Does Workers' Compensation Cover Asbestos Exposure?

Posted by Allison Sullivan on Feb 19, 2019 10:36:15 AM

Man in hazmat suit removing asbestos from shipyardWhile exposure to asbestos in the workplace is less common than a few decades ago, there are still many older buildings and industries in South Carolina where developing an illness or injury as a result of asbestos exposure is possible, especially along coastal areas that have had heavy involvement in the shipbuilding industry.

Since the diseases that result from asbestos exposure can take years or even decades to develop, affected workers may struggle to prove a direct connection when they file a Workers' Compensation claim in South Carolina.

If you've developed mesothelioma, asbestosis, or another illness or condition caused by exposure to asbestos on the job, you do have options available to recover the costs associated with medical treatment and recovery.

Let's take a look.

Does Workers' Compensation Cover Asbestos Exposure?

Yes, providing the affected worker can prove a direct connection within the statute of limitations.

Most recent news headlines regarding development of the two most common illnesses associated with prolonged asbestos exposure — mesothelioma and asbestosis — have involved the recent court case in which Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder was found to be directly responsible for mesothelioma developed by Jackie Fox.

However, what often goes unspoken in common discussions of asbestos is how often South Carolina's workers are still subject to exposure today.

Major industrial sources of asbestos exposure in South Carolina include:

  • Shipbuilding: Asbestos insulation was once used exclusively in the construction of oceangoing vessels. Even after large-scale removal of asbestos from shipbuilding construction, exposure to the carcinogenic substance remains a significant risk both to workers and visitors.
  •  Energy: Power plants once frequently used asbestos in the construction of gaskets, valve seals, pipe fittings, pumps, machinery insulation, and other parts used every day in power plants throughout the state. Exposure to asbestos is still possible, especially for workers employed at older plants throughout the state.
  •  Paper: South Carolina has many paper mills and plants where asbestos was used heavily while developing paper products. Locations where asbestos exposure was common ranging from Greenville in the Upstate all the way down to Georgetown on the coast.
  •  Military: We've discussed military exposure to asbestos before, and you can find more specific information on what to do if you are a military veteran exposed to asbestos right here. Civilians who lived or worked on military bases may also have been exposed to asbestos.

While these are the most common workplaces with exposure to asbestos, they are by no means the only ones. There have been examples of mesothelioma resulting from workplace asbestos exposure in locations like hospitals, law firms, and residential job sites throughout South Carolina.

More on the Statue of Limitations for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim for Asbestos Exposure

Workers' Compensation claims are subject to time constraints, and so it is essential to speak with a legal representative as soon as possible after you become aware that your illness results from asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma, which has a long latency period, may not be diagnosed within the time frame required for a Workers' Compensation claim, and workers who develop mesothelioma are often no longer employed at the workplace where the exposure happened.

Individuals who develop asbestosis are more likely to be able to file a Workers' Compensation claim, as the disease has a much shorter latency period than mesothelioma and is more likely to be diagnosed during the time of employment.

If you've developed mesothelioma or asbestosis after workplace exposure to asbestos, you deserve to have your individual rights represented while you fight to recover costs associated with your medical treatment, time off work, and other costs incurred.

If you have developed mesothelioma but worry about being past the statute of limitations for filing Workers' Compensation, don't give up. There are other recovery options available for individuals suffering from mesothelioma and their loved ones.

Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Columbia, SC

Our Workers' Compensation team is dedicated to representing injured workers in South Carolina, and we're ready to stand by your side while you fight for your rights. 

Contact us by phone at (803) 779-5799 or online at any time to request your FREE Workers' Compensation consultation.

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Topics: Worker's Compensation