Exposure to Toxic Substances

Beaumont Exposure to Toxic Substances Attorneys

Toxic chemicals and hazardous materials can enter the body and cause significant harm to someone’s health. In severe cases, they lead to death. Many workers come in contact with toxic substances daily. That creates a dangerous situation where injury and illness can occur.

A lot of employers fail to properly train their employees or don’t provide the necessary environment or safety gear needed to keep their employees safe. Some injuries caused by toxic exposure can appear immediately, as in the case of burn injuries or scarring. But some illnesses caused by toxic exposure take years to manifest.

At Portner Bond, PLLC, we have experience pursuing benefits for those who get injured from exposure to toxic substances. We’ll work to ensure that you receive your full workers’ compensation benefits when you’re unable to return to your job due to your injury or illness. If needed, we’ll pursue compensation from other third parties whose negligence contributed to your injury or illness.

Contact Portner Bond, PLLC today at (409) 838-4444 to schedule a free consultation. We represent workers, not companies, and we’re here to help.

Exposure to Toxic Substances Injuries

When you touch or breathe in chemicals, you put your health at risk. If you don’t have safety equipment to protect yourself, you could sustain a range of injuries. The most common injuries resulting from exposure to toxic substances include:

  • Brain damage
  • Burns and scarring
  • Organ damage
  • Eye injury leading to vision impairment or blindness
  • Reproductive system damage
  • Death

Even initial exposure to toxic chemicals can cause debilitating effects. Headaches, rashes, dizziness, and nausea are just some of the problems workers experience in the early stages of exposure. Some side effects develop over time and become severe medical conditions.

Illnesses that could develop from short or long-term exposure include:

  • Cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Mesothelioma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • RADS (reactive airways dysfunction syndrome)
  • Asbestosis
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Aplastic anemia

Types of Toxic Substances in the Workplace

Those who work in factories, construction, and industrial plants encounter dust, liquids, and vapors each time they set foot on the job site. Some chemicals get inhaled into the lungs, while others enter an individual’s body through their skin.

Despite how the exposure occurs, any contact with toxic materials is dangerous. There are a variety of substances found in the workplace or job site that could result in physical harm to those exposed to them.

  • Mercury
  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Pesticides
  • Industrial alcohol
  • Sodium dioxide
  • Tungsten
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Photoresists
  • Creosote
  • Silica

How to Recover Compensation

If you sustained an injury or developed an illness from toxic substance exposure, you should report it to your employer immediately. Under Texas law, you have thirty days to notify your employer so they can submit a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

After you let your employer know that you became injured or ill on the job, you have to seek medical treatment. An initial evaluation should be with a doctor approved by the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you would like to see your own physician, you can; however, workers’ compensation benefits likely won’t cover it.

If your employer or their insurer sends you to a specific doctor and you don’t like them, you have to request someone else from the commissioner. Upon approval of your request, you’ll receive a referral for a new physician that specializes in the injury or illness you have and accepts workers’ compensation claims.

Benefits Available Under Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If your employer provides workers’ compensation to injured employees, you’re allowed to pursue a claim for benefits. There are four kinds of benefits available, depending on the type of injury and how it affects your ability to perform at work.

Temporary Income Benefits

If you’re unable to return to work entirely for some time or you can resume employment but not to your full capacity, you’re eligible for temporary benefits. Payments would begin after your first week away from work.

Benefits continue until one of the following circumstances occur:

  • Your doctor places you at MMI (maximum medical improvement), which means your injury will likely not improve despite further medical treatment;
  • You can return to your job and earn the same wages you made before the injury; or
  • You collected benefits for 104 weeks.

If you have or need to have spinal surgery, you can potentially extend your benefits as long as you apply within 12 weeks of the deadline.

Impairment Income Benefits

Once your doctor places you on MMI, they will evaluate your injury to determine if you have a permanent impairment. They will rate the severity of your impairment based on a percentage from 1% to 99%.

If you’re still unable to return to your job, but received the maximum amount of temporary income benefits, you can apply for impairment income benefits. The duration of payments depends on your impairment rating (three weeks for each percentage point).

Supplemental Income Benefits

After you use up your impairment benefits, you might be able to apply for supplemental income benefits. To qualify, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • Your doctor gave you an impairment rating of 15% or higher;
  • You can’t return to work or earn a minimum of 80% of your pre-injury wages;
  • You didn’t receive your impairment income benefits as a lump sum payment;
  • You’re actively trying to find a job or participating in vocational rehabilitation; and
  • You reapply every three months with documentation showing you’re eligible.

You’re allowed to receive supplemental benefits up to 401 weeks as long as you meet all the qualifications above.

Lifetime Income Benefits

For severe injury that leads to a permanent disability, you can receive lifetime benefits, but only for the following impairments:

  • Amputation or total inability to use both hands or feet, or one of each;
  • Spinal injury causing paralysis in both legs, arms, or one of each;
  • Total blindness;
  • Traumatic brain injury leading to an incurable mental impairment; or
  • Third-degree burn covering a minimum of 40% of the body and requiring a skin graft, or burns that cover most of both hands, or one hand and the face.

Additional Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In addition to benefits for lost wages and medical treatment, Texas law also allows for the following:

  • Travel expenses: Reimbursement for traveling to and from doctor appointments at facilities at least thirty miles from your home.
  • Vocational rehabilitation: If you’re unable to return to the job you had before your injury, you can undergo training and get assistance finding a new place of employment.
  • Death benefits: When toxic substance exposure leads to a fatality, the deceased’s immediate family members, such as a spouse or child, can receive a payment of 75% of pre-injury wages along with a maximum of $10,00 towards burial costs.

Schedule Your Free Consultation at Portner Bond, PLLC

Did you suffer an injury from exposure to toxic substances on the job? If so, contact Portner Bond, PLLC to find out how we can help you pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. We also won’t hesitate to pursue compensation from any third parties whose wrongful actions contributed to your injury or illness.

We believe in seeking justice for injured workers throughout Texas. We work hard to ensure they receive the money owed to them for their suffering. There’s no risk to meet with us and discuss your case. Call (409) 838-4444 today to schedule your free consultation.