West Palm Beach Occupational Disease Lawyer
When one thinks of an on the job injury, most people typically think of sudden, unexpected accidents such as a fall from a ladder, an explosion or a malfunctioning piece of machinery. But work-related injuries can also occur slowly, over time. Occupational diseases contracted at work due to toxic exposure or sick building syndrome are covered under Florida Workers’ Compensation law, but these claims are more difficult to prove and are often challenged by employers and their workers’ comp insurance carriers. At Nicole Hessen, P.A., our West Palm Beach occupational disease lawyers combine over four decades of experience in Florida workers’ compensation to help injured workers recover much-needed compensation when they have been injured or disabled by an occupational disease.
Toxic Exposure Occurs in a Variety of Industries and Occupations
Some people must work with or around chemicals as part of their job. These workers should be provided with training and given the proper equipment and gear to do their job safely. Countless others do not work with dangerous substances directly but may nevertheless be unintentionally or unknowingly exposed. Employers who utilize toxic substances are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to try less dangerous alternatives first. If hazardous substances must be used, employees should be rotated frequently to lessen the effects of exposure. Other necessary safety measures may include maintaining well-ventilated workspaces and providing workers with whatever levels of breathing and skin protection are called for.
Some of the industries and occupations where workers are most at risk of toxic exposure include:
- Oil and gas refineries
- Construction (demolition)
- Dry cleaning
Sick Building Syndrome Affects Office Workers Statewide
Office workers in any occupation can become sickened on the job due to numerous conditions known collectively as sick building syndrome. Some of the many ways in which workers in a building may become sick due to their environment include the following:
- Toxic mold is present in the building, whether in the walls, carpet or ventilation system
- Hazardous cleaning products are used or painting is performed without proper ventilation
- Unsafe building materials are used such as drywall treated with toxic chemicals
- The building’s HVAC system is dirty with fungus, mold, dust or other harmful allergens and contaminants
Occupational disease typically develops over long periods of time, so it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of disease and where or when it occurred. Employers and their insurers count on this ambiguity to deny that their workplace is the cause of the illness. Like repetitive trauma injuries, in occupational disease cases the employee can be required to provide clear and convincing evidence that exposure to a certain level of a specific substance in the workplace caused the illness. This is a higher standard than is required to prove other types of workplace injuries that occur due to falls or other sudden and unexpected events.
The attorneys at Nicole Hessen, P.A. have decades of experience representing injured workers and understand the challenges in obtaining benefits for workers injured by occupational disease. We obtain the medical evidence necessary to prove exposure, causation and other legal and factual issues in your claim. We fight to get every penny for injured workers, despite the additional hurdles put in the way by employers, insurers and Florida workers’ compensation law.
Get the Benefits You Need after Falling Victim to an Occupational Disease
For a free consultation regarding your Florida workers’ compensation claim, contact Nicole Hessen, P.A. at 561-246-6666 to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced West Palm Beach attorney for injured workers only.