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Don’t put up with secondhand smoke exposure at work

Workplace injuries and illnesses of all kinds may qualify for coverage under workers' compensation. This applies in instances when a specific injury occurs in a work accident, but may also include exposure to toxic substances over time. Many employees may be surprised to learn that workers' compensation may even apply if an employee suffers from an illness because of secondhand smoke in the workplace.

While most workplaces in the modern world are smoke-free, this is not true in every instance. Sometimes, the nature of the business is such that smoking restrictions are difficult to enforce, while in other cases, the work may take place in a setting where smoking is allowed. If you believe that your circumstances may qualify your secondhand smoking injury under a workers' compensation claim, you must demonstrate to your employer's insurer that your claim is legitimate.

In order to show the validity of your claim, your employer's insurance provider will probably want to see specific documentation of your illness and its links to secondhand smoke, as well as compelling evidence that your employment and the exposure you receive there are likely liable for the illness or possibly exacerbating the symptoms of an existing illness.

Depending on the strength of your evidence, you claim may result in compensation for a number of different aspects of your illness. It is wise to take time to carefully consider and document the evidence you have to support your claim, but be sure to file your claim within an appropriate amount of time to avoid missing out on benefits because of a lapsed statute of limitations. A strong legal strategy helps you keep your rights and priorities protected as you work to recover from secondhand-smoke-related illness.

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

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Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to 5 years in prison or up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

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