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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Inhalation Injuries?

  • Published: September 13, 2023

No one wants to tangle with an insurance provider after a workplace injury. If you’re protected by workers’ compensation, though, that coverage can supplement the wages you lose while recovering from your injuries.

That said, what losses does workers’ compensation actually cover? Can you use workers’ compensation to cover inhalation injuries endured in the workplace? More often than not, yes. You can work with an attorney to outline the nature of your losses, calculate their value, and integrate them into a workers’ compensation claim.

Signs of Smoke Inhalation Injuries

Before you file a workers’ compensation claim for inhalation injuries, both you and a medical professional should assess your well-being. If you come away from an accident at work and find yourself continually coughing or struggling to breathe, there’s a good chance that you inhaled smoke. 

Other symptoms of smoke inhalation injuries can include the following:

  • Uncharacteristic shortness of breath after non-strenuous activities
  • Feelings of tightness in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hoarseness
  • A sore throat
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting

If emergency responders come to your workplace to respond to an accident, make sure you have them assess your overall condition. You should also schedule an appointment with your general practitioner after a workplace accident so you can officially document any health complications you may be dealing with.

Taking Steps to Address Smoke Inhalation

If medical professionals can confirm that you’re contending with a smoke inhalation injury, you need to take the following steps:

  • Work with emergency responders or other medical professionals to address your immediate symptoms
  • Inform medical professionals and your healthcare provider that you suffered a smoke inhalation injury while at work
  • Report the accident to your supervisor through official channels, ideally with a paper trail
  • File a workers’ compensation claim with California’s Department of Industrial Relations
  • Follow a doctor’s recovery regimen and attend check-in appointments with medical specialists

Make sure you keep all paperwork related to your medical care and workplace interactions following a smoke inhalation accident. The more data you have addressing your health and losses, the easier it may be for you to prove your right to workers’ compensation.

Requesting Workers’ Compensation for Inhalation Injuries

Once you’ve assessed your health and received the care you need to recover, it’s time to file a workers’ compensation claim. So long as you’ve reported your accident to your employer, your employer has one business day to send you a workers’ compensation claim form.

If you do not receive a workers’ compensation form, you can access one on your own through the Department of Workers’ Compensation’s website. You only have to fill out the “employees” section of the form to complete your claim. After you’ve finished filling out the form, pass it along to your employer. Keep a copy of your form for your records.

It’s particularly important for you to date your form before sending it along to an employer. Your employer should send the completed form along to their insurance provider but may act in bad faith in an effort to deny your claim. If they do so, you can reach out to an employment lawyer in California to discuss your best course of action.

So long as your employer sends a completed workers’ compensation along, though, you should receive a letter from their insurance provider informing you as to what coverage you may receive for your losses. If you do not receive a letter within 14 days of your claim’s submission, contact your supervisor or an attorney for guidance.

Assumption of Danger in Certain Professions

While you have an obligation to fill out a workers’ compensation form after any workplace accident, there are some professions that come with an assumption of danger. Certain professionals, like firefighters, can file a workers’ compensation claim under the benefit of the doubt.

If you work as a firefighter or in a position benefiting from an assumption of danger, and you suffer an inhalation injury, you can file a workers’ compensation claim for damages. You may receive both workers’ compensation and disability pay until you recover from your injuries.

If you have questions about your right to a workers’ compensation claim or need help filling out the form, you can contact a California employment attorney for guidance.

KCNS Protects Workers’ Rights to Fair Support

Don’t let an insurance provider minimize or dismiss your workplace inhalation injuries. If an insurance provider acts in bad faith after you file a claim, let an experienced workplace lawyer know. KCNS Law Group can step in and demand that an insurance provider recognize the validity of your losses.

You can book a free workers’ compensation case with our team immediately following your accident. Contact us online or at (818) 937-9255 today to get your first appointment on the books.

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