Although asbestos use in manufacturing, construction, and mechanical industries has declined in recent years, it is still prevalent on many jobsites around the country. Workers who must handle asbestos may breathe in the fine fibers of this hazardous mineral, even when using proper safety equipment, and develop a unique form of lung cancer called mesothelioma. One of the reasons mesothelioma is so dangerous is due to the fact that it can be difficult to detect and it may not start causing noticeable symptoms until years later. In such a situation, can an employee still file for workers’ compensation benefits? Is mesothelioma ever covered by workers’ comp?
As early as 1930, workers have been filing for benefits due to lung-related illnesses and conditions. While this means that you can be covered for mesothelioma, it does not guarantee that you will. Historically, employers have resisted mesothelioma claims pretty adamantly, either by claiming to have provided enough protective gear that they should be free of liability, or by claiming that a person’s symptoms are unrelated. Since asbestos can take years to build up in the lungs and cause cancerous growths, employers have pointed to the extended timeline and stated they are not responsible.
Strengthening Your Claim and Case
There are two important things you should know if you have developed symptoms of mesothelioma but have not been exposed to asbestos at work for some time. Firstly, illnesses cited in workers’ compensation filings are based on a “rule of discovery”, which states that the window of opportunity to file a claim begins when the condition is discovered, or should have been discovered, not necessary when it began. For example: You work for a construction company that uses asbestos insulation on a daily basis. Several years later, your doctor diagnoses you with mesothelioma. You will still be able to file a claim, even though you were first exposed to asbestos many years ago.
Secondly, you will want to get an attorney’s assistance as soon as you can. With a workers’ comp lawyer on your side, your employer will understand the seriousness of your claim and be less likely to try to resist it. If they do, you will already be ready to challenge the denial with a professional’s help. A lawyer can also help you seek compensation even after you have quit from the job that exposed you to asbestos and led to your mesothelioma.
For help in California, contact Kaiser Gornick, LLP. Our San Francisco mesothelioma lawsuit attorneys have more than 60 years of combined legal experience, mainly focused on mesothelioma and workers’ compensation cases. Get your free consultation today to start discovering your legal options.