Despite federal and state agency regulation of workplace safety, millions of Californians are exposed to hazardous substances in the workplace on a daily basis. The US Department of Labor and the California Department of Industrial Relations regulate the levels of hundreds of known hazardous chemicals (see https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/339.html for a complete list), but statistics show that since 2013 over 25,000 Californians have filed workers’ compensation claims due to exposure to harmful substances. As daunting as the number of claims is, it likely underestimates the actual number of workers who develop illness resulting from hazardous exposure. Unlike orthopedic injuries, which are easy to identify and trace back to a workplace incident or repetitive job duties, a majority of hazardous exposure injuries go unreported because the injured worker is unaware of the contribution of the exposure to his symptoms and/or may have no idea to what substances he is regularly exposed.
While state regulations mandate disclosure of hazardous substances in the workplace to all employees, employers often forgo such disclosure for a variety of reasons, leaving their employees exposed to diseases of the respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems. In some instances, employers themselves are unaware of the dangers lurking in the workplace. It is important to keep in mind that the workers’ compensation system does not require negligence or ill intent on the part of the employer. Employees who are physically or psychologically affected by hazardous substances in their workplace have rights within the workers’ compensation system regardless of the employers’ responsible behavior or lack thereof.
Chemical exposure cases present unique legal challenges that require experience and expertise in the area. Often the most important medical/legal issue in these cases is establishing a connection between the exposure and the medical condition. Having an experienced attorney, familiar with the evidentiary requirements for demonstrating this connection, is imperative as failure to establish a solid medical record can damage a potential case before litigation is initiated. The Law Firm of Rowen, Gurvey & Win has been litigating hazardous exposure cases for over 35 years as part of its workers’ compensation practice. RGW has represented clients in cases involving exposure to PCBs, radiofrequency radiation, agricultural pesticides, valley fever, disinfectants, heavy metals, petroleum products, and solvents.
For example, within the last 5 years the Law Firm of Rowen, Gurvey & Win has represented schoolteachers who developed thyroid conditions and correlative psychological symptoms as a result of exposure to PCB in the Malibu School District.
Rowen, Gurvey & Win has the experience and resources that you need to fully understand your rights under workers’ compensation law, get the medical care you need, and develop a strong legal case so you can obtain the benefits you are entitled to, including disability benefits, coverage for medical expenses, a potentially considerable settlement, or an award at court.