Many jobs have occupational hazards. The people that work these jobs know that going into them. So, how can you sue your employer for an occupational-related health problem? What are some conditions that allow you to file such a lawsuit? Why should you sue? The answers to these questions follow.
It Does Not Matter What You Know or Do Not Know About Occupational Hazards
This may come as quite the surprise, but it does not matter what you know or do not know about the hazards involved in your line of work. What matters is what your employer knows, how he/she trains you for the job, and whether or not he/she follows OSHA protocols for your personal safety and protection. If your employer does not train you and provide you with personal protection equipment (PPE) so that you can safely do your job, you can sue when you are injured. Additionally, if there are long-term effects of your job, your employer is required to inform you and provide adequate protection. Not doing so is in violation of OSHA.
Your Health Problems Become Apparent Years Later
There are a number of health conditions that take time to develop. In fact, most cases where former employees sue their former employers over health issues occur years later.
The statute of limitations does not run out on cases that involve:
- Occupational Deafness (a loss of hearing from loud noises in the workplace and repetitive exposure to the noises)
- Occupational Stress (physical, mental, and emotional stress which later present themselves as heart failure, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and an inability to function daily)
- Peritoneal Mesothelioma (a cancer of the peritoneum, the lining of the abdomen)
- Asbestosis (exposure to asbestos that causes an incurable cancer)
- Silicosis (a disease caused by continuous inhalation of silicon dust that affects the lungs)
- Pneumoconiosis (also known as "miner's lung," the disease kills lung tissue, and eventually, the victim)
- Other work-related chest diseases that affect a person's quality of life and expected lifespan
- Toxic exposure, such as exposure to radiation, acids, gases like agent orange, etc.
There may be a few other unique conditions that fall under these guidelines. Be sure to ask your personal injury lawyer during your initial consultation.
Why You Should Sue
Health conditions are extremely expensive. Even if you have decent health coverage, the health insurance will not cover everything. You will need long-term healthcare, something which most insurance companies are not inclined to provide when they discover that you have a work-related health problem.
Some health insurance companies, as well as many life insurance companies, are not inclined to insure you if you have a health condition that is the direct cause of working for an employer. That means that you cannot support your family, or provide them with life insurance benefits after you are gone. You incur untold expenses for your health and your funeral arrangements all because of a work-related health condition.
You should also sue because a lawsuit holds employers responsible. Their actions, or lack thereof, led to your health condition. They could have done more to protect you and see to it that you did not become sick, deaf, blind, or otherwise incapacitated. Remember: you did not do this to yourself. Your current or previous employer did, and he/she should be held accountable.
Speak With a Lawyer as Soon as Your Condition Is Diagnosed
Granted, most of the above conditions may not appear until years after you have left an employer. However, you should still speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as your condition is diagnosed. You are owed compensation that will help provide for all future medical bills, medical equipment, therapy, etc.