Can You Develop Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Work?

Can You Develop Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Work?

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Can You Develop Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Work?

Referred to as “The Silent Killer,” carbon monoxide represents an odorless and colorless gas that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) kills more than 400 Americans each year. An additional 50,000 victims of the deadly gas receive treatment for unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning at a hospital. In the workplace, carbon monoxide causes more fatalities than any other toxic substance except for alcohol. Thousands of workers suffer from the toxic effects of the gas because of high levels of exposure. A growing number of employers provide training for workers that educates them about the signs and symptoms of inhaling the potentially deadly gas.

Despite the education efforts, carbon monoxide poisoning at work remains a problem for employers. If you suffered from the ill effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, you might be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Also called workers’ comp, the financial safety net for workers that become ill or injured on the job requires the submission of a claim form, as well as following a series of steps that are required by state laws. The benefits granted by the workers’ compensation program vary by state. Texas remains the only state that does not mandate employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.

Before you file a workers’ compensation claim, you should hire an attorney who specializes in handling workers’ comp cases. Although employers buy workers’ compensation insurance policies, you might have to deal with an employer’s insurance company that refuses to compensate you for suffering from the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning at work. One of the experienced lawyers at Morgan & Morgan can help you receive the compensation you deserve for paying medical bills and making up for lost wages.

Schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about how one of the workers’ compensation attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can help you receive approval of a claim.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • Which Workers Are at the Highest Risk of Carbon Monoxide Exposure?

    Professionals that work in environments such as warehouses, boiler rooms, and petroleum refineries are especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning at work. If you work in the paper and steel production industries, the risk of carbon monoxide exposure increases significantly as well. Harmful levels of carbon monoxide can develop near docks and blast furnaces.
    Firefighters are at a high risk of carbon monoxide exposure every time they respond to a fire. Diesel engine operators work close to sources of carbon monoxide, as do garage mechanics. Professionals such as longshore and marine terminal workers deal with the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning at work every day.

    The most effective way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning at work is to monitor potential sources of the gas closely. Employers that operate manufacturing facilities should ensure proper ventilation to protect workers from the many signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Work?

    The signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure closely resemble the signs and symptoms of the flu. Since the length of time determines the severity of carbon monoxide symptoms, a worker can experience mild signs or serious signs of the healthcare ailment.

    Mild signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, confusion, and difficulty breathing. As the signs and symptoms become more obvious, exposure to carbon monoxide can force a worker to seek emergency medical treatment, Frequent seizures, loss of consciousness, and a severely impaired mental state reflect a high level of exposure to the potentially fatal gas. The inability to breathe and a loss of coordination also demonstrate a victim is suffering from the worst of carbon monoxide signs and symptoms.

    Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide, such as working near a source of the gas daily, can cause extensive brain damage, advanced heart disease, and several health risks in unborn infants.

  • What Are the Signs That Indicate the Presence of Carbon Monoxide?

    Because of the costs that are associated with treating victims of carbon monoxide poisoning at work, many employers train their workers to notice the signs that indicate the presence of the potentially deadly gas.

    Gas flames that burn a deep orange or yellow when the flames should be blue indicate a source of carbon monoxide is nearby. Coal and wood fires that extinguish shortly after being lit indicate a lack of oxygen that might be connected to a source of carbon monoxide. An increase in moisture that collects on the inside of windows and a fire that is difficult to ignite also might indicate the presence of carbon monoxide.

    Knowing the signs of the odorless gas can help you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at work.

  • What Is Workers’ Compensation?

    If you become ill or sustain an injury at work, you might be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Required by 49 states, workers’ comp protects both workers and their employers. Workers receive protection in the form of financial assistance after a workplace accident causes an illness or an injury. Employers receive protection because they pay for insurance to compensate employees. If you get sick or hurt while at work, you file a claim with your employer’s insurance company. Each of the 49 states that have established a workers’ comp program operates a state agency that oversees the program, as well as helps workers and employers resolve disputes.
    Workers that file a claim for compensation typically waive the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.

    However, some states have modified their workers’ compensation statutes to allow litigation for workplace injuries in narrowly defined circumstances. For example, if your employer failed to provide safety protection against the development of carbon monoxide, your employer might be guilty of committing one or more acts of negligence.

  • What Are the Benefits Awarded for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

    The requirements established for workers’ compensation programs in each of the 49 states that mandate insurance coverage vary in both coverage and types of benefits allowed. For example, some states exempt small businesses from participating in the workers' compensation program. Other states establish different requirements for different industries. However, a vast majority of states require employers to grant the same workers’ comp benefits.

    If you suffered from the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning at work, your employer might pay a replacement salary that is valued at less than your full salary. The best you can do for salary replacement is to receive two-thirds of your income. You also might have to pay taxes on the value of a salary replacement.

    Another workers’ compensation benefit concerns healthcare costs. Exposure to carbon monoxide can generate thousands of dollars in medical bills. To submit a persuasive claim, you have to submit the results of diagnostic tests, which typically are costly. Treatment programs and physical therapy sessions also rapidly increase the amount of money that you owe for healthcare services.

    If the workers’ compensation attorney from Morgan & Morgan who meets with you for a free case evaluation suggests you file a personal injury claim, you can receive more money in lost wages and the costs associated with medical care. Carbon monoxide poisoning at work might force you to pay for an extended hospital stay, as well as wear medical devices that monitor certain symptoms. Filing a personal injury claim also can make you eligible for monetary damages that cover pain and suffering, as well as the loss of consortium.

  • What Is the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process?

    When you meet with a workers’ compensation lawyer from Morgan & Morgan, you can expect to learn about the claim filing process.

    Get Medical Care

    The most substantial type of expenses you pay for carbon monoxide poisoning concern medical bills. Receiving medical care immediately after realizing you are sick because of carbon monoxide is a requirement to file a workers’ compensation claim. Lack of compelling evidence represents the most frequent reason why employer insurance companies deny workers’ comp claims.
    Your employer’s insurance company has to approve the physician who provides you with healthcare services.

    Notify Your Employer

    Informing your employer is required for several reasons. First, your employer needs to complete an accident report that describes in detail what happened before, during, and after your encounter with carbon monoxide. Most states require workers to report injuries before the end of 30 days. However, for carbon monoxide poisoning, some symptoms take time to develop. Your workers’ compensation lawyer ensures you report your injuries before the end of 30 days unless you experience delayed symptoms.

    Complete the Workers’ Compensation Claim

    After you report your carbon monoxide symptoms, your employer by law must give you a claim form. The claim is sent to your employer’s insurance company, although some states require workers to submit a form to the state workers’ compensation board as well. On the workers’ comp claim form, you explain how you got sick because of carbon monoxide. This can be difficult to do because of the odorless, colorless nature of the potentially fatal gas.

    Your employer submits the claim to its insurer. Make sure your workers’ compensation attorney reviews all the documents to ensure you have complied with state regulations and you have built a convincing case for compensation.

    Wait for a Decision

    After receiving your claim and the documents associated with it, your employer’s insurance company conducts a thorough review to determine whether to approve or deny your workers’ compensation claim. Although your employer funds the insurance program, the insurance company might deny your claim because approval might produce an increase in your employer’s insurance premiums.

    You might have to undergo an independent medical examination that evaluates the medical documents you submitted with your claim.

    Return to Work

    You have the right to return to work and not have to face any retaliatory actions implemented by your employer because you filed a workers’ compensation claim. When you feel healthy enough to return to work, inform your employer and your employer’s insurance company. At first, you might assume a different role if you are not 100 percent healthy. When you reach optimal health, you have the right to get your former job back.

  • Get Legal Support From an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney

    Filing a carbon monoxide poisoning at work claim is one of the most complex claims to file. You might have experienced delayed symptoms, which raises a red flag with your employer’s insurance company. To make the process as stress-free as possible, hire one of the highly-rated workers’ compensation attorneys at Morgan & Morgan. We offer a free case evaluation that gives you the opportunity to ask questions and for us to conduct a review of your case.

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