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Former plant workers struggle to get benefits after cancer

It’s a sad story that’s been repeated too many times throughout our history. Employees give the best years of their lives to a company only to find out that they were exposed to harmful chemicals, radiation or other workplace hazards and now have a medical ailment that requires extensive medical treatment. Yes, occupational illnesses like these are sometimes hard to predict. Companies may not have known about the hazards at the time, but upon learning of the damage that has been done, they have a responsibility to take care of the people who gave them so much over their careers.

Unfortunately, some companies don’t own up to their mistakes and try to dodge culpability, leaving workers with no recourse but to sue to try to take care of medical expenses. Sometimes, companies will agree to provide compensation and then set up roadblocks to the employees who need it.

That seems to be the case with semiconductor manufacturers Texas Instruments. Many workers in one of their factories later developed at least one of several different types of cancer after being exposed to radiation over a number of years in the middle to late part of the last century. Texas Instruments owned up to the problem and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program agreed to provide a maximum of $150,000 in compensation as well as cover medical benefits, but many former workers are saying they are running into problems.

One man made a claim and has waited two years for it to process. Others were denied because they were unable to provide proof of employment within the limited time frame they were given.

It’s a sad case, but not an uncommon one. And while it happened in Massachusetts, it happens throughout the U.S. If you feel you are suffering from an occupational illness and were denied workers’ compensation, a New York attorney may be able to help you file a lawsuit.

Source: thesunchronicle.com, “Ex-TI workers in Attleboro facing roadblocks,” Rick Foster, June 19, 2014

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