Pursuing A Workers Comp Claim For Work-Related Lung Disease And Respiratory Injury


Lung disease is one of the most conditions that entitle you to receive workers compensation benefits in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California. Indeed, our lungs and the respiratory system as a whole are vital for our overall health.

In certain work environments, workers expose themselves to respiratory injuries and lung diseases, the consequences of which can not only negatively affect the workers ability to work and enjoy his or her daily activities, but may also lead to death.

“In my opinion, people do not pay enough attention to how certain work environment can cause respiratory injuries and how you might be entitled to receive workers comp benefits for your work-related injury,” says our Los Angeles on the job injury attorney at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach.

Can you receive workers comp benefits for lung problems?

Your lungs are located in the chest as part of the respiratory system. Their primary function is to supply the body and the brain with oxygen. Without oxygen, the cells in your body will not be able to function properly and will eventually die. But let’s skip the human anatomy class, and get straight to the point: How do you seek workers compensation benefits if your respiratory system has been damaged by work-related conditions or environment?

We brought our experience on the job injury lawyer in Los Angeles to answer this question. Depending on your work environment and occupation, you can be in contact with a wide range of substances and materials that cause respiratory injuries and lung problems.

Causes of lung disease at work

Exposure, daily or otherwise, to the following substances and materials in the workplace may entitle you to seek workers comp benefits if you have suffered a work-related injury:

  • Dust
  • Gases
  • Dust and Gases
  • Dust and Fumes
  • Gas and Fumes
  • Vapors

Contrary to the popular belief, respiratory injuries can also be caused by trauma, especially as a result of a blow to the throat (for example, in a slip and fall or car accident).

Symptoms of lung problems caused by work environments

Some of the most common symptoms of lung problems and lung disease are difficulty breathing, chest pain, abnormal breathing patterns, hypoxia, and others. More often than not, applicants seeking workers comp benefits for work-related lung diseases get their applications approved on the basis of being diagnosed with:

  1. Asthma;
  2. Bronchitis;
  3. Pneumonia;
  4. Fibrosis;
  5. Cancer;
  6. Chronic lung disease;
  7. Obstructive lung disease;
  8. Pulmonary disease; and
  9. Bronchiectasis.

Dangerous mineral dust and gases that cause respiratory injuries

When you are in contact with the following mineral dust and gases at work, you are at risk of lung disease:

  • Silica (mineral dust);
  • Asbestos (mineral dust);
  • Coal (mineral dust);
  • Talc (mineral dust);
  • Hard Metal (mineral dust);
  • Beryllium (mineral dust);
  • Ammonia (gas);
  • Chlorine (gas);
  • Nitrogen Oxides (gas);
  • Ozone (gas);
  • Phosgene (gas);
  • Sulfur Dioxide (gas);
  • Hydrogen Sulfide (gas);
  • Cadmium (gas);
  • Mercury (gas);
  • Vanadium Pentaoxide (gas).

The following agents present the same level of danger to the worker in the event of prolonged exposure in the work environment:

  • Chromium;
  • Coal Mine Dust;
  • Coke Oven Emissions;
  • Cotton Dust;
  • Toluene Diisocyanate;
  • And many others.

Obtaining workers comp benefits for work-related lung problems in California

If you engage in (or are in the proximity of) any of the following work processes in your work environment, you are at a much bigger risk of sustaining a respiratory injury or lung disease: painting, acid treatments, grinding and polishing, mining, abrasive blasting, crushing, blending and mixing, forging, welding, machining, and many others.

If you believe that your lung disease or respiratory injury was caused by any of the above-mentioned substances and materials at work, a qualified medical professional will have to determine the amount of contact (exposure) you had with the offending substance by evaluating the following four factors:

  • Your overall health and medical history;
  • The amount of actual exposure with the substance in question (how strong that exposure was);
  • How long you were exposed to the substance;
  • How frequently you were exposed to the substance.

After having evaluated these four factors, your physician will be able to determine whether or not your injury was work-related. In fact, your lung disease does not necessarily have to be entirely work-related in order to be entitled to receive workers comp benefits. Rather, you need to prove that the industrial exposure contributed or merely aggravated your lung problems or disease.

Let our Los Angeles on the job injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach help you pursue your claim. Call our offices at 818-609-7005 or fill out this contact form to get a free consultation.

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