Though black lung sounds like a disease that died off decades ago, it is surprisingly common in the modern world.
When it comes to workers’ compensation, there are certain injuries, like sprains, cuts, and contusions, which come up over and over again. On the other hand, some injuries are relatively uncommon and are rarely discussed. One of those ailments is black lung. The reason it does not get as much publicity is that general injuries, like the ones mentioned above, can happen in almost any profession. Black lung generally only affects coal miners, so it is much less well known. If are a miner and believe you have suffered from black lung, it is time to speak with a St. Louis work injury lawyer. If not, it is still useful to understand this disease, know how to treat it, and be prepared for your workers compensation case if you ever contract it.
Though black lung sounds like a disease that died off decades ago, it is surprisingly common in the modern world. It exclusively affects coal workers, who get small coal dust particles lodged in their lungs. When a worker has excessive amounts of particles on his lungs, his body undergoes an immune response. It sends white blood cells to remove the particles, but in the process, damages the lungs too. Eventually, portions of the lungs start to darken and turn black.
Progression and Symptoms
One of the factors that makes black lung so dangerous is how slowly it develops. You could work in a mine for five, ten, or even twenty years before you start to feel symptoms, and by that time, the disease could be unmanageable. The most common symptoms of black lung are a chronic cough and shortness of breath. These will start slowly, and then begin to become severe impediments to your lifestyle. The worst-case scenario ends in respiratory or heart failure.
If you want to stop your case of black lung from getting worse, you need to cut off your exposure. Once you do, your body will start to fix the problem itself. The most important thing you can do as a coal worker is recognize the disease early on. This can be done by carefully watching for symptoms and getting regular testing done on your lungs.
Filing a Claim
Because black lung is a slowly developing disease, workers’ compensation cases can be very complicated. Because of this, you will want to get advice from an experienced lawyer. Once you do, the steps you will take will be like any other claim. You will report your injury, get a medical assessment, gather evidence, and make your claim.
Don’t think that your case of black lung is something that can be shrugged off. Instead, you need to seek medical treatment right away and get your health in order. Speak with a St. Louis workers compensation lawyer to help you obtain all the benefits you need. Of course, the best way to handle black lung is to catch it early and treat it before it gets worse. The most responsible way forward for coal workers is to receive regular medical assessments and watch for symptoms. If you follow these best practices, you may be able to avoid this ailment entirely.