What You Need to Know About Asbestos-related Diseases and Workers’ Compensation

Some professions such as firefighters, construction workers, painters, or shipyard workers are exposed to extremely high risks of developing occupational diseases. Besides their risk of injuries at the workplace, these people can develop severe lung-disease symptoms after constantly breathing asbestos fiber.

These diseases aren’t curable and often end fatally. Mesothelioma and asbestosis are the most common occupational illnesses for these professions and require long and expensive treatments that only ease the symptoms.

If you were diagnosed with some of the following illnesses, you may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim.

It’s best if you seek legal help from a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney before you take any steps.

What Is Asbestosis?

The scaring of the lung tissue that occurred because of extended exposure to high levels of asbestos dust is called asbestosis. The symptoms can develop even ten to twenty years after breathing this dust.

The symptoms of asbestosis include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory crackling
  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Heart problems
  • Misshaped nails, toes, or fingers
  • Discoloration of the skin due to lack of enough oxygen

There is no cure for asbestos, but the treatments may relieve the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Some treatments include the use of inhalers and breathing tanks, antibiotics and pain medicine, and oxygen therapy to drain the lung liquid.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the membranes in the lungs, chest cavity wall linings, and the abdomen, also known as pleura.

Just like asbestosis, this illness is caused by inhaling asbestos dust. It can result from inhaling low levels of asbestos dust over a long period.

It may take 30-40 years after the exposure for the symptoms to appear and they include the following:

  • Chest pain under the rib cage
  • Pain while coughing 
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Tissue lumps that can be felt under your chest or abdominal skin

There’s no treatment for this illness, but common cancer treatments like chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy may help remove the cancerous cells.

The scary thing is that these patients get a prognosis of 4-12 months (some patients may live much longer, even for decades with this disease).

What if You Breathe Asbestos?

If you happen to inhale asbestos frequently because of your job (which can be for months or years) you may be at risk of getting asbestos-related diseases. However, if it’s a one-time-only, you won’t have any serious illnesses.

Asbestos is a natural mineral that is flexible and soft and can resist corrosion, heat fibers, and electricity. If you inhale its dust, the fibers will stay trapped in your body. Ingestion can cause asbestos poisoning. The trapped fibers can cause inflammation, scarring, and genetic damage to your body over a long time. The result is an asbestos-related disease such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis.

Workers’ Compensation for Mesothelioma

Workers’ compensation laws cover all employees in the United States of America. These laws give employees access to compensation without filing a lawsuit against their employer. The compensation is paid out by state programs or private insurance. Most employers are expected to contribute to these.

Check if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation.

However, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other related diseases aren’t typical injuries, they’re considered an occupational illnesses.

If you file the claim and your workers’ compensation claim is accepted, you can collect the settlement to cover your medical expenses and lost wages.

To get the compensation you’ll have to meet specific eligibility requirements like being a direct employee instead of an independent contractor.

You might not be able to file a claim if you’re a domestic worker, seasonal worker, and agricultural worker.

Do You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

This is a serious illness that requires medical treatment such as surgeries, chemotherapy, and a lot of medicine. In many cases, the patients will die, which means their families may be left with serious financial issues. To cover the medical expenses, the lost wages, and other disease-related fees, you’ll have to get a suitable workers’ compensation claim

First of all, you’ll need an accurate diagnosis. Without it, you won’t have a high chance of getting your claim.

Afterward, you should contact a worker’s compensation attorney. Often people who suffer from these diseases aren’t capable to do all the legal work by themselves.

A professional will do all the needed work so you can get your deserved compensation claim.

Need our legal help? Call our offices and get a free case review.