What To Do If You Develop Asthma Due to Chemical Exposure at Work
Like so many workplace conditions, the development of asthma can be difficult to get compensation for. As asthma can develop for a number of different reasons and not be work-related, many insurance companies will fight a claim that states that it was caused by their job. However, work conditions account for 15 percent of adults who develop asthma, and if the chemicals you are exposed to at your job caused asthma, you deserve worker’s compensation to cover it.
Chemicals that Cause Asthma
Naturally, some professions are more prone to develop asthma than others due to the particular chemicals that they must work around most days. The professions most at risk are construction workers, painters, carpenters, and other who work in the realm of building.
Anyone who works around asbestos, lead, benzene, pesticides, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, silica, paint, solvents, and many acids are all at risk. These chemicals can not only cause a number of respiratory conditions like mesothelioma or silicosis, but asthma can also be a condition that develops long before other more dramatic respiratory damage.
However, it is not just employees that develop asthma at their job who can seek coverage. Those who have asthma as a pre-consisting condition only to have it aggravated and worsened by exposure to chemicals, fumes, or even work conditions like working in extreme cold or excessive exertion may have a case to get their treatment covered.
Diagnosing Work-Related Asthma
If you are experiencing frequent coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightening when you exert yourself or when you are around chemicals at work, your first step should be to consult a physician. While these can be signs of other respiratory conditions, it will only take a few tests for the doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Unfortunately, work-related asthma is near indistinguishable from a natural onset of it.
However, there are a number of factors that can be confirmed by a doctor that your job is the cause or is at least causing your condition. If you work in an at risk profession and have frequent exposure to chemicals that are known irritants to the respiratory system, particularly if you are not wearing safety gear around them, the connection is easy to make.
You Have Work-Related Asthma, Now What?
If your diagnosis is confirmed, your next step should be to inform your superior of it and begin the process of filing for worker’s compensation. In many clear-cut cases, the process is fairly straight-forward, but so rarely are things clear-cut. In the filing process, you want to make sure you have a well-documented medical paper trail starting from the first symptoms to your diagnosis. You may want to consider visiting a respiratory specialist just to confirm that you do have asthma and it was caused or irritated by the presence of chemicals at your work.
Once you have begun the filing process, your next step is to contact a good worker’s compensation lawyer in your area. As asthma can manifest for some many other reasons than conditions at your job, you may often find that your claim is denied just from some small detail in your lifestyle. A good worker’s compensation attorney will be able to direct you in the appeals process as well as make sure that they insurance company is not giving you less than your work-related asthma entitles you to.
If you are in the Minneapolis area and have developed asthma as the result of your occupation, contact us today. The Meshbesher Law Firm are dedicated to making sure that Minnesota’s workers get the compensation they deserve for injuries and conditions that they develop on the job.