Workers’ Compensation Injuries: Am I Covered for Mesothelioma?

June 21, 2016

Worker’s compensation is designed to protect people who have been hurt or harmed in some way during the course of their employment when that injury is related in some way, shape or form to their job. Thus, sustaining an injury at work or being hurt at a job-related event are just two of the many types of circumstances covered under workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania. Another kind of injury covered by workers’ comp involves diseases or medical conditions that develop as the result of toxic exposure. One of the more sinister occupational diseases is mesothelioma.

What is mesothelioma?

Your lungs, your stomach and your heart (as well as other organs) are lined with a tissue called the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is the development of tumors in that tissue, and the tumors themselves are not always dangerous. Sometimes, however, the tumors are the result of malignant mesothelioma – a serious and almost always fatal form of cancer.

The only proven cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, “the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers.”

Jobs where toxic exposure to asbestos is most likely

Almost anyone can be exposed to asbestos because it was used in seemingly everything we produced in this country since the 1800s, and the bans on asbestos did not start until the 1970s. Some occupations, however, increase a person’s risk of toxic exposure levels, thus increasing the worker’s risk of developing mesothelioma or any number of asbestos-related diseases. Those occupations include:

  • People who work in asbestos mines
  • People who work in chemical plants, power plants, asbestos plants
  • Shipyard workers
  • Auto and aircraft mechanics, specifically those who worked with brakes and clutches
  • Construction workers, both residential and commercial
  • Firefighters
  • Factory and mill workers
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

There are many, many occupations where a worker could have been exposed to a dangerous or toxic level of asbestos, increasing that workers’ chance of developing malignant mesothelioma.

Signs and symptoms

A worker who develops mesothelioma from asbestos exposure is entitled to workers; compensation provided he or she has the correct medical records proving the diseases is, indeed, asbestos-related. If you work in a field where there is a risk of asbestos exposure, The National Cancer Institute recommends seeking medical advice if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain under the rib cage
  • Pain, swelling, or lumps in the abdomen
  • Weight loss for no known reason

Mesothelioma is covered by Pennsylvania workers’ compensation benefits, but that does not mean you will automatically be granted the help you need. For more information about applying for workers’ compensation, contact Larry Pitt & Associates today. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers can help you through the process. We have multiple office locations serving clients in and around Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.