Chemical Exposure in the Auto Industry

Chicago Lawyers Helping Injured Workers Seek Benefits

Workplace safety and health should always be a high priority in the automotive industry. Unfortunately there are many different kinds of accidents that occur in that line of work, including spills and contact with hazardous chemicals. There are many different kinds of dangerous chemicals used for auto repairs. Mistakes may be made even when care is taken to make the workplace safer, and an auto worker may suffer injury from chemical exposure on the job. If you have faced chemical exposure in the auto industry, a skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorney can represent you in pursuing benefits.

Chemical Exposure in the Auto Industry

Auto workers can face serious harm if they are exposed to hazardous chemicals. Exposure may occur when a worker breathes in toxic fumes. It can also occur through skin contact. Sometimes harmful chemicals are leached out of engine parts that contain them and through wear and tear, they are released into the environment, polluting the air. Sometimes an automotive workplace has bad ventilation, which can result in very dangerous workshop air quality. The worker may be exposed to asbestos or another hazard without even knowing it. Exposure may immediately manifest in physical symptoms, but under certain circumstances, a worker can be exposed over a long period of time.

Chemical exposure can result in birth defects to an unborn baby, cancer, chemical burns, organ damage, poisoning, or skin problems. It can result in harm to the nervous system or the kidneys or even the eyes.

Types of Chemical Exposures

There are many different kinds of chemicals that can have fatal effects when they aren’t handled appropriately, including brake fluid, solvent, metal cleaners and radiator coolants. Often auto workers are exposed to asbestos dust. Brake pads, hood liners, clutches, gasket material and heat seals, among other parts, can contain asbestos, and asbestos dust can be released when a mechanic removes a part and enter the mechanic’s body, sticking to the pleura, causing mesothelioma.

Another chemical exposure that can be dangerous in the auto industry comes in the form of antiknock agents, which are used to make an engine run better. Its main constituent is methylpentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl, which can be poisonous if its absorbed through skin exposure or inhaled, and may cause liver and kidney malfunction, along with nausea, dizziness, headaches, and eye irritation. Manganese is also potentially dangerous and can impact the central nervous system, causing manganism. Other chemicals that can cause serious harms are toxic solvents such as xylene, toluene and benzene. Exposure to these chemicals can cause brain damage or breathing problems. A knowledgeable work injury lawyer can assess your potential claims for benefits based on the history of your injuries or illness.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Employers that must provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for employees need to provide this coverage for occupational illnesses that arise out of and in the course of employment, as well as for accidental injuries. Illness that results from chemical exposure may be covered under workers’ compensation. It’s important to report a work-related illness to your employer as soon as you realize you have gotten sick as a result of chemical exposure. The exposure needs to be job-related and you can be barred from pursuing benefits if you did not provide timely notice.

In most cases a chemical exposure illness will be compensable under the Occupational Disease Act. Sometimes exposure to chemicals causes immediate injuries that necessitate a visit to the ER. However, in other cases, exposure to chemicals can manifest as illness long after exposure, and it may be difficult to establish that symptoms are work-related.

Consult a Skillful Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago

If you were harmed by chemical exposure in the auto industry in Chicago, an experienced auto workers’ compensation lawyer can answer your questions regarding your legal rights. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we also represent auto workers in Quincy, Rockford, Springfield, Aurora, and Champaign, as well as Kane County, Cook County, Winnebago County, Sangamon County, and Adams County. We will also look closely at the situation to determine whether other relief, such as damages in a personal injury lawsuit or SSDI benefits should be sought. Call us toll-free at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330, or contact us via our online form.