Can You File A Workers' Comp Claim For Black Lung Disease?

19 January 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog

A black lung injury can have an impact on your ability to breathe and on your heart's functioning. You have a number of options for pursuing payment for medical bills, loss of payment, and other related expenses. 

Black Lung

Black lung is a disease that results from breathing in coal mine dust. Inhalation can happen beneath and above ground. Anywhere that coal is processed, you can possibly develop black lung.

As you inhale the dust from the coal mine, your immune system works to get rid of it. Unfortunately, the expelled dust ends up in your lungs and cannot be removed. Your immune system continues its fight against the dust and starts to attack it once again. In the process, your lungs are damaged. 

Workers' Compensation

One of the first things you can do once you are diagnosed with black lung is to seek workers' compensation. Time is of the essence. Each state has a statute of limitations on claims. The amount of time allowed varies by state.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that it is important that you get medical documentation of your condition. Detailed documentation helps to build up your case. 

Black Lung Benefits Act

Another possibility for receiving compensation for your condition is to file for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. The act provides monetary payments and medical benefits if you are totally disabled from the disease. 

Claims are not just limited to workers from the coal mines. Anyone in your family who has been exposed to the coal mine dust can apply for assistance. 

There are some further requirements that need to be met to be eligible to apply for benefits. Your exposure to the coal mine dust must be before January 1, 1970. You can also apply if there is not a coal mine operator or owner that is responsible for your injuries. 

A claim must be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor through a district office. You have to undergo an evaluation and complete documentation about your injuries to be considered for benefits. If approved, you could receive $631.80 per month, as of December 2014. The amount is increased to $1,263.60 if you have three or more dependents.

To explore all of your options fully, talk to a workers' compensation attorney. The attorney from a firm like Crowley Ahlers & Roth Co LPA can help you build the case for benefits and even advise you of how to proceed in case your benefits claim is denied.