Asthma is a common ailment that affects many Americans. It can also be misunderstood. Some people mistakenly believe that it is a childhood disease, or that the symptoms are merely inconvenient and never dangerous. The reality is that asthma causes thousands of deaths across the United States every year.
Asthma can also be caused by exposure to toxins in the workplace. Workers who develop asthma as a result of workplace exposure have the right to be compensated. A San Diego workers' compensation attorney can help workers protect their legal rights.
The Facts About Asthma
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report on asthma statistics, which analyzed data about asthma sufferers across the United States between 1999 and 2016. A total of 33,307 adults (aged 15 to 64) died as a result of asthma during this time.
The researchers also found that an estimated 18.4 million American adults suffered from asthma in 2015. These facts demonstrate how many American families are affected by asthma every year and how serious the consequences of asthma can be.
Asthma is not simply a childhood disease, nor one which is caused by genetics alone. Exposure to various toxins in the workplace can also create asthma symptoms or exacerbate underlying problems. The CDC report found that asthma-related deaths were highest for females employed in the healthcare industry and males employed in the construction industry.
Mortality rates were also elevated for men employed in food, beverage, and tobacco products manufacturing, miscellaneous manufacturing industries, and retail trades. Female mortality rates were higher for women employed in the social assistance industry and in community and social services jobs. These findings indicate that workers in certain environments are more likely to suffer from asthma and even die as a result of the condition.
The Legal Rights of Workers Who Have Been Exposed to Workplace Toxins
There are many different types of toxins that can cause a worker to develop asthma symptoms. For example, cleaning products, disinfectants, antibiotics, and latex are all prevalent in healthcare settings, which might explain the elevated asthma death rate for women employed in this industry. Welding fumes and chemicals found in paint are prevalent on and around construction sites, and they can contribute to the increased asthma death rate for men employed in that industry.
Workers who develop asthma symptoms as a result of workplace exposure have the same rights as other workers who are injured on the job. When a worker is injured on the job, or develops an illness as a result of workplace exposure, he or she is entitled to workers' compensation coverage. This insurance coverage is a legal requirement for most employers. It compensates victims for medical bills and lost wages incurred as a result of a workplace illness or injury.
In cases where an employer does not carry workers' compensation coverage, or the coverage does not cover the full extent of the victim’s losses, a worker may also be able to file a civil lawsuit if third-party liability is present. This can allow a victim to recover compensation for decreases in future earning potential, rehabilitative services, and other long-term expenses which might not be covered by workers' compensation.
A San Diego workers' compensation attorney can help asthma sufferers determine the best way to access compensation for exposure to workplace toxins.