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Can I Recover Workers’ Compensation for Silicosis?

It’s no secret that dangerous industries include construction and industrial work. From struck-by accidents to concussions, there are many invisible dangers that construction site and industrial workers face every day. One primary hazard that can lead to life-altering health consequences for hardworking Californians is cumulative respiratory crystalline silica exposure (CRCSE). Inhaling these harmful particles can lead to silicosis, a deadly disease that causes inflammation, lesions, and scar tissue buildup in the lungs. 

Although the mortality rate for silicosis has dropped by 90% since the late 1960s, OSHA estimates that millions of workers are still exposed to high levels of silica on the job, putting their lives at stake. According to the American Lung Association, approximately 2.3 million U.S. workers are exposed to silica dust in the workplace, increasing the risk of contracting this life-threatening disease.

While no amount of compensation could possibly make up for the loss of a loved one, there are steps you can take to pursue justice. Keep reading to learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim for silicosis in California.

What Is Silicosis?

Silicosis is a dangerous illness caused by the inhalation of respirable silica dust, which is primarily found in stone cutters and fabricators. When silica dust enters the lungs, it can make it difficult for workers to breathe, jeopardizing their lives and well-being.

There is no known cure for silicosis. Many patients require a double-lung transplant, which can be difficult to attain, let alone afford. If you or a loved one contracted silicosis on the job, it’s imperative to seek sound counsel from an experienced workers’ compensation attorneys as soon as possible to pursue justice and recover benefits for medical expenses, treatment costs, and more.

Symptoms of Silicosis

Silicosis presents similar symptomology to other lung diseases. Common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

What Causes Silicosis?

Silica is a common mineral found on construction sites, particularly in construction materials like soil, concrete, rocks, sand, granite, cement, mortar, brick, and landscaping products. When construction workers are exposed to silica dust on the job, such as while drilling, grinding, cutting, or demolition work, they can contract silicosis, a serious disease that can lead to fatal consequences.

Silicosis takes an average of 10-15 years to appear, although the disease can reveal itself as early as one year after contraction.

Who Is at Risk of Silicosis?

Many individuals diagnosed with silicosis work in the construction industry. This illness commonly affects young Latino men who come to the U.S. seeking better lives and work opportunities. Because silicosis tends to impact young workers, many patients are unable to afford life-saving medical care, leading to fatal consequences.

Silicosis can affect any employee exposed to silica dust on the job, such as those working with quartz, natural granite, and other materials with a high concentration of silica dust.Although quartz countertops are becoming increasingly popular for their durability and stain resistance, this material contains a dangerous amount of silica dust, increasing the risk of this deadly disease.

Which individuals are at a high risk of silicosis? This disease commonly affects workers in the following industries:

  • Construction: Silicosis commonly affects construction workers who engage in jackhammering, rock drilling and chipping, tunneling, sandblasting, asphalt milling, and cutting materials like concrete and brick.
  • Ceramics manufacturing: Workers who manufacture ceramic goods can face continuous exposure to silica in raw materials like feldspar, clay, and silica sand. Processes like mixing, blasting, and polishing release sizable amounts of breathable silica dust, putting workers at high risk for silicosis.
  • Stone countertop fabrication: With quartz countertops on the rise, more workers are cutting and finishing granite, marble, and engineered stone, all of which can release hazardous silica dust. Employees in stone countertop fabrication shops, especially those who perform dry cutting and grinding, are at risk due to the high silica content involved.
  • Foundry work: Workers who perform metal casting can face silica exposure during the sand casting process. The preparation and handling of sand for molds and cores can release silica for inhalation, putting foundry workers at a high risk of silicosis.

Recovering Workers’ Compensation for Silicosis

Silicosis can lead to life-threatening consequences for many hardworking Californians. It’s crucial to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover compensation for economic damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses) and non-economic damages (e.g., emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and other non-financial losses).

If you lost a loved one to silicosis, filing a wrongful death claim can ensure your family receives compensation for funeral costs, burial expenses, and other financial burdens. Our firm has recovered over $100 million on behalf of California workers and their families, making us well-equipped to represent your best interests and help you demand a fair settlement.

Importance of Hiring Experienced Representation

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with silicosis due to workplace exposure, securing skilled representation from a qualified workers’ comp lawyer is critical to protect your rights, recover benefits, and most importantly, pursue the justice you and your family rightfully deserve during this difficult time.

If you or a loved one was harmed by silica dust exposure in the workplace, our passionate attorneys can assist with:

  • Filing your claim: Our attorneys can carefully guide you through the various steps of filing your claim with the appropriate court to ensure everything is in order and reduce the chance of your claim being dismissed.

Fortifying your case with strong evidence: Our lawyers can collect, organize, and present compelling evidence to support your claim to establish liability and meet the standard of proof in your case.

  • Consulting with relevant experts: Our firm utilizes a vast network of professional resources and connections, allowing us to arrange and obtain valuable testimonies from experts and specialists to strengthen your claim.
  • Navigating the legal intricacies of your case: Filing a silicosis lawsuit can be daunting, especially without an in-depth knowledge of California law. Our lawyers have over 5o years of experience to guide your steps wisely throughout the process, assisting with necessary paperwork while managing filing deadlines and court dates.
  • Negotiating effectively on your behalf: Insurers and other third parties have an unfavorable reputation for using manipulative tactics to take advantage of injured plaintiffs, such as pushing lowballed settlements or using unnecessarily complex legal jargon. We can fight for a fair settlement to ensure all liable parties are held accountable for the harm they’ve inflicted.

Dependable Advocacy for California Workers

At Rodich Law, we understand how frustrating and frightening it can be to navigate the aftermath of a serious workplace injury. From protecting your employment to affording the medical care you need to get healthy, there can be a lot to worry about during the recovery period. That’s why our seasoned workers’ comp attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of wrongfully injured workers in Woodland Hills.

With over 50 years of experience and a proven track record of results, our lawyers have recovered over $100 million on behalf of clients throughout Southern California. Our advocates have a comprehensive understanding of workers’ compensation laws to aggressively pursue maximum compensation on your behalf, allowing you to focus on healing. From union worker injuries to airline and airport accidents, our firm can fight tirelessly to recover damages, restoring your peace of mind that your rights are protected.

If you lost a loved one to silica dust exposure in the workplace, our determined advocates can pursue justice. Call 818-888-3000 to schedule a free consultation.

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