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Disability benefits available for workers affected by asbestos

Workers in the San Diego construction injury face an endless list of hazards. Sometimes hidden dangers exist that could cause occupational injuries or illnesses with long-term or even debilitating consequences. Fortunately, the state-regulated workers’ compensation system provides disability benefits if the injuries were work-related.

Two illnesses that construction workers may contract without even realizing they were exposed are asbestosis and mesothelioma. The use of asbestos ceased almost entirely after researchers toward the end of the 1980s discovered the health hazards of exposure. However, renovations or demolitions of older buildings often expose workers to the dangerous asbestos fibers. The primary application of asbestos was for insulation purposes because of the mineral’s heat and corrosion resistance.

In older buildings, asbestos could be present in various building materials, including floor tiles, ceiling boards and insulation for hot pipes and steam lines. If undisturbed, asbestos poses almost no hazard. However, activities such as grinding, smashing, cutting or breaking it up set free nearly invisible fibers that become airborne and inhaled without workers even realizing it. Asbestos fibers are known carcinogens, which enter the lungs and attach to the inner walls, and scar tissue then forms around them, and the gradual damage reduces lung functions. Although it could take many years to develop, it could ultimately be deadly.

Construction workers in San Diego whose ability to work their usual jobs are compromised by work-related injuries or illnesses that cause disability will likely have many questions about their rights to compensation and other benefits. This is where the skills of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney are invaluable. A lawyer can answer all the questions and assist with the complex administrative and legal proceedings in pursuit of maximum disability benefits.