St. Louis Occupational Exposure Attorney
Occupational Exposure Work Injury Claims in Missouri
The law has often been slow to compensate workers who are exposed to disease or toxic chemicals at work. Missouri, like all other states and most of the world, has a no-fault insurance system intended to compensate workers for harm they suffer on the job. Most people have heard of this system of workers’ compensation insurance, but never have to deal with it. People that suffer the most debilitating diseases, like respiratory problems, often find the system least helpful.
At The Dixon Injury Firm, our St. Louis occupational exposure attorneys bring high-quality and accessible legal counsel to clients and their families. If you have suffered occupation exposure at your job, we are ready to fight for you.
Please contact us for more information and to schedule a free consultation with our occupational exposure lawyers.
Exposure Can be Hard to Prove
A major problem with occupational exposure claims is that workers’ compensation was designed largely to compensate for sudden industrial accidents, like a worker losing a leg in a piece of equipment. Those types of injuries come with a simple, formula-driven, disability payment.
For example, workers who are permanently disabled generally get paid about two-thirds of their weekly salary multiplied by a number that is tied to the severity of the injury. The process is a bit disturbing actually, as the compensation levels are laid out on what looks like a butcher’s chart. Losing the tip of a finger is worth 30 weeks of compensation, losing the first knuckle is worth 35 weeks, and losing the whole finger is 45 weeks. Losing a hand is worth 175 weeks of compensation and the whole arm will garner 232 weeks of compensation.
However, most occupational exposure injuries are less obvious than a missing finger. These are considered “non-scheduled” injuries and they require medical professionals to review the case and determine if the person is truly suffering from a disease that can be tied back to work.
Slate published an excellent article in 2015 on how workers’ compensation across the country is systematically failing to pay. The article tells the story of a gentleman named Gary Cooper, who was exposed to chemicals at his job at a flooring factory. The chemicals rapidly changed the outgoing man into a nursing-home patient that struggled to speak. It took his wife nearly five years to get compensation, but the family is actually lucky they got anything at all.
The problem is largely inherent in these types of diseases. Many lung ailments, for example, can be caused by smoking, genetics, or age. It can be hard to say if a particular chemical at a particular job caused the problem.
Another challenge is that workers’ compensation claims in Missouri must typically be filed within 30 days of the incident. In cases where a worker inhales small doses of toxic fumes every day at work over a series of years, it can be a struggle to pinpoint exactly when a workers’ compensation claim can be filed.
Missouri has tried to clarify this a little bit. In Statutes Section 287.063, the law says that the employer who is liable for workers’ compensation will be the most recent employer regardless of the length of time since the last exposure. This provision can be challenging to apply, but it is supposed to mean that an employer cannot try to blame an employee’s occupational exposure problems on his previous employer.
Call an Occupation Exposure Lawyer in St. Louis Today!
The Dixon Injury Law Firm is entirely devoted to securing compensation for individuals that have been injured. If you are suffering from what you think is occupational exposure, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a consultation. You may not even be sure if you are sick or if work caused it. We can walk you through your options and help you determine if it makes sense to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
If you need help, just give us a call at (314) 208-2808 as soon as possible. It is free and there is no obligation.