Any work environment in Charlotte has the potential to be dangerous. However, the danger is elevated in workplaces that store, use, produce, or process harmful toxins and chemicals. Despite North Carolina’s strict safety regulations, accidents that release dangerous, even life-threatening substances can still occur. If an employee swallows, inhales, touches, or otherwise comes into contact with a harmful substance, severe and disabling injury can result.
A worker who has been injured or become ill as a result of job-related chemical exposure may be entitled to financial compensation, otherwise known as “workers’ compensation” or simply “workers’ comp.” However, it is important to be represented by an experienced Charlotte workers’ comp attorney when pursuing benefits. There are many reasons an employer or insurance company could deny your claim or cause a delay in your benefits timeline. An attorney can help to facilitate the process while protecting your legal rights as an injured worker.
If you or a family member developed cancer, suffered organ damage, sustained chemical burns, or suffered other injuries as a result of workplace exposure to carcinogens or harmful chemicals, we encourage you to contact the Ramsay Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation concerning your legal options. To discuss compensation for a workplace chemical injury in Charlotte, call our law offices right away at (877) 576-5500.
Exposure to Dangerous Industrial Chemicals and Toxins
In an industrially and technologically advanced society, almost everything we own or do relies on a blend of chemicals. Chemicals are used to make car parts, pesticides, cosmetics, medications, containers, appliances, household cleaners, and virtually all other products. Chemicals make modern comforts possible, but certain varieties can inflict excruciating and debilitating injuries when exposed to skin, eyes, or other tissue.
Many chemicals are harmless or capable only of causing mild irritation. However, many others are extremely lethal, even in small quantities. Many are odorless, colorless, and tasteless, which increases the risk of serious injury or death resulting from exposure. Toxic chemicals may be in a gas, liquid, or solid state during transportation, storage, production, or use.
Examples of toxins, radioactive substances, and hazardous materials that give rise to workers’ compensation claims include:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Other Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) include:
- Dimethyl Sulfate
- Hydrogen Bromide
- Hydrogen Chloride
- Hydrogen Cyanide
- Nitric Oxide
- Nitrogen Dioxide
- Sulfur Dioxide
- Sulfuric Acid
Compared to the general population, employees who work at chemical plants in Charlotte are at heightened risk of exposure to these and other dangerous substances. Depending on the chemical, the size of the dose, the duration of exposure, and other factors, consequences of exposure could include any of the following:
- Brain Damage
- Breathing/Respiratory Problems
- Chemical Burns
- Cognitive Impairment
- Heart Damage
- Liver Damage
- Lung Damage
- Organ Failure
- Skin Disorders
- Vision Loss
Charlotte Workplace Chemical Exposure and Poisoning Attorney
The tough reality is that insurance companies have their bottom lines in mind — not your best interests as a hard-working North Carolinian. Chemical companies and other employers are supported by teams of attorneys, case managers, and insurance company adjusters, which you will be up against when you are filing your claim.
Workers’ Compensation for Industrial Accidents and Chemical Spills in North Carolina
When an employee is injured at work, or during the course of his or her job duties, the employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation. The purpose of workers’ compensation, which is a type of insurance that is mandatory for most North Carolina chemical companies under state law, is to compensate job-related accident survivors for their medical bills and losses of income, in addition to providing disability benefits. If your company has three or more employees and is structured as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC), you are likely to be covered by workers’ compensation.
The first step to obtaining workers’ compensation in North Carolina is to notify your employer of the injury. The sooner you are able to notify your employer, the sooner the workers’ compensation claims process can begin.
Your employer will require you to see a physician of his or her choosing. You are free to see an additional doctor, but the costs may not be covered.
Unfortunately, the doctors who work for these industrial work injury clinics tend to be biased in favor of employers. In many cases, they have preexisting arrangements with employers to make conservative diagnoses that downplay the true severity of the victim’s injuries. This can result in difficulties getting a claim approved, or difficulties reaching a fair offer. An attorney from the Ramsay Law Firm can step in to protect your rights if you think you are being treated unfairly by your employer, doctor, or insurance company.
We can also help you determine whether it is appropriate to sue your employer following chemical exposure at work. Even though chemical workers in North Carolina are normally prohibited from filing personal injury lawsuits against their employers, there are also some exceptions that apply in cases where injuries were caused intentionally, or occurred because of exceptionally extreme misconduct on the part of an employer. Further, it is sometimes possible to sue manufacturing companies and other outside parties when illnesses or injuries, such as chemical burns, are caused by defective products, such as defective safety valves. Personal injury and product liability lawsuits can result in an injured worker receiving compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other hardships resulting from an industrial chemical spill accident.
To level the playing field and give yourself a fighting chance at obtaining fair benefits, you need tough and strategic representation by an aggressive, experienced workplace chemical exposure attorney who is well-versed in state worker protection laws. To talk about your workers’ compensation claim confidentially in a free legal consultation, call the Ramsay Law Firm at (877) 576-5500.