Does workers' compensation cover exposure to toxic chemicals in SC?
Out of all the ways that a person can be injured, sickened, or killed at their job, toxic chemical exposure may be one of the most frightening. Whether you are suddenly overcome by exposure to chemicals or slowly poisoned over time, your injuries are most likely covered by workers' compensation in SC.
You may also have a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the chemicals' manufacturer, distributor, or other third parties who caused the harmful exposure.
You may have a workers' compensation claim and/or a personal injury lawsuit following exposure to chemicals by:
- Physical contact with the chemicals;
- Ingestion of the chemicals;
- Breathing harmful chemicals;
- Explosions or other release of chemicals in gaseous form; or
- Chemical spills on the job.
When does workers' compensation cover exposure to toxic chemicals in SC? What are some of the more common injuries that are caused by chemical exposure in the workplace? Are there regulations to protect workers from chemical exposure?
Does Workers' Compensation Cover Exposure to Toxic Chemicals in SC?
In most cases, workers' compensation will cover the medical costs and disability caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. When are you covered, and are there any other possible sources of compensation?
When Does Workers' Compensation Cover Exposure to Toxic Chemicals?
If exposure to toxic chemicals on the job causes illness, injury, or death, workers' compensation will most likely cover the injury if:
- The exposure happened at the workplace;
- You were exposed to the chemicals during the course and scope of your employment; and
- You report the exposure to your employer.
It doesn't matter whose fault the exposure was. If you are exposed while on the job and you are injured as a result, workers' compensation will cover your injuries even if the exposure was due to your own negligence.
When Can I File a Lawsuit for Being Exposed to Toxic Chemicals?
In many cases, however, workers' compensation does not adequately cover the damages for sickness, injury, or deaths caused by chemical exposures. Workers' compensation does not provide compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages for gross negligence or intentional acts, or full compensation for lost wages caused by a resulting disability.
How can you get fully compensated following a chemical exposure on the job?
Depending on the facts of your case and the cause of your exposure to the chemicals, other third parties may also be liable for the damages caused. These could include the manufacturer of the chemicals, distributor of the chemicals, or another individual or third-party vendor who was responsible for the exposure.
When your SC workers' compensation lawyer at Axelrod and Associates investigates the incident, we will look for every possible source of recovery - including workers' compensation insurance through your employer and whether you have a personal injury lawsuit in addition to your workers' compensation claim.
What Types of Chemicals Result in Workplace Injury or Death?
There are hundreds of chemicals and hazardous materials that can be found in workplaces that can result in severe injury, illness, or death when a worker is exposed to them. You can find more information on specific toxic chemicals in the workplace on OSHA's website, including:
- Asphalt fumes;
- Diesel exhaust;
- Ethylene oxide;
- Hexavalent chromium;
- Hydrogen sulfide;
- Metals, toxic;
- Metalworking fluids;
- Methylene chloride;
- Silica, crystalline;
- Synthetic mineral fibers; and
What Types of Injuries are Caused by Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace?
Depending on the type of chemical, the degree of exposure, and the length of exposure, toxic chemicals can cause a wide range of illnesses or injuries, including:
- Central nervous system damage;
- Impaired hearing;
- Damage to internal organs;
- Damage to reproductive systems;
- Disfigurement; and
- Long-term disability.
In some cases, you may have a personal injury claim as well as a workers' compensation claim. For some types of injuries, such as mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos, there may be additional sources of compensation that you can access.
What Types of Jobs are More Likely to Result in Toxic Chemical Exposure?
Any job has the potential to result in exposure to toxic chemicals, but some jobs are clearly more hazardous than others. Jobs that are more likely to result in exposure to chemicals include:
- Farm workers;
- Automotive mechanics;
- Dry cleaning;
- Railroad workers;
- Dock workers; and
How Do I Avoid Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace?
Make it a point to know what chemicals or other hazardous substances are present in your workplace, what the risks are, and how to protect yourself on the job.
OSHA regulations require:
- Employers to inform workers about toxic chemicals in the workplace and what protective measures must be used;
- Chemical importers and manufacturers "to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;"
- Employers to label hazardous chemicals, provide safety data sheets to workers, and train workers to handle the chemicals safely; and
- Employers to identify and evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace, maintaining levels at or below OSHA's recommended levels.
Be aware of the dangers posed by toxic chemicals in the workplace - the consequences of unsafe exposure can be severe and permanent.
SC Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Myrtle Beach
Your Myrtle Beach workers' compensation attorney on the Axelrod team will help you to make your workers' comp claim for chemical exposure, but we will also investigate the causes of the exposure and determine whether you also have a personal injury lawsuit that may result in full compensation for your injuries.