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Chemicals make our society possible, but many are extremely dangerous when inhaled, ingested, or touched without skin protection. Employees who work with or around hazardous chemicals, such as hazmat workers, medical researchers, and refinery workers, are at heightened risk of coming into contact with a caustic, carcinogenic, or toxic chemical. Even if a worker performs his or her job with caution, issues like defective storage tanks can still lead to chemical spills that jeopardize the health and safety of dozens or hundreds of people. In other cases, punctured or defective protective gear plays a role in exposing the employee to danger.

If you, your husband or wife, or one of your family members suffered chemical burns, nerve damage, or other illnesses or injuries as a result of chemical exposure in the workplace, workers’ compensation may be available. Workers’ compensation pays a portion of your pre-accident wages to help provide you with income, while alleviating the financial burden of medical care. However, in order to start receiving benefits, you must file a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina.

This can be an arduous and confusing process, particularly if your physician or employer disputes your claim. It is in your best interests to get help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, like the attorneys of the Ramsay Law Firm, who can help you file a claim, appeal a denial, or restore benefits that have been improperly suspended or terminated. For a free legal consultation about workers’ compensation benefits for a workplace chemical accident in Charlotte, call our law offices at (877) 576-5500 today.

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Chemical Exposure Workers’ Compensation Claims in NC

Industrial chemicals have thousands of uses, providing products with flexibility, durability, shape, or all three. Even when workers follow regulations and company policies carefully, these chemicals can be released from a beaker, container, or storage drum in the blink of an eye, leaking into the air or splashing onto the worker’s body.

While some chemicals are harmless, many can cause effects that range from mild eye irritation to rapid and fatal organ failure. Depending on their occupation, examples of dangerous chemicals that workers could become exposed to include:

  • Ammonium Perchlorate
  • Arsenic Hydride
  • Bromine
  • Boron Trichloride
  • Boron Trifluoride
  • Cellulose Nitrate
  • Chlorine
  • Diacetyl Peroxide
  • Diborane
  • Ethyl Nitrite
  • Ethylene Oxide
  • Fluorine
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Hydrogen Bromide
  • Hydrogen Chloride
  • Hydrogen Cyanide
  • Hydrogen Fluoride
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Isopropylamine
  • Nitric Acid
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Pentaborane
  • Perchloryl Fluoride
  • Propyl Nitrate
  • Sarin
  • Sulfur Pentafluoride
  • Sulfur Tetrafluoride
  • Tetramethyl Lead

These chemicals have all been identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as “toxic and reactive highly hazardous chemicals which present a potential for a catastrophic event” when released in large enough amounts. Other toxic chemicals and substances that a worker could become exposed to, depending on his or her work environment and job duties, might include:

  • Asbestos
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Mercury
  • Radioactive Materials
  • Silica
  • Toluene

Depending on the substance, quantity, and the nature of the exposure – for example, whether the substance was swallowed, inhaled, or came into contact with the worker’s bare skin – a range of devastating internal and external injuries could result, potentially leading to long-term or permanent disability, or even the death of the victim. Examples of illnesses and injuries caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals include:

  • Cancer and Occupational Disease
  • Chemical Burns
  • Ear Injuries and Hearing Loss
  • Eye Injuries and Vision Loss
  • Hair Loss
  • Heart Failure
  • Infertility
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver Failure
  • Lung Damage
  • Loss of Sensation
  • Nerve Damage
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Scarring and Disfigurement
  • Skin Irritation

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What Benefits Are Available for Injured Workers in NC?

Under the existing workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina, most types of chemical workers are entitled to benefits after a chemical spill, industrial accident, or minor chemical leak occurs. The first step on the path toward receiving benefits is to promptly report the injury to your employer, which must be done within 30 days of the date of injury.

After you have reported the accident to your employer, he or she should file a claim to continue the process. If your employer neglects or refuses to file a claim, or does not provide workers’ compensation coverage, we urge you to contact our law offices immediately for a free consultation about how you should handle the situation. Your employer may initially direct your medical care, but you may request a different physician by filing certain forms, which your attorney can also assist you with.

Benefits are generally paid for up to a maximum of 500 weeks, which is roughly equivalent to nine and a half years. However, depending on the nature of your injuries and resulting disability, it may be possible to continue receiving benefits after the 500-week period has elapsed. Benefits are capped at approximately 66.66% of your average weekly wage before your injury occurred. Workers’ compensation benefits are normally paid on a weekly basis, but it may be possible to make a monthly payment arrangement, depending on the case. Types of benefits that are available may include:

  • Disability Benefits
  • Disfigurement Benefits
  • Medical Benefits
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

Additionally, death benefits may be available in cases where chemical exposure causes the death of an employee.

Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Chemical Injuries in the Workplace

Being exposed to poisonous chemicals can change the course of your life forever, particularly if you will require ongoing medical care as a result of your injury or illness. While workers’ compensation cannot take back a workplace accident, it can provide you with weekly or monthly payments while you are in recovery, relieving the financial strain caused by surgery, hospital admission, and other medical costs. For a free legal consultation about filing a workers’ compensation claim, appealing a denied workers’ comp claim, or other matters involving workers’ compensation benefits in Charlotte, NC, call the Ramsay Law Firm at (877) 576-5500 right away.

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