Thousands of workers in the New England-area, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Asbestos was widely used in building materials, roofing, automotive parts, sound-proofing and insulation for much of the 20th century. The legacy of asbestos includes an increasing incidence of workplace illnesses related to asbestos exposure.
Massachusetts workers exposed to asbestos decades ago may be diagnosed today with serious respiratory symptoms related to asbestos exposure, including lung cancer, mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the lung or abdomen) or asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs).
An employee who develops work-related asbestos disease is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and may also have a separate claim against an asbestos manufacturer.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with asbestos-related illness and suspect asbestos exposure in a workplace, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. We can explain the benefits of which you may be entitled, including lost wages, medical treatment expenses and vocational rehabilitation costs.
Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. is a workers’ compensation law firm with almost 30 years experience fighting for the rights of individuals injured in the course of their employment. We help injured workers across Massachusetts, including but not limited to Boston, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Plymouth and Merrimack River. We also represent Rhode Island and New Hampshire residents whose injuries occurred in Massachusetts or who were hired in Massachusetts but who were injured out of state.
Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace and Respiratory Diseases
Approximately 2,500 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to federal workplace safety statistics. Most persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases are people who developed cancer from prolonged asbestos exposure in a workplace.
Asbestos is classified as a human carcinogen. Workplace illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos include the following:
- Mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer of the membranes that surround many of the body’s vital organs, such as the lungs or abdomen.
- Asbestosis, a respiratory disease brought on by inhaling asbestos fibers. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause scar tissue (fibrosis) to form inside the lung. Scarred lung tissue does not expand and contract normally, thereby inhibiting breathing.
Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases include shortness of breath, chest pain, a persistent cough, fatigue and weight loss. These symptoms may appear decades after asbestos exposure, making it difficult to pinpoint where the asbestos exposure occurred. That’s why it’s important to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney familiar with the Massachusetts’ industries and workplaces that used asbestos in manufacturing.
What Jobs Are Most Conducive to Asbestos Exposure?
Workers in some occupations are more likely to have been exposed to asbestos because asbestos, a mineral fiber, was used in the workplace. These include the following:
- Textile manufacturing;
- Shipbuilding and ship repair;
- Mining and milling;
- Metal workers; and
Asbestos use is now strictly regulated in the United States. However, older houses and buildings often contain asbestos materials that may release toxic fibers into the air. Construction workers face the constant danger of asbestos exposure during maintenance work, remodeling or demolition of old buildings that contain asbestos materials.
Sailors, submariners and other Navy personnel are at risk because of the large amount of asbestos used on U.S. ships. Shipbuilders are at risk of inhaling asbestos fibers in the repair or remodeling of older ships.
Massachusetts’ work safety laws require trained asbestos removal workers wearing respirators and protective clothing to encapsulate the workers while they remove asbestos-containing materials. Demolition workers, construction workers, carpenters and renovation workers are at risk of asbestos exposure in the workplace today.
What Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits Are Available
You may be eligible for temporary total disability benefits, partial disability benefits or permanent and total disability benefits for an illness caused by asbestos exposure in the workplace. Employee supplemental workers’ compensation benefits are determined by several factors including your average weekly wage and your degree of incapacity from a workplace injury. A knowledgeable workplace injuries attorney can review the facts of your asbestos exposure and advise you about which benefits you may collect.
In exchange for receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts’ “no fault” system, workers cannot sue their employer for a workplace injury or illness. However, you may be able to file a legal claim against another party, such as an asbestos manufacturer that contributed to a workplace illness. Our workplace illness lawyers have experience in handling third-party claims.
Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system is set up to ensure that employers have insurance to cover employees who are injured or disabled by workplace injuries or illnesses including respiratory disease caused by asbestos exposure. All employees have legal rights to workers’ compensation for work-related injuries. Yet, employees often have trouble obtaining their rightful workers’ compensation after developing an asbestos-related disease. The asbestos exposure may have occurred 30 to 50 years ago because disease symptoms of asbestos exposure take decades to appear.
The insurance company may deny your illness is a workplace injury caused by asbestos exposure. At the hearing to decide your workers’ compensation claim, the insurance company will have a lawyer arguing on their behalf. That’s why you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney standing up for your legal right to benefits for workplace-related illness.
Contact Our Asbestos Injury Lawyers Today
While many Massachusetts lawyers practice in a number of different areas of the law, our firm concentrates exclusively in the area of workers compensation. Our firm believes in a proactive educational approach to the law. Each client is an active participant in all facets of their case. Our workplace injury lawyers do not pass off cases to other Massachusetts law firms or to junior associates. A client will have the same attorney handling his or her claim from start to conclusion.
The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at our firm can advise you on the best strategy for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits after a serious illness related to workplace asbestos exposure. We handle claims for Massachusetts workers who were injured in Massachusetts or while working out of state. We also represent Rhode Island and New Hampshire residents whose injuries occurred in Massachusetts or who were hired in Massachusetts but injured out of state.
For a free, no obligation evaluation of your workers’ compensation claim, contact us online or call the workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. toll free at (800) 367-0871.
Remember that if you hire a workers’ compensation attorney because you have been denied benefits, Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation law states that the workers’ compensation insurer will pay the majority of your attorneys’ fees.