Black lung disease is a job-related illness that you can get after inhaling coal dust over time. It is commonly known as Coal Worker's Pneumoconiosis (CWP) because it mostly affects coal workers. When you breathe in the dust particles, they settle into your lungs and airways. Your healthy lung tissues may try to remove them hence causing inflammation. Over time, you may get fibrosis. The severity of the disease depends on the amount of dust you have inhaled.
Research suggests that about 16% of coal miners in the United States get lung problems caused by coal dust. The disease does not manifest immediately. In some instances, you may start seeing the symptoms decades or years later. Common symptoms include chest tightness, a cough accompanied by black sputum, and shortness of breath.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for black lung. Treatment focuses on improving your quality of life and relieving symptoms. Since the black lung is an occupational disease, you may be eligible for compensation.
Unfortunately, many coal workers have trouble accessing treatment when they need it. If you have difficulty getting benefits for coal worker's disease, you may need an attorney's help. Your attorney will help you file a claim under the Black Lung Benefits Act. You may receive compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life.
The treatment regimen varies depending on whether you have a complicated or simple type of CWP and the severity of your symptoms. Generally, you may need supplemental oxygen and medication to control your symptoms and improve your symptoms. In severe cases, you may require lung transplantation.
Autologous cellular therapy is a common type of alternative treatment for black lung. The treatment uses your cells to promote your body's natural healing process. It may reduce lung inflammation and relieve symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing. Since it uses cells already present in your body, you are unlikely to experience adverse side effects.
Filing a Claim
You can cover your healthcare costs for black lung disease by filing a claim. If you have been diagnosed with the disease, you should let your employer (or former employer) know about it immediately. Stop your exposure to coal and file your claim through the workers' compensation system in your state. The cost of treating black lung disease is high, and you should not have to cover it yourself. You have limited time to report work-related illnesses, so it is vital to act promptly. Your attorney should help you determine the deadline in your state. The clock starts running from your last incident of exposure to coal mine dust or when you are diagnosed with the illness.
You may file another claim under the Federal Black Lung Program. You qualify for the benefits if you are 'disabled' because of black lung. Filing a claim means that the disease makes it impossible to do work that demands skills similar to what was in your last mining job.
The Black Lung Benefits Act covers the monthly benefits of eligible dependents of coal miners who died from pneumoconiosis or black lung disease. It also benefits the survivors of miners who were eligible for benefits based on their claims. In both situations, you may receive extra help for your dependents. The law may require the coal mining company that you worked for to pay for your benefits. Otherwise, you will receive benefits from the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.
Working with an attorney who understands coal mining cases is a good idea. They are likely to comprehend black lung disease and represent you well. They can refer you to a doctor who may diagnose and treat you. They will guide you through the complicated process of seeking benefits.
In conclusion, black lung disease is often stealthy. It may not present any symptoms during the initial stages. The first symptoms include a chronic cough and difficulty breathing. They are often mistaken for signs of asthma and other medical conditions. Many people do not get treatment fast, and the disease can be fatal. If you have worked in the coal mining industry for a long time, seek medical intervention if you experience symptoms such as chronic coughing and breathing problems. Early diagnosis promotes fast healing. If you need help filing a claim for your benefits, seek the use of your attorney. They may also help you file a lawsuit on behalf of your deceased family member.