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Does workers' compensation cover secondhand smoke?

Workers' compensation coverage ensures that employees have their medical expenses and other losses covered when they suffer a work-related injury or illness. Regardless of the type of harm that an employee suffers, workers' compensation benefits usually offer some form of coverage, as long as the employee can document that the harm is real and is indeed work-related. In some cases, this may even extend to illnesses arising from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Making a workers compensation claim that secondhand smoke is the cause of the work-related harm is difficult to prove, so not all claims of secondhand smoke harm are successful. In order to receive compensation, the harm you experience must be directly work-related, which requires very specific documentation in the case of secondhand smoke, because it is far less common now that the dangers of secondhand smoke are more well-understood.

If you believe that previous exposure to secondhand smoke in a job you held some time ago is the cause of your illness, you may have a difficult road ahead of you. In most cases, the statute of limitations for filing a workers' compensation claim is relatively short, so if you had the exposure more than a few years ago, you may not have the ability to file the claim effectively.

However you received your work-related injury, you deserve to fully explore all the options you have available for fair compensation. An experienced attorney who understands the nuances of navigating state-specific workers' compensation claims can offer personalized insight into your illness, guiding you through the claim process and keeping your rights and priorities secure.

Source: FindLaw, "Smoking in the Workplace and Workers' Compensation," accessed March 30, 2018

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