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Can Your Cancer be Work-Related?


Proof of Causation, Not Circumstance: Cancer Claims

Many Californians dedicate their lives to their professions, but sometimes, those jobs come with unforeseen health risks. Cancer is a devastating diagnosis, and if you suspect a link between your work environment and your illness, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. However, proving this connection can be challenging. This post explores navigating a cancer claim in California, emphasizing the importance of establishing a causal link and seeking legal guidance.

Unlike a slip-and-fall injury with a clear timestamp, cancer often develops over extended periods. The burden of proof lies with you, the employee, to demonstrate that your work environment directly caused your illness. This requires solid medical evidence connecting your specific cancer to a known workplace hazard.


The Importance of Medical Evidence

Your doctor plays a crucial role in your claim. Seek a physician with expertise in occupational medicine who can thoroughly assess your medical history, job duties, and potential workplace exposures. Their report should clearly outline the causal link between your cancer and the hazards in your work environment.


Types of Cancer Claims:

There are two main types of cancer claims in California:


  • Specific Disease Presumption: Some cancers are presumed to be work-related for specific professions. For instance, firefighters have a presumption for certain cancers due to their exposure to carcinogens during firefighting activities.

  • Individual Case: If your cancer isn't covered by a presumption, you'll need to build an individual case. This involves demonstrating a causal link between your specific work environment and your cancer diagnosis.


Carcinogenic Workplace Hazards

Many workplaces harbor hidden dangers. Here's a non-exhaustive list of common carcinogens you might encounter:


  • Asbestos: This fibrous material can significantly increase the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers.

  • Benzene: Found in gasoline and some industrial settings, benzene exposure is linked to leukemia and other blood cancers.

  • Formaldehyde: Commonly used in building materials and some manufacturing processes, formaldehyde can increase the risk of nasal and throat cancers.

  • Heavy metals: Arsenic, cadmium, and chromium are just a few examples of heavy metals found in various industries. These can contribute to lung cancer, bladder cancer, and other malignancies.

  • Pesticides and herbicides: Agricultural workers and those exposed to these chemicals regularly face a higher risk of certain cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.


How Long-Term Exposure Increases Risk

The human body has remarkable resilience, but even small exposures to carcinogens can accumulate over time. Years of working in an environment with these hazards significantly increase your risk of developing cancer.


Resources for a California Cancer Claim

California Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC): This government agency provides information on workers' compensation benefits and the claims process. You can find resources and guidance on their website (https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/).


The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR): The DIR enforces workplace safety regulations and offers resources for workers who may have been exposed to hazardous materials. You can find information on their website (https://www.dir.ca.gov/).


Workers' Compensation Attorney: While these government agencies provide valuable information, navigating a complex cancer claim often requires legal expertise. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you with:


  • Gathering evidence: They can assist in obtaining medical records, workplace exposure data, and expert witness testimonies to support your claim.

  • Building your case: They can help you understand the legal process, identify relevant legal precedents, and build a strong case for causation.

  • Negotiating benefits: They can negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve, including medical coverage, lost wages, and disability benefits.


Don't hesitate to seek legal help if you suspect a link between your cancer diagnosis and your workplace. Remember, in these cases, proving causation is critical. With strong medical evidence and the support of a qualified attorney, you can increase your chances of a successful claim and secure the financial resources you need during this difficult time.


The reality is that accidents can occur unexpectedly, despite taking all necessary safety measures. If you have queries or issues about a work-related injury, hazardous work environment, or unjust treatment, don't hesitate to contact us for a complimentary consultation and case evaluation.


To learn more or share your experiences call Barsoum Law (877) 299-1555 or schedule a consultation online.


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