Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

chemical burns on the job, liver damage

My husband inhaled too much of a chemical called M.E.K. on the job at the hyperion treatment plant. the first symptoms were burning eyes, followed by skin eruptions on his arms and hands that bled. He was treated first by private insurance, then by workers comp, given many different creams and lotions, and steroid shots for a period of nearly two years, the sores still erupt but not as frequently, he gave up on treatment, the doctor just kept saying eventually the chemicals will all be out of his system. Now he applied for life insurance and failed the medical tests due to liver problems. He does drink light beer almost nightly, but we believe the liver damage is at least partially due to the chemicals. Do we have a case?

Asked on 3/13/01, 9:06 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Cortson Law Office of Michael D. Cortson, Esq.

Re: chemical burns on the job, liver damage

Typically, he is limited to work comp. I would need to know more about the supplier of the MEK and what, if any, warnings were given. We also need to know if there are and independent contractors that service that product for the City of LA. Work comp law is brutal. However, I just settled a case against the City of South Bend in Federal Court were a worker was killed. It took me a year of research, but I got the settlement on behalf of the parents. That is a constitutionally protected right. Husband/wife is an open question. Keep up the treatment, health is the most important thing. I practice in California and Indiana. When did your doctor tell you these injuries were due to the city? You have 6 months from the date of injury to file a Tort Claims notice with the city. It is a very formal situation.

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Answered on 5/08/01, 5:36 pm
Jeffrey Zinder Zinder & Koch

Re: chemical burns on the job, liver damage

It may be that you have a products liability claim against those that produce and market the involved products. I would need much more information. You normally have 1 year from the date of the exposure to file such a lawsuit. There are exceptions to this general rule which you will need to still have a case. You should see an attorney immediately.

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Answered on 5/08/01, 6:03 pm

Re: chemical burns on the job, liver damage

Your question has been sent to me as I specialize in personal injury law.

I am troubled by the fact that two or more years have gone by since this incident. Have you ever filed any type of formal claim or lawsuit? Have you ever retained a workers' compensation attorney or personal injury attorney?

California has strict time limits within which certain types of claims have to be made. Otherwise, your husband may loose all of his rights forever. I suggest that you contact the Los Angeles County Trial Lawyers Association and ask to be referred to an attorney who is experienced in toxic torts.

Good luck,




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Answered on 5/22/01, 7:36 pm

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