Lawsuit on occupational risk, workers’ compensation

Occupational hazard cases are the main problem for any company of any size, and for the personal safety of all concerned, employers are required by law to take out workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. The cost of this insurance will vary depending on the size of the company, the level of risk for the employees on a daily basis, and any previous accident history of the company. Employers can purchase the insurance directly through the government, by using a licensed insurance agency, or by setting up a fund to pay any claims made by workers themselves.


The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide medical expenses and income for workers who are injured due to hazardous conditions on the job, and to offset legal costs if there is a dispute. If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, or if they file fraudulent paperwork to avoid paying higher premiums, the result can be disastrous for the business. A worker can sue to get the full cost of medical treatment including pain and suffering, and the employer can be forced to pay higher premiums when they finally get insurance.


If an employee feels that their current illness or injury was caused by an occupational hazard, they should contact an attorney. An attorney will have knowledge of state-specific workers’ compensation laws and will be able to outline what options are available to settle the case. Obtaining benefits from workers’ compensation policies is not always easy, and the employee may be required to provide substantial evidence that the illness or injury in question was not caused by outside influences.

Illness is probably the most difficult to collect workers compensation from as it can take years for symptoms to develop. In an attempt to save the company money, an employer, working in conjunction with their insurance company, may flatly deny that the injury or illness is the result of hazardous working conditions. An insurance company denial letter for a claim can lead to denial of medical care and it is crucial to consult an attorney long before this situation occurs and you run out of money to pay for benefits.

In general, unionized workers are the most likely group to need workers’ compensation protection because of the hazardous conditions found at many of their jobs. Examples of unionized workers include carpenters, welders, bricklayers, and ironworkers. In any of these jobs, there is the potential for exposure to toxic gases, asbestos, defective materials, debilitating breaks and strains caused by a fall, and even death.


In an effort to protect workers in these hazardous occupations, OSHA sets exposure limits for toxic substances, including noise pollution in the workplace. OSHA is a government agency that also regulates safety measures that must be followed to comply with their standards, and failure to comply can result in heavy fines. Office workers can also be affected by hazardous conditions in the workplace, such as asbestos, carpal tunnel syndrome, mold, and strains caused by moving boxes or office equipment.


The case for an occupational hazard case can be strengthened if the employee can prove that the employer knew of the risks associated with the job and did nothing to inform workers of the danger. Gross negligence can be extremely difficult to prove and often requires extensive evidence that the employer committed an intentional act against you. Depending on the type of insurance an employer purchases for their business, there may be different eligibility requirements to obtain workers’ compensation coverage, and there is often a time frame in which employees must report an incident to be considered for coverage.


Several years ago, two former employees of IBM filed an occupational hazard lawsuit against the company. The employees claimed they developed cancer from the chemicals used at IBM to create process chips. They also claimed that IBM was aware of the potential risk associated with the use of the particular chemical and neglected to inform all employees of related risks.

It can take many years for symptoms of cancer to appear, and with many air pollutants now labeled carcinogenic (cancer-causing), it is increasingly difficult to hold companies accountable for disease. Other former employees tried to sue the computer company, claiming they too had developed cancer from chemicals at the plant, and some had children born with birth defects as a result of toxic exposure. IBM won the lawsuits when the workers could not trace the cancer to the specific chemical used in the factory, and many of the lawsuits were filed years after the guidelines of the company’s workers’ compensation policy.

Unlike illness, which can take years to develop, injuries are usually very sudden and it is easier to pinpoint the cause of such an accident. Let’s assume you work in a machine shop where metal drills are manufactured. The noise level is above the threshold limit set by OSHA and your employer has been advised that all employees must wear ear protection. Your employer decides to ignore these recommendations and you lose your hearing working next to the loud machines. The cause of the injury is easily identifiable, and if the employer denies workers compensation, you have grounds for an occupational hazard case.

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