Pursuing a Lung Disease Workers’ Compensation Claim
A healthy respiratory system is critical for a person’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, those working in certain industries often develop lung and respiratory diseases as a direct result of their work and work environment.
If you develop lung disease or respiratory issues on the job in Louisiana, you need to file a workers’ compensation claim. In this blog, we discuss factors and symptoms of lung disease as well as filing a Louisiana workers’ compensation claim.
Causes of Lung Disease in the Workplace
When workers are exposed to certain hazardous substances, they can develop lung and respiratory issues. Some common workplace hazards that contribute to lung disease and respiratory issues include:
- Mineral Dust: Mineral dust can cause lung scarring and pneumococcus. Some types of mineral dust include asbestos, beryllium coal, heavy metals, silica, and talc.
- Gases: Dangerous gases can cause a variety of lung and respiratory issues. Workplace gases can include ammonia, cadmium, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, mercury, nitrogen oxide, ozone, phosgene, sulfur dioxide, and vanadium pentoxide.
- Air Pollutants: Pollutants in the air can cause or worsen airway and lung diseases. Pollutants include ammonia, arsenic, chromium, cotton dust, nitrogen oxides, phosgene, and toluene diisocyanate.
When working with lung and respiratory hazards, there are three main factors determining the severity of your exposure. These factors are the amount of hazardous dust, gases, and pollutants in the air, the amount of time in which you were exposed, and the frequency in which you were exposed.
Many different occupations come with the risk of developing lung disease and respiratory issues. Some of the work processes that can contribute to a hazardous work environment include:
- Acid treatments
- Blending substances that can create air pollutants
Respiratory issues can also result from trauma to your throat. For example, if you hit your throat in a workplace accident, you could develop severe respiratory problems.
Types of Work-Related Lung Disease and Respiratory Problems
Hazardous work environments can result in many different types of lung disease and respiratory problems including:
- Asthma: Develops when airways swell and become more narrow
- Bronchiectasis: Develops when the bronchi in the lungs widen and are permanently damaged
- Bronchitis: Occurs when the bronchial tubes become inflamed
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases: Diseases that relate to the blockage of airflow resulting in breathing problems. They can be caused by smoking, infections, and air pollutants, including radon and asbestos
- Fibrosis: Fibrosis occurs when your body develops fibrous connective tissue in order to repair lung damage
- Lung cancer: Some types of lung cancers include adenocarcinoma, mesothelioma, large cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma
- Pneumonia: Lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi
Symptoms of Lung Disease and Respiratory Problems
Symptoms indicating that you may have developed lung disease or respiratory issues include chest pain, trouble breathing, hypoxia, and chest pains. You may experience additional symptoms depending on the type of disease or respiratory issue that you develop. Some symptoms of specific issues include:
- Asthma: Wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and coughing
- Bronchiectasis: Coughing yellow or green mucus, fatigue, fever, chills, wheezing, and coughing blood
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases: Shortness of breath, chest tightness, swelling in legs, ankles, and feet, weight loss, and fatigue
- Fibrosis: Shortness of breath, fast and shallow breathing, aching muscles and joints, toe and finger clubbing, and fatigue
- Lung cancer: Coughing blood, weight loss, chronic fatigue, wheezing, chest pain, and chronic coughing
- Pneumonia: Coughing, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, stabbing chest pain, and shallow breathing
Receiving Workers’ Compensation for Lung Disease in Louisiana
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that employers obtain in order to cover the medical expenses and lost wages of injured employees. If you develop lung disease or other respiratory issues as a direct result of your work environment, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation. You may also be able to recover compensation if your work environment worsened your existing respiratory issues. For example, if you already suffer from asthma and your asthma was made worse by your work environment, you could receive workers’ compensation for your treatment.
Unfortunately, injured and ill employees frequently have difficulty recovering the full workers’ compensation they need from their employer’s insurance company. Insurance companies will try to make the case that your work environment did not directly cause or worsen your respiratory condition. They may attempt to blame your affliction on your smoking, pets, or poor ventilation at home.
In order to prove your workers’ compensation claim, you need to provide evidence that your work or work environment directly caused or worsened your condition. You can provide evidence indicating that your workplace contained hazardous pollutants and that the pollutants resulted in lung disease or respiratory problems.
Contact a Louisiana Lung Disease Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’re struggling to receive the workers’ compensation you deserve for lung disease or a respiratory condition, you need to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer. For a Louisiana lung disease workers’ compensation lawyer, contact the attorneys at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC. We offer free case evaluations to help you determine your legal options moving forward with your workers’ compensation case. Call our New Orleans office at 504-788-2994.