Law/Our blog/Workman’s Compensation — Beyond Physical Accidents

Workman’s Compensation — Beyond Physical Accidents


Every year in California, we see workman’s compensation claims that stem from traumatic injuries, accidents, and even accumulative physical strain. But what about the more subtle effects that can harm employees over time? Let’s take a look at toxic exposure in the workplace and what it means for you as an employee.

If we are reviewing the most common workman’s compensation claims in a normal year, we will typically see a couple of “usual suspects” at the top of the list. It seems most claims are classified under “falls, being struck by an object, electrocution or being caught in between machinery.” And this makes a lot of sense. These are traumatic, most likely widely witnessed injuries. They attract the attention of both coworkers and management, and they get addressed quickly. These kinds of accidents are disruptive to the work environment and, in many instances, extremely dangerous to those injured.

But let’s say you did not suffer a large-scale injury on a given day. Imagine instead that you wake up one morning and have trouble breathing, or you’re facing a strange skin reaction or, even more disastrously, you are experiencing neurological effects.

The first questions that will come up with your doctors will go as follows: What have you been exposed to? How long have you been around it? Where do we go from here?

Here are some things to keep in mind if you find you are suffering from workplace-related toxic exposure:

Contact a Professional as Soon as Possible

If you have experienced symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, skin irritations or rashes, fertility problems, and/or memory or cognitive issues, first get in touch with a medical professional. Hang on to your test results and keep in touch with your care provider. If there is any evidence that these effects resulted from your work environment, engage the services of attorneys who are well versed in workman’s compensation claims.

Know Your Rights

As a worker in California, it is your right to be fully informed about any kind of poisonous, toxic, or harmful materials that you may be exposed to in the course of your work. It is also mandatory that you are completely educated about safe practices and procedures on how to handle these situations. If you do develop adverse reactions to anything you have encountered on the job, make sure you were legitimately advised on how to safely perform your job in those conditions.

Know Your Employer’s Responsibilities

While you may have been keeping track of any potentially harmful substances on the job, that is not the only required observation. Your employer should have also been recording, measuring, and analyzing any toxic exposure encountered by any of its employees. This includes routine physicals, research, and employment records. For instances where carcinogens may in any way be involved, in the state of California, this carries additional requirements.

In any event, where your well-being is compromised, it is important to act fast. As soon as you suspect your workplace as the cause of your medical issues, seek professional legal and medical help. Look out for yourself, and don’t suffer in silence!


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