The first thing that comes to mind when many people hear the phrase “workers’ compensation” is a single incident at work that resulted in a traumatic injury. For example, a contractor who broke his arm after falling off of a ladder at work would certainly be entitled to workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is not just for visible injuries, though, and it is not just for injuries that result from a single accident. In some jobs, the biggest risks to workers’ health are chronic exposure to harmful chemicals at work. Missouri law recognizes certain diseases that are clearly linked to special occupational hazards and guarantees people who contracted these diseases because of their work the right to workers’ compensation benefits in excess of the limits specified for workers’ compensation payments for ordinary work accident injuries. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you recover payments to which you are entitled if you have been diagnosed with one of the diseases designated for special additional compensation under Missouri law.
Diseases Caused by Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
Missouri law recognizes 11 diseases singled out for additional workers’ compensation payments. Workers who have been permanently disabled by these diseases are entitled to additional benefits, as are the families of workers who have died from these diseases. Here are some of the most notable ones.
- Mesothelioma – Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by long-term exposure to asbestos. It affects the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that surrounds the organs and lines the chest wall and the abdominal wall. The earliest symptoms of mesothelioma are usually tiredness and shortness of breath. Mesothelioma has a five-year survival rate of less than 10 percent.
- Asbestosis – Asbestosis is another disease caused by asbestos exposure. It is not a type of cancer, but rather a scarring of the lungs. Asbestosis currently has no cure, and many patients require oxygen therapy.
- Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis – This disease is caused by long-term inhalation of coal dust and is commonly known as “black lung disease.” It causes inflammation and, in the worst cases, even necrosis, of the lungs. Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis is a severe form of the effects of long-term exposure to coal dust; many coal workers suffer from chronic bronchitis before their condition worsens into coal worker’s pneumoconiosis.
Additional Benefits for Workers with Toxic Exposure-Related Diseases
Workers diagnosed with mesothelioma are entitled to 212 weeks of compensation at three times the state average weekly wage. Workers with the other diseases on the list can get twice the state average weekly wage for 100 weeks. When those weeks have elapsed, the worker can continue to receive permanent total disability payments, or the worker’s family can continue to receive death benefits.
Contact Walton Telken, LLC About Workers’ Compensation Cases
If you have been diagnosed with one of the 11 diseases recognized by Missouri law as resulting from toxic exposure in the workplace, you may be entitled to the workers’ compensation benefits designated for workers with these diseases. Contact Walton Telken, LLC to find out if you have grounds for a lawsuit.
The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.
Troy Walton is a Personal Injury Lawyer who practices in Edwardsville, IL and St. Louis, MO. He graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law, and has been practicing law for several years now. Troy Walton believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.