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Are you a victim of a paper mill accident resulting in a moderate or severe injury? 

Our paper mill injury lawyers represent injured workers in accidents at paper mills across the country. Call our paper mill accident lawyers or use our contact form today to set up a FREE consultation for immediate legal advice.

Over 200,000 workers in more than 560 paper mills across the U.S. each year create about nine million tons of pulp. Unfortunately, workers in paper mills are frequently exposed to toxic, dangerous chemicals, hexavalent chromium, chlorinated organic compounds, and pesticides. In the past few years, many workers at paper mills have suffered from mesothelioma or other occupational diseases due to exposure to asbestos (fiber-like silicate minerals) at the work site. In addition, many paper mill companies across the U.S. exposed their workers to a variety of asbestos products (fibrous silicate minerals) contained in equipment and buildings constructed prior to the 1990s.

While the paper product does not contain fibrous silicate minerals, equipment used at a paper mill does. Many of these older buildings still contain fibrous silicate minerals in their ceilings, walls, and other materials. Typically, employees are exposed to fibrous silicate minerals for the insulation, seals, and dryer pads necessary in paper mill processes. In addition, many employees involved with machinery maintenance are exposed to fibers and fibrous silicate dust involved with boiler operations, pulping, and papermaking.   

In addition, asbestos is frequently exposed to the intense heat and materials used for insulating vessels and pipes. During the different stages of paper production, employees may be exposed to asbestos dust and the fibers and talc used for paper blanching and refining in the production process. In addition, recent reports have shown talc contaminated with asbestos. Finally, high-speed paper machines need dryer felts to finish the papermaking process. 

For years, dryer felts contained asbestos to minimize damage from high-heat drying processes. Many materials used in older buildings contain asbestos, including factory pipes, glues, flooring, and ceiling tiles. In addition, building roofing, siding, and walls were insulates made of aqueous fiber because of their fire-proof properties. Many workers at pulp and paper mills exposed to the acidic fibers and dust had a significantly increased risk of developing asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other lung-related health conditions due to their exposure to the silicate mineral fibers.

According to Science Direct, the papermaking process produces a higher toxicity level from materials containing xenobiotic compounds. Generally, these compounds are foreign chemical substances that harm the lives of animals and plants. In the pulp mill, compounds are produced using chemicals and pesticides by the industry during paper production.

Any worker who suffers a physical injury from the health problems of the wood fibers and paper must immediately seek medical treatment. In addition, workers may be exposed to other occupational hazards due to tons of wood dust that contains germs, fungi, spores, and finely ground wood particles. Finally, some workers suffer repetitive stress injuries from performing the same task for hours.

Unfortunately, mill workers at pulp and paper are exposed to several hazards that can cause severe injuries and wrongful deaths. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study found a high concentration of acute toxicities associated with using resin acids for pulping and wood pulping used in papermaking. Working at paper mills in dangerous conditions has resulted in catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths. Any devastating harm at a workplace can change lives.

Typically, it may take weeks, months, or years for a severe accident at the pulp mill to heal completely, if at all. Therefore, a paper mill employee injured on the job is probably entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from his employer’s insurance company. Typically, the worker’s compensation policy provides coverage for hospitalization costs, medical treatment, physical therapy, job rehabilitation, lost wages, and temporary or permanent disability of the injured person. In addition, any family member who lost a loved one to an employment-related injury is entitled to file a civil wrongful death suit seeking the recovery listed above and the costs of funeral and burial.

The surviving family members may also seek damages for lost companionship, consortium, and spouse/family support. However, monetary compensation provided under a worker’s compensation scheme is generally insufficient to offset all unpaid monthly expenses for survival without weekly pay. In such cases, an injured worker is likely to retain the services of a catastrophic trauma lawyer to pursue a personal injury lawsuit seeking further compensation from third parties who were liable for the incident. A third-party personal injury lawsuit may be filed against any individual or entity other than an employer, and it collects extra benefits beyond weekly worker compensation payments.

The worker’s compensation program does not include personal injury claims that seek compensation for noneconomic damages, including lost companionship, pain, and suffering. Filing a third-party lawsuit may provide an injured person with an additional payment, depending on the cost of their case. However, third-party claims are often complicated, especially when filed while the victim receives a weekly stipend from worker’s compensation. A personal injury lawyer can advocate for your rights and seek the most favorable result to ensure you get all the settlement you are entitled to.  

Were you injured in an accident working at a paper mill?

Unfortunately, almost all workplace accidents occur in an unanticipated way, at a time when an employee is least expected to suffer injury. What can be done to ensure your rights are upheld and that you are protected in the event of a workplace accident?

Seek medical attention immediately: Nearly every major industrial accident causes severe injuries, which can impair a victim’s health and well-being. After an accident, seek medical attention right afterward to ensure a proper evaluation. Only a qualified medical professional with the best diagnostic tools can determine the extent of your injuries and the treatment required. Report What Happened — Tell an immediate supervisor or manager to report an accident.

Then, complete any required forms from your employer, which will be your first step in getting worker’s compensation benefits. Next, get a statement from witnesses — Ask if anyone saw anything that happened, and determine if there was a video camera recording that captured anything that happened. Obtaining witness statements immediately will ensure the person remembers what occurred before their memories fade. Finally, gathering relevant information and documentation: Capturing photo evidence at the accident site, as well as photographs of the injuries, hazardous areas, and damaged equipment, can help to ensure you have comprehensive documentation to show what happened in court or with the insurance adjuster.

Speak to an Attorney: While you may feel you can manage your injury case without the assistance of a lawyer, filing third-party claims when receiving worker’s compensation payments can be difficult. An attorney specializing in common workplace injuries can discuss your legal options. Many insurance companies employ a wide variety of tactics to minimize how much they pay injured workers to maximize their companies’ profits, all at the expense of their victims. However, an experienced personal injury attorney working on your behalf can ensure that you get every possible compensation from each party liable for the accident.


The Law May Limit the Time You Have to File a Paper Mill Accident Claim

Under the legal rule known as “the statute of limitations,” any claim stemming from a paper mill accident must be filed within a specific period of time, otherwise, the injured person or their family’s legal claims are barred, and their right to bring suit is lost for all time.

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