compensation and treatment, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with the Missouri Department of Labor. You have two years from the date of diagnosis to file.
Among the benefits you may receive from workers’ compensation are temporary or permanent disability compensation, payment of medical treatment, and partial pay while you are unable to work due to your exposure injury.
Occupational Exposure Attorney Serving St. Louis, Missouri
You can see why chemical and toxic occupational exposure injuries can be deadly. The price you pay for exposure in a second or over time is enormous, so don’t pursue your workers’ compensation claim without having an occupational injury attorney on your side. Case consultations are free, so don’t delay. Contact The Law Office of Steve Slough in St. Louis, Missouri, today.