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Occupational Disease

Many substances used or present at jobsites may be harmful to your health.  Substances such as asbestos or asbestos-containing products cause diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.  Other substances such as benzene and solvents containing benzene have been associated with the development of certain types of leukemia and lymphoma

Workers in the aluminum manufacturing industry, paving, and roofing are at risk of exposure to coal tar, which has been associated with the development of lung, skin (non-melanoma), bladder, and kidney cancers.  

In addition, there are many other documented examples of specific types of workplace exposures to chemicals and substances that can cause debilitating cancers and other diseases.

If you have been diagnosed with a serious disease or cancer and believe it may have been caused by exposure to harmful chemicals, solvents, or substances on the job, you may want to seek legal assistance to determine and protect your legal rights.  In many cases, the law may allow you to pursue legal remedies including monetary damages to compensate you and your family for the devastating effects of an occupational disease.

Under North Carolina law, in many cases you must file a claim against your employer within two years of the injury or you will be barred from bringing your claim. There are other time limits that can apply to limit or cut off your legal remedies.  For all of these reasons, it is critical that you seek qualified legal assistance if you believe that you may have a claim for disease or injury.

At Wallace & Graham, our workers’ compensation attorneys have many years of experience with occupational disease claims and will strive to get you the benefits you deserve.  Our law firm is recognized for its expertise and experience in bringing workers’ compensation claims and we have helped clients obtain justice and the benefits they deserve across our State.

If you suffer from a serious disease or cancer as a result of an occupational exposure, you may be entitled to:

  • Payment of medical expenses
  • Lump sum payment
  • Attendant care
  • Other legally allowed damages

 

Finding the appropriate forms and knowing how to proceed with a workers’ compensation claim can be a daunting experience.  Our lawyers are here to help.  We can assist you in obtaining the benefits you deserve. Call the law firm of Wallace & Graham at 800.849.5291 for a free consultation. 


Testimonials


  • Barbara

    Mesothelioma is a devastating disease. Wallace & Graham not only made sure my family did not have to worry about the financial burden created by the disease, but also helped us address the myriad of daily living and healthcare challenges that accompany this diagnosis. Their assistance went far beyond just dollars and cents as they provided a comprehensive support system that included access to the best healthcare available. Wallace & Graham has outstanding legal expertise and experience, but perhaps more importantly, they demonstrate true empathy and caring for their clients. 

  • Donald

    Cathy WilliamsEd Pauley, Stephanie Kafitz and their support staff were superior in representing my best interest in my workers comp caseCathy and Ed were always readily available by phone to discuss any issues. I never had to play “phone tag” that is so common today.I was especially impressed with Cathy’s extensive research and follow-up with many doctors regarding the damages welding does to the eyes. Ed’s amazing knowledge of asbestosis and his “don't give up” encouragement can’t be matched!

  • Thomas

    Wallace & Graham have worked very hard for me on my hearing loss case. Mark and Frieda have done their homework and helped me win this case. It has not been easy or quick. Mark assured me that we had a good case, and that we would win. I am very satisfied with my attorney he dug deep and hit them hard – where it hurts. I know he had some trying times with Domtar’s lawyer and the industrial commission. I could not had made it without you.

    Thank you very much Mark and Frieda. 


Recent News

Cancer and Diseases can be Related to Exposure to Solvents
7.29.14

“Millions of workers are exposed to solvents on a daily basis. Health [ more ]

FAQ's

What if I am a recipient of Medicare/Medicaid benefits?

If you receive benefits from Medicare or Medicaid, by law, both programs may be entitled to be reimbursed for payments they made for medical treatment related to your claim for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act

Therefore, if you receive workers’ compensation benefits, and Medicare or Medicaid paid some or all of the medical treatment costs related to your workers’ compensation claim, you will be required to repay Medicare or Medicaid. 

However, the amount of repayment depends on facts and circumstances in your case.  Your attorney can negotiate with Medicare or Medicaid to reduce the amount of reimbursement or seek an appeal of Medicare’s claims for reimbursement.  

Does exposure to chemicals or solvents in the workplace cause cancer?

Unfortunately, cancer can develop without a known reason or cause.  There are many chemicals and solvents used in industrial settings and most of them do not cause any harm or disease.  Some chemicals and solvents, however, have been associated with certain cancers. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of substances that the US Government “NIOSH” agency considers to be potential occupational carcinogens.  For example, benzene and certain products that contain benzene have been causally associated with the development of leukemia. 

Ethylene oxide has also been associated with leukemia.  Workers exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and coal tar pitch in the aluminum production and coal gasification industries have been associated with bladder cancer, kidney, lung cancers, and others. 

If you worked with or around chemicals or solvents in the workplace and believe those chemicals or solvents may have caused your cancer, you should contact an attorney to get more information.   

What options do I have if I was exposed to harmful chemicals or solvents in the workplace?

That depends on what types of chemicals and solvents you were exposed to and whether those substances have been causally associated with causing disease or cancer.  Generally speaking, if your disease or cancer was caused by occupational exposures, you may have a couple of options. 

The first may be to file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer or former employer where the occupational exposures occurred.  A second option may be to file a civil lawsuit against the manufactures of the substances to which you were exposed. 

Whether either option is a possibility depends on the facts and circumstances in your particular case.  To find out whether you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim or civil lawsuit, you should consult with an attorney.

Does the fact I receive Social Security Disability Benefits affect my ability to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits?

No.  You may still file a workers’ compensation claim even if you receive Social Security Disability (SSD) Benefits.  However, depending on the reason you receive SSD benefits, your entitlement to certain benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act may be limited. 

Further, your SSD benefits may be reduced if you receive workers’ compensation benefits either through settlement or an award by the NC Industrial Commission

To find out what affect if any your SSD benefits would have on a potential workers’ compensation claim, you should contact an attorney.