Workers’ Compensation for Lung Problems Caused by Your Job

notes on lung x-rayIf you work in an environment that exposes you to gases, dust or fumes, you could develop respiratory problems. You should not ignore these issues and just accept them as part of your job. If a doctor can confirm your health problems were caused by your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

A Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorney at Berry, Smith & Bartell can review the circumstances surrounding your medical condition and determine if you may have a viable claim. Schedule your free legal consultation right now.

How Does a Doctor Establish a Respiratory Condition Is Work-Related?

If you believe that your respiratory condition was caused by some type of toxic substance from your workplace, a qualified medical professional can determine if your condition is work-related. The health care professional may review several factors to determine if your illness is connected to your job:

  • The duration of your exposure to the substance in question
  • The amount of exposure you had with the problem substance
  • Your medical history and overall health
  • The frequency of your exposure to the substance in question

The doctor will also consider California’s definition of a work-related illness to determine if you may be eligible for workers’ compensation.

When Does California Consider an Illness to be Related to Work?

In California, an illness is considered work-related if you can prove an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to your medical problem or significantly aggravated a pre-existing medical condition. Many workplace injuries are considered work-related unless they fit one of the exceptions listed under California law.

A condition is considered significantly aggravated if exposure to something in the workplace causes:

Risk Factors for On-the-Job Lung Damage

There are many dangerous substances you could encounter at your job that may increase your risk of developing a respiratory condition, such as:

  • Ammonia
  • Asbestos
  • Beryllium
  • Chlorine
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Mercury
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Silica
  • Sulfur dioxide

These and other substances could be present in many different types of industries, such as:

  • Coal mining
  • Painting
  • Roofing
  • Construction work
  • Farming
  • Warehouse work
  • Grinding and polishing
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Acid treating
  • Aerospace work
  • Forging
  • Welding

Common Work-Related Respiratory Problems

Workers often seek workers’ compensation benefits for a variety of respiratory conditions caused by their work, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
  • Fibrosis
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Legionella
  • Lung cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Tuberculosis

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Workers who have developed respiratory illnesses may experience a variety of symptoms, such as the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal breathing patterns
  • Chest pain
  • Hypoxia

If you experience these or other respiratory symptoms, inform your employer and seek medical treatment. If you predesignated a physician, you can receive treatment from this person. If not, your employer will select a doctor to provide treatment for the first 30 days.

Contact a Licensed Attorney to Talk About Your Injury

If you were exposed to a dangerous substance at work that you believe contributed to your respiratory condition, you should contact a trusted attorney at Berry, Smith & Bartell to discuss it. Our dedicated attorneys can review your situation and determine if you may be eligible for benefits.

We work on a contingency fee basis, so we get paid nothing unless we recover compensation on your claim.


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5060 California Ave., Suite 300
Bakersfield, CA 93309

(661) 716-5555

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Fresno, CA 93704

(559) 227-7290

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