What Is Black Lung?
Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, more commonly referred to as Black Lung, is caused by exposure to coal dust which builds up in the lungs and cannot be flushed out by the body. The build-up of coal dust may lead to chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis (basically, a scarring of the lungs), and even necrosis (death of cells). Symptoms are likely to include shortness of breath, persistent coughing, fatigue and weakness, chest pain, and loss of appetite. Many people afflicted with Black Lung are unable to physically exert themselves and must be on oxygen, leaving them unable to continue to work in the coal mines. According to recent studies, about 9% of all coal miners working 25 years or more in the coal mines are afflicted with Black Lung.
Kentucky Black Lung Claims
KRS 342.316 is the statute that controls Kentucky Black Lung Claims. Under Kentucky law, duration of employment is irrelevant. The liable company is the last company for which you worked. A claim must be filed within 3 years of the last exposure or first symptoms. Benefits and duration of payments are based upon age, pulmonary function, and percentage of disability. If a claimant does not have breathing impairment, he or she is entitled to retraining incentive benefits. Claimants who take advantage of this, and are full-time students, receive 66% of their average weekly wage for 2 years and paid tuition. At the end of the program, the claimant is entitled to receive up to $10,000. Totally disabled claimants receive benefits until they become eligible for social security benefits.
Federal Black Lung Claims
The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, updated by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and the Black Lung Amendments of 1981, created procedures for the development of improved health and safety standards and created the Black Lung Disability Trust, which is financed by a federal tax on coal. The trust was established to compensate miners diagnosed with Black Lung and provide for their medical care.Successful claimants may receive monthly compensation and health care. A spouse and dependents may also receive monthly compensation if Black Lung caused the death of the claimant. As with state claims, the liable company is the last company for which you worked. The trust pays the benefits while litigation is pending, and if found liable, the company reimburses the trust for payments made.
We Can Guide You Through Your Kentucky Black Lung Case
If you’re ready to talk to a Kentucky Black Lung Lawyer about your case, we encourage you to give us a call or submit a form on our contact page. Consultations are always free and we are always happy to assist you in any way as you move forward with your Federal or Kentucky Black Lung case. Our expenses and fees are paid by the defendant. If we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us a penny.