Dugan & Associates, P.C.
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Does smoking in the workplace affect your workers' compensation?

If you are a non-smoker and suffer health issues due to smoking at your work, you could be entitled to workers' compensation. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or second-hand smoke, is an acknowledged health risk, therefore, any harm you suffer from it should be covered by workers' compensation. This post will go over ETS, how it may harm you, and how you might file for compensation.

ETS is an acknowledged health risk that many experts agree contains almost the same toxins and carcinogens as those inhaled by a smoker (though at less concentrated levels). Exposure to ETS can aggravate existing medical conditions, similar to smoking would.

Traditionally, courts denied workers' compensation claims for ETS. The courts took the position that ETS was not caused by employment and therefore should not be covered. But recent cases demonstrate a shift in the court's reasoning to consider whether or not ETS caused an accidental injury and whether or not that injury was unexpected.

Now courts consider ETS exposure in the workplace as having a direct connection with employment. Furthermore, as the science connecting ETS to smoking-related diseases improves, so have workers' chances at seeking recovery.

If you believe smoking in your workplace had a direct impact on your health, you may have a valid workers' compensation claim. Workers' compensation covers you for any workplace illness or injury, regardless of the source. A lawyer can guide you through the process after analyzing your situation and advise you of the best way to receive compensation for your illness.

 

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