Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer
The Francis Law Group
Hazardous Materials Accidents
Exposure to toxic materials is not just a concern for workers in the hazardous materials industry. In fact, workers in many unsuspecting professions may have hazardous materials accidents -- either via an acute, one-time exposure or routine daily exposure -- which can lead to illness or death.
Toxic Work Environments
Workers in a wide range of industries can develop occupational illnesses due to exposure to harmful substances on the job. Our firm routinely helps Orlando workers with pursuing workers’ compensation benefits after they’ve developed serious illnesses stemming from toxic exposure. Below are a few examples of industries we’ve come across that might seem relatively benign at first. However, these employees are routinely exposed to hazardous materials, which increases risks for work-related illness.
- Beauty salons – These workers are exposed to toxic chemicals in hair and nail products, such as acetone, acetonitrile, ethyl acetate, fiberglass, dibutyl phthalate titanium dioxide and toluene.
- Dental offices – Those who work in dental offices can suffer illnesses from routine exposure to substances such as beryllium, heavy metals, gases, plastics and solvents.
- Auto industry – Mechanics, auto body repairmen, detailers, painters, etc. are exposed to toxic materials and fumes on a daily basis. Additives, solvents, lead, antifreeze, asbestos, oils, fuels and emissions all can cause illness.
- Manufacturing – Workers in manufacturing plants can be exposed to numerous hazardous materials, depending upon the type of product and facility. Examples of hazardous manufacturing materials include asbestos, benzene, formaldehyde, lead, ozone, toluene and welding smoke.
- Cleaning industry – Workers in the housekeeping and cleaning industries often use highly toxic cleaning products. Long-term routine exposure can lead to long-term health issues.
Common Types of Occupational Illnesses
The illnesses that workers develop from exposure to hazardous materials are often extremely serious or even fatal. Below are a few examples of occupational diseases and illnesses that can occur as a result of toxic exposure or an accident at work in Orlando.
- Black lung disease (common among miners)
- Organ damage
- Skin issues, such as burns, rashes and scarring
- Respiratory illnesses
- Kidney disease
- Brain damage
- Birth defects and miscarriage
- Parkinson's disease
Are illnesses compensable under Florida workers’ compensation?
It’s not injuries that occur from on-the-job accidents that qualify a worker for workers’ compensation. If you develop an illness, disorder or disease as a result of work conditions or exposure to toxic materials, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Florida Statutes 440.151(1)(a) provides: “Where the employer and employee are subject to the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Law, the disablement or death of an employee resulting from an occupational disease as hereinafter defined shall be treated as the happening of an injury by accident.” In other words, those with occupational illnesses qualify for the same benefits as if they had been injured in a sudden accident at work in Orlando. The same holds true if your spouse dies from an occupational illness – you still are entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.
Help Obtaining the Benefits You Need
Many serious illnesses that result from hazardous materials accidents require intensive, long-term care. If your injury is work-related, your company’s workers’ compensation insurance company should pay all medical expenses. If you are disabled and cannot return to work, the insurer is required to pay a regular income replacement check.
If you have recently been diagnosed with an occupational illness, we encourage you to contact the Francis Law Group in Orlando for a case review. You deserve the full amount of benefits that the law allows, and we can help you fight for them. We can assess your case, help file your claim and ensure your rights are upheld throughout the determination process. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 407-363-9939.