What is needed to start a workers’ compensation exposure claim?
You are working and become sick, have a bad cough, cannot breathe, get a rash or become dizzy, or feel like throwing up. Maybe co-workers are having the same symptoms. Perhaps you are working in a sick building. You feel better when you leave work. You suspect your medical problem is work-related from something in the air, maybe mold or something getting on or in you.
These claims are very difficult to win. What can you do to start a possible workers’ compensation exposure claim? Be proactive.
Take photos or video of what you think is the problem, for example, mold. Save the photos or videos.
Make a list of witnesses who will help.
Take samples of what is making you sick and put them in a plastic bag. Save them.
Report the exposure to your boss or supervisor ASAP and within 30 days of when you think the exposure is from work.
Request from your employer immediate medical care for your problem.
If there is a chemical involved, ask for a copy of the material safety data sheet (MSDS).
Take a photo of all labels of any products you think may be causing your problem.
If your employer denies your claim or medical care, see a specialist on your own—if your problem is a skin rash then see a dermatologist.
Request a blood test, allergy test, or biopsy, depending on the condition—objective testing right away could mean the difference between winning and losing.
Keep the facts straight--make a factual summary of the exposure--what, when, where, how and who, and update it.
Give the doctor(s) a complete history of the exposure.
If your claim is denied by the insurance company, then hire experienced counsel who handles and brings exposure claims to trial. You have now given yourself--and your lawyer--a good start.