IfI was exposed to a health risk while at a past job, what are my rights?

UPDATED: Sep 14, 2011

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IfI was exposed to a health risk while at a past job, what are my rights?

20 years ago I was working for a company operating a laser welder that let off radiation. As a result I would get radiation burns on my face resembling a severe sunburn. After a few months I would get physically ill after being at work for a short time. I decieded I had enough and left the job. Now, earlier this year Iwas diagnosed with basil cell skin cancer on the face. The dermotologist said this could have been the cause. Is there anything legally that I can do?

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Personal Injury, South Carolina


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question.

Generally, a work-related injury would hold an employer liable for its employee's injury under a workers compensation statute. As such, applicable workers compensation laws may preclude an employee from suing his/her employer for negligence, improper training and other legal claims.

However, you may also have a legal claim against the entities which designed, manufactured, sold and/or installed the lasers at your employer's premises. These "products liability" claims are generally pursued when there is evidence which suggests that these entities put a bad product on the market and/or otherwise failed to warn the people that use the product of harms related to this item.

Whether considering litigation under workers compensation and/or products liability, a factor which may be determinative as to whether you have a valid legal claim is the "statute of limitations", or time limit as to when a lawsuit must be filed with the court. Normally, there is a limited amount of time that a lawsuit must be filed after an injury occurs (many states have a two-year statute of limitations for bodily injury claims). However, there are certain circumstances when the time limit does not begin when the injury occurs, but when the harmed individual learns of the injury or otherwise should have become aware of the injury-- this is commonly seen in asbestos cases where victims are diagnosed with cancer several years after coming into contact with the hazardous material. You should consult a local attorney for further analysis as to what legal rights you may have under your specific circumstances.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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