In Pennsylvania, you can collect workers’ compensation if you sustain an injury or develop an illness from the conditions where you work. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a common lung disease that is usually associated with smoking. But certain working conditions can cause you to develop COPD. If you and your lawyer can prove that you developed the disease as a result of your work, then you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease develops over time. According to the National Institutes of Health, COPD falls into two main categories:
- Chronic bronchitis. This is a cough that never goes away, and is accompanied by mucus.
- Emphysema. This occurs when there is long-term damage to your lungs. It is also incurable.
People with COPD have extreme difficulties breathing, and may be prescribed medications or an inhaler to help ease the symptoms. Other workers with COPD will eventually need to use an oxygen tank to help them breathe.
Common occupational causes of COPD
Some jobs make it more like that a workers will develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The most common industries include:
- Gas and petroleum work
- Quarry and stonework, like brick making
- Foundry and metal workers
- Rubbers and plastics
If you work in an industry that exposes you to a lot of noxious gases or dangerous fumes, you have an increased risk of developing COPD. Firemen and women, and people who work in HAZMAT conditions are also at a greater risk of developing the disease.
If you work around toxic gases and fumes, or if your job exposes you to particulates in the air, and it has led to you developing COPD, you can file an application for workers’ compensation. If your COPD is brought on in part by a lack of proper ventilation or safety equipment, you may also be able to file a separate personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering, your medical bills and your lost wages.
At Larry Pitt & Associates, we help Philadelphia workers obtain the benefits they need to survive after they have developed a serious medical condition related to their work. Please contact us to find out how we can help you. We are proud to serve clients in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.