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Asbestos Exposure: Is it Too Late to File For Workers Comp Benefits?

If you have been diagnosed with asbestosis, or any other illness due to asbestos exposure, notify your employer as soon as possible.

Asbestos exposure leads to a condition called asbestosis, which is a risk for many Missouri workers who are exposed to the dust at worksites. The problem with this condition is that it can take years to develop, sometimes decades. And as you may know, your chance to file a worker’s comp case in Missouri lies within a very specific time frame.

What Does the Law Say

In Missouri, you have to report your injury to your employer no later than 30 days after it took place. If you miss this window, you can have some trouble getting the benefits.

But asbestos exposure isn’t exactly an injury. It does not take place quickly, but it’s the result of years of working in the same environment. For this, and other occupational diseases, the law specifies the deadline to report your illness is 30 days from the time you found out about the disease, meaning when your doctor gives you the diagnosis.

It’s very important to notify your employer of your asbestosis sooner rather than later. Missing the deadline isn’t necessarily going to prevent you from accessing the benefits, but it will make the process much more difficult.

What If You’re Late in Filing Your Claim?

If you did not realize the asbestos exposure was work-related, or other circumstances prevented you from notifying your employer within the legal time frame, you should contact a St.Louis workers comp lawyer.

Given the unique way in which asbestosis forms and presents itself, your lawyer may convince the insurance company to award the benefits even if you missed the deadline. They may also need to take matters to the Missouri Workers Comp Division, in which case the matters are taken in front of an administrative judge.

However, you should know the odds of getting benefits on a late claim aren’t exactly in your favor. It’s the kind of bureaucratic mistake many insurance companies look for in order to avoid paying benefits, and even the state may not be able to help.

If you work on a construction site and find out you have asbestosis, notify your employer immediately. This may help your lawyer argue that the employer was informed in due time, even if the written form came later.

Call a St. Louis Workers Comp Attorney

People working on construction sites are exposed to all sorts of dangers, which is why it’s so important to not skip your annual medical check-up and keep an eye on your health. And if you’re diagnosed with asbestos exposure, notify your employer right away, then contact a St. Louis worker’s comp lawyer to help you make sure you get the medical benefits you need and deserve.

Call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.

Updated: December 20, 2019