Industrial Disease

Massachusetts Lawyers for Injured Workers

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates are recognized leaders in occupational illness and disability law. For over 20 years, we have successfully recovered compensation for workers suffering from all types of industrial disease. Our Boston office provides personal and thorough legal representation to employees across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

Industrial Disease

“Industrial disease” refers to chronic injuries or terminal illness caused by long-term exposure to toxins in the workplace. The Industrial Age ushered in a variety of chemicals, carcinogens, and reactive agents that are hazardous to health. Workers today can touch, inhale, or ingest toxins in large quantities (acute) or over time (chronic), resulting in occupational illness. Industrial diseases caused many of the nearly 3 million work injuries reported in 2011, and often involve:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Bursitis, tendonitis
  • Deafness, dermatitis
  • Asthma, emphysema
  • Carcinoma, pneumonia
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Farmer’s, coal miner’s lung
  • Pleural plaques or thickening
  • Asbestosis and mesothelioma
  • Osteoarthritis, polyneuropathy
  • Central nervous system toxicity

Any job involving exposure to fumes, dust, or vapors of naturally-occurring substances creates a risk of industrial disease. Workers likely do not think of lead, manganese, benzene, or other toxins they may be exposed to through the air in a workplace or when handling hazardous chemicals. Yet medical history shows the effect that nuclear waste and other pollutants have over multiple generations. From simple allergies and fevers to genetic mutations, industrial compounds cause a host of serious diseases.

Industrial Disease Prevalence

More than half of the 3 million industrial diseases reported in 2011 were serious in nature and required substantial time away from work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these illnesses also involved job transfers or duty restrictions due to their severity. The highest incidence rate of injury and illness cases occurring in both the private and public sectors took place in industries including:

  • Manufacturing
  • Hunting, fishing
  • Health care, retail
  • Mining and logging
  • Food, hotel services
  • Agriculture, forestry
  • Fire, police protection
  • Construction, assembly
  • Animal, crop production

Goods-producing industries accounted for over 35 percent of all illnesses reported last year. This means that the manufacturing sector saw no change in industrial disease rates, causing the highest incidence of occupational illness cases among all work sectors. In fact, only two industries saw a slight decline in reported cases. The rest either rose or remained unchanged.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Massachusetts law requires that employers and insurers shoulder the financial burden for industrial diseases. Chronic illness and injury caused by prolonged exposure to work-related toxins require extensive treatment and therapy. Many industrial diseases prove fatal. As such, sick and disabled workers are entitled to a range of benefits while out of work, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost income, wages
  • Prescription medicine
  • Loss of vision, hearing
  • Partial or total disability
  • Annual cost of living raise
  • Accommodation, retraining
  • Loss due to work restrictions
  • Temporary or permanent loss

The benefits awarded depend upon the severity of the injury and its duration. Injured workers may receive a lump-sum payment in addition to cash benefits reflecting a portion of their weekly wage. Benefits are also available for pre-existing industrial conditions that are exacerbated upon return to work. Finding a workers’ compensation attorney is critical to obtaining full relief.

Get Your Claim Approved

If you suffer from any industrial disease, contact the Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates today. We fight to increase your chances of receiving the maximum award from the first filing, hearing, or appeal. Kantrovitz & Associates protects the rights of injured workers throughout Boston, Essex, Plymouth, Sussex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Merrimack counties. Call (800) 367-0871 for a free consultation or contact us online.