Occupational Asbestos Exposure and Workers’ Compensation
Prior to the 1970s many American construction projects utilized insulation containing asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral fiber compound that, due to its resistance to heat, fire, and many different types of chemicals, was used in many everyday products and building materials before it was discovered that asbestos exposure can cause of number of serious health problems. Most notably, asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops in the tissue layer that covers many internal organs. Mesothelioma is a slow growing cancer that, unfortunately, is often diagnosed after the disease is already advanced and the host’s chances of survival are very low.
Mesothelioma and Workers’ Compensation Claims
Individuals who contract mesothelioma due to occupational asbestos exposure are often eligible to collect workers’ compensation in Iowa as our state’s workers’ compensation system is in place to financially assist employees who are injured due to a work-related injury or occupational illness. However, anyone interested in filing a mesothelioma workers’ compensation claim in Iowa should be aware that Iowa law (under section 85.26 of the Iowa Code) requires most proceedings for workers’ compensation benefits to be commenced within two years of the date on which the employee discovered, or should have reasonably discovered, his/her injury for which benefits are being claimed. Claims filed outside of the time period prescribed by this statute of limitations are generally barred from recovery so it is very important that all workers’ compensation claims are filed in a timely manner. Because the symptoms of mesothelioma often take years to manifest, Iowa’s workers’ compensation statute of limitations clock generally begins to run when the injured employee should have reasonably discovered their injury. This precise date is very important and is often hotly debated, however, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be able to review your case and determine when your statute of limitations clock likely started to tick.
Mesothelioma and Personal Injury Claims
Some employees who contract mesothelioma from occupational asbestos exposure will benefit more from filing a personal injury claim then they will from seeking workers’ compensation benefits. However, personal injury claims are very different from workers’ compensation claims in that the former requires the injured individual to prove that another party’s negligence, wrongful act, or failure to warn caused their injury while the latter does not. In occupational asbestos exposure personal injury cases the injured party generally argues that their employer knowingly exposed them to the hazardous condition and/or that the asbestos manufacturing company failed to adequately warn of the health risks associated with asbestos exposure.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you have suffered from on the job asbestos exposure, or some other job-related injury or illness, work with the experienced Southeast Iowa workers’ compensation lawyers of the Noyes Law Office to get the recovery you deserve. Call our Fairfield office today at (641) 472-3236, or contact us online, to schedule your free initial consultation. We would be happy to discuss your legal options with you at your earliest convenience.