Thousands of people throughout the United States are diagnosed with asbestos-related medical conditions each year, many of which arise from their workplaces. If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma from work in South Carolina, workers’ compensation for asbestos exposure can be a valuable avenue of recovery.
The attorneys at Wallace & Graham focus heavily on mesothelioma claims and all other injury claims related to asbestos exposure. We have years of successful cases behind us thanks to our team’s commitment to client-focused, compassionate, and responsive legal counsel. If you need help navigating the workers’ compensation claim filing process for asbestos-related health conditions, we are ready to assist you.
While it is technically possible for any injured or sick worker to file a workers’ compensation claim on their own, and there is no legal requirement for them to hire representation, the right attorney can be a tremendous asset in your recovery efforts after any diagnosis with an asbestos-related health condition.
You may encounter challenges you will not know how to overcome on your own, and there is a chance that you could have more recovery options available than you initially realize. Working with an experienced South Carolina asbestos exposure workers’ compensation attorney offers your greatest chance of recovering as much compensation as is legally possible in your situation.
When you choose Wallace & Graham to represent your case, we can prepare you for the workers’ compensation claim filing process and do everything we can to expedite your claim as much as possible. We can streamline the filing of your claim, address any problems you encounter with your employer or their insurance company, and verify that your determination of benefits is fair and reasonable under state law.
Should you have additional avenues of recovery available to you through a mesothelioma injury trust, a personal injury claim, or a combination of legal remedies, you can rely on the team at Wallace & Graham to guide you through these proceedings as swiftly as possible. Our goal for every client is maximum recovery.
Every year, thousands of people across the United States are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a terminal form of lung cancer that is only caused by exposure to asbestos. During the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, asbestos was widely used in construction for its fireproofing capabilities. However, manufacturers of asbestos products and property owners who used the substance in their building projects were unaware of the significant health hazards asbestos presents.
When particles of asbestos become airborne in an interior space, they can linger suspended in the air for days at a time. These particles are very small, sharp, and very light, and if they are inhaled, they will embed into the respiratory system. Over time, the asbestos particles will cause mesothelioma to form.
Mesothelioma is not only a terminal form of lung cancer, meaning it will significantly reduce the victim’s lifespan and has no cure; it also takes a very long time to appear. Diagnosis, on average, happens between 25 and 40 years following exposure. It’s possible for an individual to be diagnosed with mesothelioma decades after they were exposed to asbestos, and symptoms only begin to appear once the disease has reached a critical point.
The average life expectancy for an individual diagnosed with mesothelioma is only 18 months. Because symptoms take so long to appear and there is such a long incubation period for the disease, it is incredibly distressing and frustrating for anyone to realize they have a terminal illness that actually began manifesting decades prior. If you find yourself in this situation, the team at Wallace & Graham can pinpoint the cause of your condition and determine your recovery options.
Under South Carolina law, almost every employer in the state is legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance, and this insurance serves two very important purposes. First, it protects covered employers from civil liability for their injured employee’s damages when they suffer injuries or become ill through their work. Second, insurance provides economic benefits to these workers, helping them with medical expenses and lost income.
Almost every regular worker is covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance in the state, so if you develop any asbestos-related health condition that you believe arose from your workplace, you will have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. You should notify your employer immediately once you become aware of your condition, as there is a limited time after your diagnosis in which you will need to file your claim.
One important detail to remember about work-related asbestos claims is that employers in the United States are legally required to have asbestos removed from their buildings. While most asbestos has been removed at this point, there are many older commercial buildings throughout the United States that still contain asbestos. If your employer knew about an asbestos risk at your work but did nothing about it, it opens the door to additional legal recourse.
If you intend to pursue a workers’ compensation claim for an asbestos-related medical condition caused by your work, you will first need to prove that you were exposed to asbestos at work. One of the most challenging aspects of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related health conditions is that they often take a long time to appear in noticeable ways, sometimes decades. For example, the average diagnosis time for mesothelioma is 25 to 40 years following asbestos exposure.
If you discover that you were recently exposed to asbestos and can prove related damages, you can seek compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Your benefits are likely to include medical expense coverage and disability benefits that can make up for lost income if you cannot work due to your condition.
When you seek medical expense coverage through workers’ compensation insurance, the insurance carrier will want to know how disabled you are from your condition. You will need to undergo a medical evaluation from a workers’ compensation doctor, who will evaluate your condition and assign you a disability rating from one to 100. This rating will indicate the severity of your condition and the extent of benefits you can receive.
If you are approved for workers’ compensation, you can reasonably expect your employer’s insurance carrier to cover all medical expenses related to your diagnosis. This includes all immediate expenses as well as ongoing and future treatment costs. When you have an experienced asbestos exposure workers’ compensation attorney representing you, you are more likely to maximize the benefits you receive in the shortest possible timeframe.
Workers’ compensation insurance typically protects employers in South Carolina from civil liability for their injured workers’ damages. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as any incident in which the employer has compelled the employee to perform work-related duties with virtual certainty of causing adverse health effects.
If your employer knew that you would be exposed to asbestos while working but did not take steps to prevent adverse health outcomes, or if they concealed their knowledge of an asbestos risk, it could open the door for a civil suit against your employer. It is also possible to have grounds for a civil action against a third party who bears fault for your condition.
When you have grounds for a personal injury claim against your employer or any other party, it is imperative to have legal counsel you can trust to guide you through your impending legal proceedings. The average person could make mistakes with court filings or miss procedural deadlines that interfere with their recovery efforts. You can avoid such risks when you have an experienced attorney handling your case.
It’s possible that you can recover substantial benefits through workers’ compensation for asbestos exposure, but the benefits you receive may only represent a fraction of your total losses. Working with an experienced attorney ensures you are prepared to approach any alternative recovery options available to you with confidence and peace of mind.
Under South Carolina law, the plaintiff in a personal injury claim has the right to seek full repayment of all economic damages they suffered because of a defendant’s actions. Some of these are relatively straightforward and easily proven with the correct documentation. Others, specifically any projected future economic damages, are more challenging to calculate.
The state’s personal injury laws allow a plaintiff to claim full repayment of all medical expenses related to their condition. Workers’ compensation may provide generous compensation with respect to your medical treatment costs, but it may not cover the full extent of your medical treatment or all the specific treatments you wish to undergo.
Your asbestos exposure workers’ compensation attorney can help maximize your workers’ compensation benefits and then seek additional compensation for all remaining medical expenses with your personal injury suit. In addition to medical expenses, you also have the right to claim compensation for any income you are unable to earn because of your diagnosis.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the disease only manifests noticeable symptoms once it has reached a critical level, and the symptoms can be painful and debilitating. If you are unable to work, the defendant in your claim is responsible for your lost wages. If you will be unable to work in the future, they are also responsible for the future income you will no longer be able to earn.
Workers’ compensation can provide compensation for your lost income, but there are limits to what a claimant can expect. For example, if you are awarded disability benefits, they will amount to about two-thirds of your average weekly pay each week until you reach maximum medical improvement.
A personal injury claim could enable you to recover compensation for future income you can no longer earn that workers’ compensation can’t cover. If you reasonably expected to be able to continue working until retirement, your South Carolina asbestos exposure workers’ compensation attorney can help you recover all the future income that you can no longer earn.
The plaintiff in a personal injury claim can seek compensation not only for direct financial losses a defendant caused but also for the pain and suffering they experienced because of the defendant’s actions. Mesothelioma is a fatal medical condition, and the average life expectancy is only 18 months after diagnosis. It can be incredibly difficult for anyone to receive this news, and your attorney can determine appropriate pain and suffering compensation to seek.
There is no cap or limit on pain and suffering compensation in state personal injury claims, so you have the right to seek as much as you believe is appropriate to reflect the severity of the harm you experienced. For many plaintiffs in asbestos exposure cases, it means recovering several times the total of their claimed economic damages in pain and suffering compensation.
Workers’ compensation for asbestos exposure may only be a portion of your total recovery options. You will need legal counsel you can trust to help determine the full extent of the options available to you if you want to maximize your recovery in the most efficient manner.
The attorneys at Wallace & Graham offer contingency fee billing for asbestos exposure claims, meaning you will pay our firm a fee only when we win your case, and your fee will be a percentage of the total compensation we recover for you. There is no fee at all if we cannot obtain a case award.
Asbestos related diseases can be devastating, and we understand the toll it takes on you and your family. Time is a crucial consideration if you intend to pursue workers’ compensation benefits and other avenues of recovery following work-related asbestos exposure. Contact Wallace & Graham today to schedule a free consultation with our team and find out how we can help you recover.