Despite what you may have been told, chemicals are not necessarily our friends. In fact, acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) exposure to certain chemicals and substances can cause serious medical conditions, including pulmonary disease, skin conditions, sensitivities, leukemia, and other forms of cancer in some circumstances. Additionally, you may not know that you have suffered an adverse effect from a chemical or substance exposure for many years.
Even if your exposure was job-related, you may still have a case against the manufacturer and/or distributor of the chemical or substance, despite the exclusivity provisions of the California Worker’s Compensation Laws. Often, an employee was not provided with the appropriate protective gear or adequate training, which, depending upon the seriousness of the employer’s conduct, could also provide for additional remedies. Similarly, if inadequate ventilation equipment was installed, or improper protective gear was provided, depending upon the facts of the particular case, the ventilation contractor who installed the equipment or the manufacturer of the protective gear could be held partially responsible.
If you believe that you have suffered medical illness related to chemical or substance exposure, you should tell your doctor immediately of your possible exposure. This will not only insure that your doctor has all the information he or she needs to properly diagnose and treat you, but it will also allow your doctor to make the appropriate connection between your condition and the exposure. If this connection can be made by a doctor, contact my office for a consultation relating to what legal rights you may have.