Workplace injuries and illnesses take many forms and require a variety of legal strategies to secure compensation. One of the more complex types of cases involves proving that an illness was caused by on-the-job exposure to industrial chemicals like benzene.
Benzene, sweet-smelling chemical in gasoline and industrial solvents, is known to cause blood cancers, including various types of leukemia, according to the American Cancer Society.
Some of the highest levels of benzene exposure may be found in workers who transport or distribute petroleum products or are involved in the manufacture of products like detergents, pharmaceuticals and explosives.
Since cancer from benzene typically arises from long-term exposure to the chemical, most of the victims are at least 30 years old. Some studies have found that it may take between 5 and 20 years after exposure to benzene for leukemia to develop.
Workers who fall ill from exposure to benzene or other chemicals containing benzene my have access to multiple types of compensation. Land-based workers are generally covered by workers’ compensation insurance through the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).
Sea-based workers may be seek “maintenance and cure” benefits from their employers under maritime common law, as well as additional compensation under the Jones Act. If your benzene exposure was caused by a third-party, you may also have a claim against them for full damages and compensation.
If you have been diagnosed with blood cancer after exposure to benzene at work, call Emery Reddy for a free consultation. We help workers.