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Can Your Cancer be Work-Related?

Establishing Causation in California Cancer Claims

Many Californians dedicate their lives to their professions, but these can sometimes come with unforeseen health risks. Cancer is a devastating diagnosis, and if you suspect a work-related connection, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, establishing a causal link between your work environment and your illness presents a significant challenge.

This article explores navigating a cancer claim in California, emphasizing the critical role of demonstrating causation and the importance of seeking legal guidance.

The Burden of Proof and Medical Evidence

Unlike a clear-cut incident like a slip-and-fall injury, cancer often develops over extended periods. The onus falls on the employee to demonstrate a direct causal link between their work environment and their specific cancer diagnosis. This necessitates compelling medical evidence that establishes this connection.

Consulting a physician with expertise in occupational medicine is crucial. They will comprehensively assess your medical history, job duties, and potential workplace exposures. Their report should explicitly outline the causal relationship between your cancer and the hazards in your work environment.

Types of Cancer Claims in California

There are two primary avenues for pursuing a cancer claim in California:

  • Specific Disease Presumption: Certain occupations have specific cancers presumed to be work-related. For example, firefighters have a presumption for specific cancers due to their exposure to carcinogens during firefighting activities.
  • Individual Case: If your cancer isn’t covered by a presumption, you’ll need to build an individual case. This involves demonstrating a causal link between your specific work environment and your cancer diagnosis.

Common Carcinogenic Workplace Hazards

Many workplaces harbor hidden dangers. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common carcinogens you might encounter:

  • Asbestos: Significantly increases the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers.
  • Benzene: Found in gasoline and some industrial settings, exposure is linked to leukemia and other blood cancers.
  • Formaldehyde: Commonly used in building materials and manufacturing processes, it can increase the risk of nasal and throat cancers.
  • Heavy Metals: Arsenic, cadmium, and chromium are just a few examples found in various industries, contributing to lung cancer, bladder cancer, and other malignancies.
  • Pesticides and Herbicides: Agricultural workers and those regularly exposed to these chemicals face a higher risk of certain cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.

Impact of Long-Term Exposure

The human body has remarkable resilience, but even small exposures to carcinogens can accumulate over time. Years of working in an environment with these hazards significantly increase your risk of developing cancer.

Resources for California Cancer Claims

California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC): This government agency provides information on workers’ compensation benefits and the claims process

California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR): The DIR enforces workplace safety regulations and offers resources for workers who may have been exposed to hazardous materials

Workers’ Compensation Attorney: While these government agencies offer valuable information, navigating a complex cancer claim often requires legal expertise. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist with:

  • Gathering Evidence: Obtaining medical records, workplace exposure data, and expert witness testimonies to support your claim.
  • Building Your Case: Understanding the legal process, identifying relevant legal precedents, and building a strong case for causation.
  • Negotiating Benefits: Negotiating with the insurance company to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve, including medical coverage, lost wages, and disability benefits.

Don’t hesitate to seek legal help if you suspect a link between your cancer diagnosis and your workplace. Remember, in these cases, proving causation is paramount. With strong medical evidence and the support of a qualified attorney, you can increase your chances of a successful claim and secure the financial resources you need during this challenging time.

Remember: This is just the beginning of your journey. Consulting with multiple attorneys and finding one who resonates with your needs and personality is crucial. To find the right one, we can help with a list of the top 10 workers’ compensation attorneys in Los Angeles.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a work injury, unsafe working conditions or unfair treatment, be sure to contact us for a free consultation/case review.

To learn more or share your experiences call the Workers’ Compensation Group of Los Angeles at (877) 292-4888, email: or schedule a consultation online.

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Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult an attorney for legal guidance specific to your situation.