Mold exposure can create significant health problems. Unlike a work-related fall or vehicle accident, however, your medical issues may not be immediately apparent. Instead, repeated exposure to mold in your workplace may have caused you harm.
Health Risks From Mold Exposure
Mold may be present in any building, including office buildings and schools. Whether or not the mold is visible, workers may suffer chronic medical conditions from mold exposure, such as:
- Allergy-like symptoms including congestion, respiratory issues, and a cough
- Skin rashes
- Chronic fatigue
- Asthma attacks
Your specific injury depends on the type of mold present in your workplace, the length of your exposure, and other factors.
Workers' Compensation for a Mold-Related Illness
Most Iowa employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance, and most Iowa employees are eligible for workers' compensation if they meet state law qualifications for benefits. Iowa's workers' compensation law covers illnesses from exposure to toxic substances.
As the injured party seeking workers' compensation benefits, you will need to prove your eligibility. Important evidence in your workers' comp case may include:
- Medical records and reports that detail your mold-related illness
- Photos of mold at your workplace
- Notes detailing what you remember about mold in your workplace, including but not limited to the location, color, and smell of any suspected mold and whether you were provided personal protective equipment to limit mold exposure
- A journal explaining your daily symptoms, both at work and on your days off
- Inspection reports concerning mold at your workplace
- Any evidence you have that your employer knew or should have known about the mold
- Witness testimony from people who saw mold in the workplace or witnessed your mold-related illness symptoms
- Expert testimony from doctors to establish that your illness was caused by mold exposure
Additionally, you must follow all of the workers' compensation procedures. For example, you need to:
- Report your illness to your employer within 90 days
- File a workers' compensation claim within two years
- Be prepared to advocate for your fair recovery of benefits
If you have a qualifying condition and you follow workers' comp procedures, then you may receive benefits, such as:
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Your employer usually has the right to choose your medical providers for the treatment of a work-related illness. Your healthcare providers should bill your employer's insurance directly.
- Disability benefits for your lost income. You may recover weekly benefits for the amount of time you are out of work due to your mold-related illness. The amount of time that you may receive weekly benefits depends on whether you are permanently or partially disabled and whether you are fully or temporarily disabled. The amount of your weekly benefits also depends on the extent of your disability and on your average weekly earnings and exemptions. Your weekly benefits are subject to minimum and maximum amounts set by Iowa law.
- Other expenses. These expenses may include mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments and vocational training if you need to work in a new field due to your mold-related illness.
Contact an Iowa Workers' Comp Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
The Iowa Workers' Compensation Statute may allow you to receive workers' comp benefits because of your occupational illness. However, this law is complex, and you may need an experienced workers' compensation attorney to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Our experienced Iowa workers' compensation lawyers are skilled negotiators. We present compelling cases on behalf of our clients, and we aren't afraid to pursue a contested case with the Workers' Compensation Commissioner if the insurance company is unwilling to provide a fair recovery. We will also consider all applicable claims against third parties who may bear some liability for your illness.
Don't let a mistake interfere with the workers' compensation benefits you need. Instead, call us today to schedule a free no-obligation initial consultation in our Cedar Rapids, Davenport, or Des Moines office, in your home or hospital room, or by phone or video conference.