The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 was established due to two main environmental disasters: the Love Canal and Times Beach. Also called the Superfund Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drafted legislation to clean up previous toxic waste sites that were presenting a clear and present danger to the environment or communities surrounding the area. The act also forces responsible parties for the pollution to take action in the cleanup process and fixing other damages to the environment.

In the early 1900’s, a canal was constructed that joined the lower and upper Niagara Rivers. This area was bought in the 1920’s and transformed into a municipal and industrial chemical dump zone. For decades it was used in this manner, not adhering to safety standards. In 1953, the site was covered and sold to the city of Niagara Falls. The area was made into a working community with over 100 homes and a school. In 1978, Love Canal exploded.

Due to heavy rainfall, the chemicals below the surface of the small town were released, infiltrating basements, appearing in the roads, and even present in the playground of the schools. Children would return from recess with burns after accidentally interacting with the chemical puddles. Birth defects were prominent in the town, with children being born with cleft palates, extra rows of teeth, mental retardation, and deafness. There were also abnormally high white blood cell counts in several of the residents which is an indicator of leukemia.

The government bought the houses within the community after evacuating the residents. The process of cleaning up the chemical spills is ongoing. These types of environmental disasters that endanger human lives are not uncommon. The town of Anniston, Alabama is still plagued with toxic Monsanto PCBs which are responsible for the prevalent diabetes and cancer in the families residing there. The Superfund Act sets out to hold manufacturers of these harmful chemicals accountable for the damage they cause to the environment and affected humans.

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Illnesses that afflict a construction worker and are directed related to their employment, such as silicosis among miners on some jpb sites are known as occupational illnesses. Afflictions such as these differ from typical construction injuries in that they are usually not the result of one incident and may take a significant amount of time to manifest. In order to provide workers who are suffering from occupational illnesses access to benefits, Pennsylvania workers compensation law allows the worker to claim an illness within four years of their last date of employment. Submitting a claim within this time frame is quite important, as the failure to do so may disqualify a claim that would otherwise be valid.

Submitting a Claim

The gradual nature of many occupational illnesses may require more effort on the employees part in order to prove the work-related nature of the illness. They must be sure to identify the illness within the four year statute of limitations and be able to show the relationship between the illness and their employment. Following are a few important aspects of claiming an occupational illness:

  • Application ensuring that an initial claim is as accurate as possible increases the chance of its acceptance and avoids the difficulties of denials and appeals, which may unnecessarily extend the entire process
  • Evidence perhaps the most contentious issue, which requires the claimant to show how their illness directly resulted from their employment. Many such claims will require testimony from medical professionals, and a history of medical examinations may strengthen such claims.
  • The majority of occupational illnesses will require long term disability benefits in order to manage the condition, which many employers and insurance carriers are likely to dispute.

Legal Action

If you are considering claiming an occupational illness or have any questions concerning the application process, a team of workers compensation attorneys can provide you with knowledgeable answers as well as professional legal representation.

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Work-related injuries and illnesses can impact every area of your life from your personal relationships to your career aspirations. If you have been injured at work and are now disabled or unable to continue working for a lengthy period of time, you need financial benefits to help you pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. There are close to four million workplace injury victims every year across the United States. If you are one of them, take action today and file for workers compensation benefits.

Filing a workers compensation claim can unfortunately be a very complicated and involved process. That is why you need a skilled attorney on your side to help you file your application or appeal. Get in touch with a skilled and aggressive workers compensation attorney today and take control of your future.

Avoid these Errors

There are a number of possible errors or mistakes you could make when pursuing workers compensation benefits. Some common ones to avoid include:

  • Not filling out your claim completely or correctly. If your claim is missing information, it could be denied or delayed so make sure you have an attorney look over your claim.
  • Waiting to report the injury. Make sure to file an injury report as soon as possible after the injury and make sure your employer is aware you were injured at the workplace.
  • Forgetting to tell your doctor it was a workplace injury. This is important when the insurance company contacts your physician.
  • Giving up after a denial. You have options for appealing your denial so dont lose hope if you are initially denied workers compensation benefits.

An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you file your claim or file an appeal if your claim is denied.

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