Landscaping Workers and Toxic Exposure Claims
The landscaping industry has expanded steadily, and at a faster pace than the overall economy, since 2015. This growth pattern is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. That’s good news for both veteran landscape artists and those who want a little extra work on an occasional or seasonal basis.
Both these kinds of workers are often exposed to toxic substances on the job. Frequently, these workers have no idea about the risk until it is already too late. As a result, their toxic exposure illnesses, like cancer and breathing problems, have usually reached advanced stages by the time they get help. A New Orleans workers’ compensation attorney can erase the staggering medical bills that these victims face. Additionally, an attorney can replace lost wages, so the family can survive economically during difficult times.
Many people enjoy the smell of fresh-cut grass. They do not know that they are smelling benzo[a]pyrenes and not grass. This substance, which is most commonly found in cigarette smoke, is extremely toxic. Benzo[a]pyrenes are also found in many kinds of industrial solvents. So, many landscaping workers breathe these fumes both on the job and in the garage.
Benzo[a]pyrenes have always been a danger for landscapers, and they probably always will be a danger. Super heated organic material, such as yard trimmings which get too close to a gasoline or electric engine, release toxic fumes which, like cigarettes, have a mildly intoxicating effect.
Basic precautions, like a face mask and a well-ventilated inside work area, often reduce benzo[a]pyrene exposure levels to almost nothing. Unfortunately, many employers do not provide the proper precautions. Furthermore, many landscape workers have limited English proficiency. They may not fully understand the need to wear masks, open windows, and take other steps which can be uncomfortable or burdensome.
Landscapers often deal with extended environmental toxin exposure. Pesticides, fertilizers, and other lawn and garden chemicals are a good example. But sunlight is usually the biggest danger. Periodic exposure to these things is usually not a problem. But landscapers usually spend many hours a week breathing pesticides and working in the sun.
Once again, simple precautions usually prevent serious injury. However, from a legal perspective, the presence or absence of such precautions is largely irrelevant. Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance. Victims need only establish a connection between their jobs and their toxic exposure illnesses. Since the burden of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), such a connection is usually not too difficult to show.
The aforementioned medical bill coverage usually includes all reasonably necessary medical expenses, from the first moment of emergency care to the last day of physical therapy. Ancillary expenses, like transportation and prescription drugs, are fully covered. As for lost wages, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability. If the disability is permanent, a lump sum might be available.
Reach Out to a Hard-Working Attorney
Landscapers risk serious illness every day. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in New Orleans, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.