Black mold is a known problem relating to water damage indoors. While OSHA recognizes that mold is a known danger of employment, especially in certain vocations, there are no federal standards for dealing with water-damaged buildings. Employers are responsible, however, when their employees are sickened due to work-related dangers including environmental toxins related to water-damaged buildings.
If you believe that you have suffered illness due to an environmental toxin in your workplace, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. The process will not be simple, but toxic exposure to mold can cause serious health complications. You are entitled to expenses related to any treatment and part of your wages while you recover. In this article, we’ll discuss how to deal with black mold exposure in your workplace.
Step 1: Take pictures of water-damaged areas
You’ll want evidence of black mold and environmental toxins and/or water damage to the building. On this basis, you can prove that your employer exposed you to a hazardous condition.
Step 2: See your doctor
Black mold and other environmental toxins can lead to a condition known as chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS). You should make them aware that you have been exposed to a water-damaged building during your appointment. CIRS can be difficult to diagnose and presents with similar symptoms to several other common ailments. Your doctor may not know to look for CIRS unless you tell them you have been exposed to a water-damaged building.
Those who have been exposed to black mold suffer numerous debilitating symptoms that reduce their quality of life and are potentially life-threatening. Even in cases where the condition is not life-threatening, it can lead to permanent disability.
Your doctor will diagnose your condition and provide evidence that environmental toxins are causing your illness.
Step #3: Alert your employer and union
Once you have evidence of water damage plus a doctor’s opinion, you should alert your employer. The employer will have a vested interest in avoiding future claims. At this point, the claims process begins.
If you are in a union, the union can provide significant help to your cause. They too should be aware of your work-related injury.
Step #3: Document everything
While your employer has to develop a friendly relationship with you, it’s not your employer who is deciding whether to pay your claim or not—it’s their insurer. The insurer will not give you the benefit of the doubt. They want to deny as many claims as possible and if your case file leaves doubt as to the primary cause, then they will deny your claim. Evidence of water damage plus symptoms forces the insurance company to pay up.
Step #4: Contact an attorney
Environmental cases related to the workplace can be tricky to win. Insurance companies can keep the ball in play by raising doubt as to the primary cause of the exposure or the diagnosis. Nonetheless, you are entitled to recover benefits if you are injured in the course of your employment. The New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys at Schibell Law, LLC can help you prove your claim and recover your benefits. Call today to learn more.