Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis
If you have been exposed to coal mine dust and or diagnosed with black lung you may have the legal right to obtain compensation. You may have the right to sue your employer if they have been negligent in providing a safe working environment. Black lung is a job related disease caused by continued exposure to excessive amounts of respirable coal mine dust. This dust becomes imbedded in the lungs, causing them to harden, making breathing very difficult.
Silicosis is another job related lung disease similar to black lung. Miners develop silicosis when they are overexposed to dust containing silica. Respirable particles of silica embed in the lungs causing scar tissue to form, reducing the lung's ability to extract oxygen from the air.
Under Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, miners diagnosed with black lung working at an underground coal mine, have the opportunity to transfer from their present job to another job in any area of their coal mine that has a concentration of respirable dust of less than 1.0 milligrams per cubic meter of air. Their rate of pay cannot be cut if they transfer. Miners cannot be fired or discriminated against if they are partly disabled from black lung and keep working. If you are a miner and are fired or discriminated against because of your condition, you or your representative may apply to the Mine Safety and Health Administration or the Department of Labor’s Employment Standards Administration within 90 days for a review of your situation.
On December 20, 2000, the Department of Labor published a final rule amending the regulations implementing the Black Lung Benefits Act. The Black Lung Benefits Act provides monthly payments and medical benefits to coal miners totally disabled from pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) arising from their employment in or around the nation's coal mines. The Act also provides monthly benefits to a miner's dependent survivors. Unless the miner was awarded benefits pursuant to a claim filed before 1982, a survivor must establish that pneumoconiosis was a substantially contributing cause of the miner's death to be entitled to benefits.
Miners are entitled to compensation and medical benefits if they are totally disabled by black lung disease due to their coal mine employment. If you are partially or permanently disabled, have been discriminated against, or denied black lung benefits you should consult a qualified, licensed lawyer. You may contact the sponsoring law firm below to discuss the injury or schedule a free consultation. These personal injury cases are normally handled on a contingency basis. Typically there are no fees unless the lawyer obtains a settlement or award for you.
According to the Department of Labor the black lung program oversees benefit payments to approximately 81,000 claimants across the country.
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