While formaldehyde is used in many industries and has many advantages, workers who are exposed to formaldehyde for an extended period of time can develop cancer over time. If you have discovered that you have cancer, you will want to speak with your physician about whether your injuries were the result of your exposure to formaldehyde. Then, you will want to speak with a workers' compensation lawyer.
How a Workers' Compensation Claim Works
Most employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. If you are injured as a result of work-related activities, you will be able to file a workers' compensation claim and will be entitled to compensation both for medical bills and lost wages.
However, workers' compensation insurance providers will often do everything they can to avoid liability. Therefore, you will need to work with a workers' compensation attorney who can help you build a solid case for why you believe that your condition is the result of formaldehyde at work.
Employers are required to do everything possible to limit exposure to formaldehyde to a level that is safe for workers. They are also responsible for recording the exposure that their workers have to formaldehyde and keeping records for several years. Exposure records must be kept for 30 years and medical records must be kept for 30 years after your employment ends.
Regardless of if you are a former or current worker, you should be allowed access to records. Your attorney, as a representative, should also have access to these records and will be able to use them to support your case.
Does Negligence Matter?
Workers' compensation is a no-fault system. This means that your employer's insurance provider will compensate you for the injuries you have suffered regardless of if your employer was negligent or not. However, if another party was negligent when exposing you to formaldehyde, you may be able to file a personal injury claim as well.
The advantage of a personal injury claim is that you will not receive full compensation through workers' compensation. For example, you may not receive compensation for pain and suffering or for "loss of consortium." To receive compensation for these damages, you would need to file a successful personal injury claim.
However, because workers' compensation insurance providers often deny claims and have lawyers working with them, you will need your own legal team to defend your right to receive compensation for your injuries. Reach out to a work injury attorney to see if you have a case.