Workplace Mold Exposure: What to Do When You Become Extremely Sick
If you became extremely ill from mold exposure at your workplace, you may wonder whether you qualify for workers' compensation, especially if your symptoms cause you to lose valuable time and pay from work. Mold is a fungus that can potentially aggravate or cause numerous health problems, including asthma and inflammation of the lungs. If a doctor recently diagnosed you with a mold-related health condition, and you didn't have the problem until your exposure to workplace mold, you may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. Here's how mold develops in workplaces and what you can do to seek compensation for your ill health.
How Can Mold Develop in Workplaces?
Most people associate mold with residential settings, such as damp basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. But mold can also grow in commercial structures that have plumbing problems, leaky roofs, and poor indoor air quality, including warehouses, factories, and office buildings. The unsafe structures can potentially cause a problem known as "building-related illness."
Building-related illness, or BRI, occurs when you experience a variety of symptoms after being exposed to unsanitary, unsafe, or unregulated work conditions. BRI can be confused with sick-building syndrome, which also causes you to experience different health problems. But with sick-building syndrome, your symptoms go away once you leave the building. Building-related illness symptoms don't go away once you leave the workplace. Instead the symptoms continue to bother you long after you leave work.
The symptoms of BRI may range from allergies and sinusitis to chest pain and infection. The symptoms can increase over time and require medical attention to treat. Mold is one of the things that can trigger BRI symptoms in people. If the building's mold is toxic, you can experience breathing problems, organ damage, and a host of other issues.
It's important that you take the right steps to getting workers' compensation now.
How Do You Seek Workers' Comp?
One of the first things you can do is speak to a workers' compensation attorney about your illness. Although a doctor diagnosed you with mold-related health problems, it may not be easy to prove that your workplace is responsible for them without legal help.
An attorney may need to investigate your employer's building to see if it has a current or past mold problem as well as things that could possibly cause fungi to grow, such as poor plumbing or damp walls. The investigation may include requesting building-inspection records and maintenance logs. If possible, an attorney may obtain photographs and other evidence of the mold contamination to help you receive the proper compensation. An attorney will generally discuss what they plan to do during your case when they consult with you.
For more details about mold in the workplace, contact a workers' compensation lawyer today.