Understanding Workers Compensation for an Occupational Disease in Missouri

Workers can develop symptoms almost immediately after being exposed to a toxic chemical. In many cases, however, it can take months and even years for symptoms to appear.

Toxic exposure to fumes or dust from a range of particles — such as silica, beryllium, asbestos — can significantly impact the health of your lungs and respiratory system. Known as “occupational diseases,” these illnesses can include mesothelioma, asbestosis, berylliosis, coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, silicosis, silicotuberculosis. Often, these diseases are a direct result of working with potentially dangerous materials in a variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, mining, and firefighting.   

man exposed to chemicals on the job

No matter how much personal protective equipment is used, working in these industries increases the risk of inhaling fine air particles and trapping them in your lungs. This can cause significant and irreversible damages to your health. In these instances, you can seek legal support in the form of a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer to help you better understand and pursue your legal rights. 

Symptoms of Toxic Exposure

As mentioned, most of the diseases listed above have a direct correlation to the health of your respiratory system, air passages, and lung function. This could include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, unexplained coughing, fatigue, fever, and even night sweats.

In some cases, people can develop symptoms almost immediately after being exposed to a toxic chemical. In many cases, however, it can take months and even years for symptoms to appear. This can make it difficult to determine the root cause directly, but having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you prove it was a result of your work.

In Missouri, an individual can seek an enhanced benefit for occupational disease related to toxic exposure. For those diseases, not including mesothelioma, you are eligible for a compensation amount equal to 200 percent of the state average weekly wage (SAWW) from the date of diagnosis for 100 weeks.

What Is Different About Mesothelioma?

In 80 percent of cases, mesothelioma is directly related to asbestos exposure. This type of cancer is deadly to most people who develop it because it can take several decades for symptoms to appear. It also can be mistaken for similar diseases such as whooping cough, pneumonia, laryngitis, or the flu. Because of its latent onset, it may fall outside of the statute of limitations for filing a claim. However, within Missouri regulations, a person diagnosed with mesothelioma can receive compensation equal to 300 percent of the SAWW for 212 weeks.

When you reach out to the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we will work with you to understand the full extent of your injuries. We will ask about your medical history, the nature of your work, how long you were employed in a particular industry, and what products you were in contact with during work. This will help us better understand the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.

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Updated: March 23, 2021