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What Are My Options if I Was Exposed to Toxic Substances at Work?

 Posted on January 16, 2023 in Toxic Exposure

Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer

There are numerous situations where people may be placed at risk of exposure to toxic substances while working. The Pittsburgh area has many steel mills, industrial plants, and other workplaces where toxic chemicals and other dangerous substances are used. When the proper safety procedures are not followed, or when accidents occur, workers can be seriously injured. People may also experience occupational illnesses due to ongoing exposure to low levels of toxic substances. These injuries and illnesses can be very serious, and those who have been injured will need to understand their options for receiving compensation for the harm they have suffered.

Types of Occupational Diseases Caused by Toxic Substances

Dangerous chemicals and other substances can harm workers in a variety of ways, including:

  • Firefighters and others who work around fire and smoke may experience heart and lung disease due to smoke inhalation.

  • Miners or others in the coal industry may experience conditions such as pneumoconiosis or other lung diseases due to the inhalation of coal dust.

  • Workers in industrial settings may experience chemical poisoning due to exposure to substances such as mercury, lead, or arsenic.

  • Medical professionals may be exposed to infectious diseases, and they may contract hepatitis, tuberculosis, or other serious illnesses.

Workers' Compensation for Occupational Illnesses

Most workers are covered by workers' compensation insurance, and if they experience an illness that occurred while they were working, they may file a claim and receive benefits. Medical benefits will fully pay for all required medical treatment related to an occupational illness, including treatment from doctors, hospitalization, surgery, and medications. If a person was unable to work for at least seven days, they can receive disability benefits. However, these benefits will only replace around two thirds of the wages they would have been able to earn if they had not been injured. Workers' comp does not provide compensation for pain and suffering, and it does not guarantee job security.

Pennsylvania's Right to Know Act

In some cases, workers may be able to pursue compensation from an employer who violated the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act. This law requires employers to inform employees or other people who may be affected about potential chemical hazards. Employers have multiple responsibilities under this law, including maintaining safety data sheets on all hazardous substances used in the workplace, ensuring that these documents are available to employees, and labeling containers of hazardous substances. Employers must also provide training and equipment for employees to ensure that their safety is protected.

If an employer fails to meet their requirements under the Right to Know Act, employees or others who are injured due to exposure to toxic substances may pursue a civil lawsuit and seek to recover compensation for their damages. This may allow a person to receive compensation that would not have been available through workers' comp, such as the full amount of income lost due to a disability, pain and suffering, or even punitive damages for willful or egregious violations of safety regulations.

Contact Our Wexford Workplace Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawyers

If you have suffered an injury or contracted an illness because you were exposed to toxic substances while working, Colianni & Leonard LLC can help you determine your options for pursuing compensation. Our Allegheny County toxic substance exposure attorneys will review your situation and help you determine the types of compensation you may be able to receive. We are committed to helping people who have been injured by toxic chemicals and other dangerous substances, and we will work tirelessly to make sure that you receive all of the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today at 412-680-7877 for a free consultation.


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