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Pigeon droppings found to have caused work-related illness

An administrative law judge recently ruled that the widow of a deceased investigator that worked for a county prosecutor in Missouri is entitled to compensation after her husband's death. The man claimed workers' compensation for a work-related illness after developing a nodule in his lung that was removed and suspected to have been caused by exposure to pigeon droppings. He died five years later of a lung disease.

Reportedly, the man used to smoke cigarettes in the basement of his workplace, but was told to do this on the roof of the building. The area was also the gathering place of pigeons who left their droppings behind. When the investigator became ill, doctors discovered a nodule in his lung in 2007, and although cancer was suspected, it was found to be benign. He then filed a workers' compensation claim.

In 2012, the employee died after developing pneumonia complications along with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although the county objected to a benefits award for the man's widow, the judge found that she should be paid benefits. The judge ruled that the pigeon droppings caused his lung disease. The widow will receive a lump sum to cover past benefits for permanent total disability along with a weekly payment for the remainder of her life.

This case serves to underscore the fact that any Missouri worker whose benefits claim for a work-related illness is rejected can take it further. There is no point in giving up on denied claims. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can file an appeal and advocate on behalf of the employee or surviving family members. 

Source: safetynewsalert.com, "Pigeon droppings caused disease, worker's widow gets comp", Fred Hosier, Jan. 31, 2017

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