Millions of people work with or near hazardous chemicals every day, from janitors and medical researchers to construction workers and auto mechanics. When an accident happens, deadly fumes or fluids can be released, allowing toxic substances to be swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Exposure accidents can be fatal or produce catastrophic injuries, such as chemical burns, damage to the lungs, and loss of vision.
If you or one of your family members was exposed to toxic chemicals at work, there may be ways to recover compensation for your losses, such as lost wages and medical bills. Explore your legal options by talking confidentially with an experienced Maryland lawyer for workplace chemical injuries, like Randolph Rice. To set up a free consultation, contact us online, or call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291.
Chemical Hazards in the Workplace
Workers in certain industries in Maryland have a higher likelihood of being exposed to dangerous chemicals. Workers with a heightened risk of chemical injury include:
- Construction workers
- Farmers and agricultural workers
- Industrial workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Nurses, researchers, and other medical or healthcare workers
- Oil and gas workers
- Railroad workers
- Transportation workers
For example, welding can release fumes that contain toxic metals like lead, beryllium, and arsenic that are hazardous to human health. Even natural substances, like cotton or hemp, can produce harmful dust that may cause serious respiratory issues without proper ventilation. Depending on the worker’s occupation, some common types of chemical hazards in the workplace could include:
- Carbon monoxide
- Cotton dust
- Diesel fumes
- Hydrochloric acid
- Nylon fibers (“flock”)
- Sulfuric acid
- Wood dust
Common Injuries from Being Exposed to Dangerous Chemicals in the Workplace
Exposure to beryllium, ammonia, or other dangerous chemicals could cause death or serious injury, potentially with permanently disabling effects. The severity of a chemical injury depends on factors like the substance involved, its strength or concentration, the duration of exposure, and how quickly the victim receives treatment. Examples of injuries or health problems that can result from chemical exposure in the workplace include:
- Chemical burns, which can leave extensive permanent scars behind
- Chronic chest pain, coughing, or breathing problems
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Damage to the lungs or trachea (windpipe)
- Dermatitis or other skin conditions
- Eye injuries and loss of vision
- Loss of limbs
- Nerve damage
- Neurological damage
- Occupational asthma (byssinosis, brown lung disease)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Popcorn lung (bronchiolitis obliterans)
- Silo-filler’s disease (nitrogen dioxide poisoning)
Can I Sue for Chemical Exposure Injuries at Work in Maryland?
If you were exposed to chemicals at work and suffered an injury or illness as a result, you may be able to recover compensation in the following ways:
- You may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Under Maryland law, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When a worker gets hurt in a job-related accident, he or she may qualify for benefits. Even if your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you can fight back by filing an appeal with help from an experienced attorney like Randolph Rice.
- You may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party other than your employer. If you file for workers’ compensation, you may lose the ability to sue your employer, which could limit the compensation that you recover. However, you could potentially file a claim against a person or entity besides your employer, if their actions caused or contributed to your injuries. For example, depending on how the toxic exposure occurred, you could be able to sue contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, inspectors, or other parties whose negligence played a role in the accident.
Workers’ Compensation for Toxic Exposure Accidents in Maryland
Workman’s compensation provides compensation for a portion of your pre-injury earnings, in addition to coverage for medical treatment, job training or re-training, and related losses or expenses. There is no need to prove that your injuries were caused by negligence, unlike in a personal injury lawsuit. However, workers’ comp does not provide compensation for pain and suffering, which may be available in a personal injury claim.
A workers’ comp claim can affect a personal injury lawsuit, or vice versa. Weigh your options carefully by discussing your situation with an attorney for chemical injuries at work.
Call Our Maryland Chemical Exposure at Work Lawyer Today
Randolph Rice is an experienced Maryland chemical exposure lawyer with a formidable track record and a fearless attitude in the courtroom. Dedicated to providing a superior level of service, he will work tirelessly to identify and pursue potential sources of compensation for your injuries.
Get legal help from a seasoned attorney for injured workers in Maryland. To find out whether you could have a case, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation, or contact us online today.