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Is workplace asbestos exposure a workers’ comp or personal injury claim?

Asbestos exposure can give rise to several devastating diseases that can change your life forever. You probably know that workplace accidents fall under the category of injuries that workers’ compensation covers. However, if your exposure to asbestos happened at work because of unsafe conditions, you may be curious as to whether you can bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against your employer.

Employer immunity under Louisiana workers’ compensation statute

Louisiana’s workers’ compensation statute requires most employers to carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy to cover their employees. This gives employees who suffer an injury on the job the ability to seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employer’s insurance company. In exchange, the employers enjoy immunity from personal injury lawsuits in most situations.

This means that, in most situations, you will not be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer if you suffered the adverse effects of asbestos exposure in your workplace. Instead, the workers’ compensation statute allows you to attempt to seek benefits for the resulting injuries, including the medical bills and other expenses associated with the asbestos exposure.

This immunity will apply unless your employer falls under a specific list of exempt industries. If the law does not require your employer to have workers’ compensation insurance, then a tort lawsuit may be on the table.

What your options are

As soon as you receive your diagnosis for mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you need to act fast. Louisiana has strict deadlines for filing workers’ compensation claims.

Within 30 days of your diagnosis, you must give notice to your employer of your disease, and of your intent to file for workers’ compensation benefits. You then have one year to file a claim. If you miss these deadlines, you could forever lose your opportunity to file for benefits.

It can be extremely difficult to come to terms with an asbestos-related diagnosis and its implications. But by working quickly, you can ensure that you stand a good chance of receiving the benefits that you need to take care of the resulting expenses.