Tag Archives: cancer

What is an accident in workers’ compensation?

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Accidents happen is a common refrain. Most people believe that an accident is something that happens suddenly and was caused by carelessness. But nothing is quite that simple in the world of workers’ compensation.

Nebraska law defines an accident as happening suddenly and violently, being unexpected and having objective symptoms. Suddenly violently means that an injury 1) happens at a definite time 2) stops employment and 3) the employee stops work.

This definition can cover all sorts of injures that might not be considered an accident by a lay person.

Examples of such cases are: (1) carpal tunnel from repeated use of hands, (2) rotator cuff shoulder injuries from repeated use of arms above the shoulder, (3) skin conditions from repeated exposure to chemicals, dust or heat, (4) blood clotting from long periods of sitting, (5) heart attack and stroke from unusually heavy exertion, (6) lung diseases from exposure to chemicals, grain dust and cement dust, (7) cancer from exposure to chemical or substance known to be carcinogens (8) death from a work related disease, (9) mental health disease caused by long term pain from a work related injury, disease or condition.

In cases that aren’t thought about as “accidents” injured workers may not be clear in relating their symptoms to their work. There could also be confusion over the exact date of an injury. Some employers may even be confused about what happened – or if they acting in bad faith they may try to discipline an employee for not reporting the “accident” in a prompt manner. Injured workers can end up losing their job and or having their claim denied because they don’t understand what accident means in workers’ compensation law.

Nebraska workers facing such challenges should contact a lawyer if they suffer from a disease or condition from work activity or environment mental factors. You may be entitled to benefits becuase Nebraska Workers compensation benefits are not limited to sudden accidents. You may also have a case for wrongful termination if you were fired for reporting a work accident.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Disease Differs between Nebraska, Iowa

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chimney sweepWorkers’ compensation is designed to cover occupational diseases, whether they are chemically induced or triggered by one’s job over the course of time. The difficulty in dealing with these occupational exposures as they relates to workers’ compensation claims and benefits is inherently in the diseases themselves. In most cases, the disease conditions do not develop until years later.

Such occupational diseases include, but are not limited to, the following. The information below also includes the time it may take to develop these diseases, according to this article from The Center for Public Integrity:

Mesothelioma, a cancer triggered by asbestos: Typically 30 years or more

Bladder cancer, associated with coal tar, metalworking fluids and other workplace hazards: Typically 15 to 40 years

Lung cancer, linked to chromium, nickel, asbestos and other workplace hazards: Typically 10 to 30 years

Asbestosis, an asbestos-caused scarring of the lungs: Typically 10 to 20 years

Silicosis, a lung disease triggered by silica dust: Typically 10 years or more

Parkinson’s syndrome, associated with pesticides, trichloroethylene, manganese and other workplace hazards: Unclear latency period, but while it can come on quickly, the lag time is likely more than a decade; average age of onset is 60”

Others: “… Trichloroethylene is a known human carcinogen; methylene chloride is considered a likely cancer-causing agent. Trichloroethylene in particular is associated with a variety of ailments — Parkinson’s, liver and other cancers, neurological problems and kidney damage among them.”

Workers have to suspect they were exposed to such things at work and ultimately need to demonstrate the exposure they encountered and have medical evidence supporting the relationship between the exposure and the disease they suffer from. Usually, one must show the work exposure was more likely than not to blame as opposed to all possible outside causes.

However, workers face deadlines to filing a claim for occupational diseases based on the amount of time elapsed since the last exposure to the hazard. Nebraska typically favors that such deadlines don’t begin to run until workers know or should have known that they have an occupational disease that is related to an exposure where they worked. This is typically known as a latent and progressive claim.

Unfortunately, Iowa is not one of the states favorable to exposed workers, according to The Center for Public Integrity article.

“If workers there do not become disabled or die within one year of the last ‘injurious’ exposure, or three years if the hazard causes one of the lung diseases categorized as pneumoconiosis, they’re out of luck.” There are some rare exceptions involving “radiation, in which case workers are allowed to actually find out that they have a disabling occupational illness before the clock starts ticking.

“Paul J. McAndrew Jr., an Iowa lawyer who has represented employees in workers’ compensation cases for 25 years, called the state’s deadline rule ‘a patent injustice’ that requires him to tell very sick people that they have no legal remedy against their former employer.”

If you or a loved one believe or are suspected to be suffering from an occupational exposure disease, please contact an experienced attorney.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Health, Work Injury, Worker safety, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , , , , .

Are Firefighter Cancer Deaths an Occupational Disease?

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Workers’ compensation has provided benefits or coverage for occupational diseases for generations. Occupational disease is defined by Nebraska law as: “a disease which is due to causes and conditions which are characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation, process, or employment and excludes all ordinary diseases of life to which the general public is exposed.” This is a typical definition of an occupational disease. Some examples of recognized occupational diseases are black lung disease for miners, mesothelioma for asbestos workers, lung disease for rubber workers, and leukemia for workers exposed to benzene.  

More studies are done to determine the cause of diseases as medical science advances. A recent study concludes that smoke and chemical exposure by firefighters may cause higher rates of cancer among firefighters. Firefighters, while usually healthier than the general population, have a higher incidence of cancer. More studies need to be done to determine if the peculiar exposure to smoke causes or aggravates cancer.

As medicine and science evolve, there may be more recognized “occupational diseases” and more workers and their families compensated for harm caused by the workplace.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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All Forms of Asbestos Cause Cancer

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Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. I thought it was an especially timely reminder about the hazards of this material because a Nebraska company was recently fined $25,000 for “the illegal abatement and disposal of asbestos.” The company tried “to save $14,000” instead of having the asbestos-removal firm they’d hired finish it properly. I am pleased this company was held accountable for its actions, as it is consistent within scientific research that asbestos is harmful and has long-term effects on humans. I hope the workers who demolished this building – possibly without the proper safety equipment, the story didn’t say – will be spared the potential repercussions of unsafely handling this material just so their employer could save some dollars. And I also hope the employer learned from the ill-advised shortcut that it doesn’t pay to attempt an end run around keeping workers safe.

In a joint statement the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) again declared all forms of asbestos cause cancer.

Joint WHO/IARC Statement 
19 February 2013

In response to allegations in the recent Lancet article, IARC in the dock over ties with asbestos industry (The Lancet, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60152-X), WHO and IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) state the following:

  • All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans (IARC Monographs Volume 100C) and stopping the use of all forms of asbestos is the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases (WHO Fact Sheet No 343).
  • The study on cancer in chrysotile workers in Asbest, Russian Federation, for which IARC is providing its epidemiological expertise, will supply important scientific information to better quantify the risk of cancers already known to be related to chrysotile as well as additional cancers suspected to be related to chrysotile, the asbestos fibre is the most commonly produced.
  • WHO and IARC take conflict of interest seriously and use a rigorous process to protect our research and development of norms, standards and guidelines from undue influence.
  • IARC confirms the completeness and accuracy of all data and statements of scientific results published in the British Journal of Cancer (Estimating the asbestos-related lung cancer burden from mesothelioma mortality, doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.563) and presented at a conference in Kiev.

IARC, as WHO’s cancer research agency, remains committed to providing the most reliable, independent scientific evidence on which public health decisions can be based.

Click here to read more about “asbestos” and workplace exposures

Feb 04, 2013
The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat today reports about the corrupt connection between the Russian asbestos industrry and the IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer). To advance the mining and …
 
Jan 31, 2013
Recently release statistics from the US Geological Survey brings some hope to reducing asbestos disease in the US. Historically, as the production of asbestos fiber lowers, so does the incidence of asbestos related disease, …
 
Jan 30, 2013
It is unconscionable in this day and age for a worker who is exposed to asbestos fiber in the workplace. Ironically, in the 1950’s, in Paterson, NJ, the city where the world renown asbestos researcher, Irving J. Selikoff MD, had …
 
Nov 29, 2012
In a new report, Fitch examines a range of loss scenarios and future payments for asbestos losses up to an ultimate industry loss of $85 billion. Based on recent development experience and its latest analysis of loss payment …
 
 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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