Are You Eligible for Workers' Compensation for Asbestos Exposure?
Workers who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing several critical illnesses. The companies that are liable for their exposure are required to pay for these injuries. Find out what conditions you must meet in order to qualify for workers' compensation.
How is the workers' compensation procedure different from other types of claims?The workers' compensation system aims to support employees who suffer health injuries caused by asbestos exposure on the job. The difference in opting for workers' compensation is that you don't have to file a legal lawsuit. So, this is a method that doesn't rely on the traditional court system. Each state has its own compensation system for workers exposed to asbestos and a specific set of laws that regulate these types of claims.
Under these laws, the employer who caused the exposure must provide regular compensation to the victims to make up for the physical loss caused by the asbestos illness.
The exact sum you'll receive is tightly connected to how severe the impact of the illness is. The award you might get in case your claim is valid, covers the following:
- medical expenses related to your illness such as treatment and examination costs
- medical assistance and care
- loss of income including the possibility to assist employees in find a new job, if applicable
Worker compensation claims involve a direct employer; these requests are not aimed at other parties like product manufacturers.
Nevertheless, victims are also entitled to file a traditional lawsuit against these third parties.
What is the workflow in filing these claims?Like any other work-related injury, asbestos illnesses firstly require employees to notify their employer of the condition's existence. Then, it is important to verify the employer's insurance coverage. Normally, companies should have one that covers injuries incurred on the job. Asbestos claims will end up at this insurer after the victims fill in the necessary paperwork which is afterward submitted by the employer. At the same time, the request goes out to the local board office.
The compensation a claimant might get if their case is approved comes from governmental resources and those provided by private insurance companies. In several states, the amounts are covered solely by private entities.
It's important to keep in mind that these types of requests are also subject to specific time limits that might not apply to workers whose asbestos disease is discovered after a long latency period. Less severe illnesses like asbestosis are easier to be diagnosed within the established timeframe that would enable victims to apply for the workers' compensation.
However, the laws differ from state to state, and it is always easier to sort things out discussing with a lawyer who has significant experience in asbestos litigation.
What makes me eligible for compensation?Several eligibility criteria enable you to access the workers' compensation for asbestos-related diseases.
Firstly, you must be able to prove that you suffer from an illness caused by this toxic substance. The medical evidence that ascertains this fact is a diagnosis released by a certified specialist. Several types of illnesses can be traced back to asbestos exposure such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or various kinds of cancer.
The second major factor that entitles you to submit this request is your proof of exposure. This evidence must establish a direct connection between your illness and the period when you were employed by the company you hold responsible. Employment records, work documents that confirm you performed duties in an environment that contained asbestos and peers' testimonies can support your case.
The third important criteria that governs workers compensation refers to the insurance coverage; a carrier must cover the company who caused the exposure.
Who is not eligible for asbestos compensation?There are certain circumstances when people who suffer from work-related asbestos exposure do not qualify for the workers' compensation. This is usually the case of independent contractors.
Particular occupations might also exclude workers from this type of benefit. Moreover, small companies can also be free from this liability.
If you think you may not be eligible for the workers' compensation due to the reasons mentioned above, you could also contact the department of labor from your state. They will be able to provide a set of requirements that apply to your state.
Nonetheless, because the legal system is always an intricated labyrinth for the regular layperson, asking a lawyer with experience in occupational asbestos exposure to help you is the best option.