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Our client’s husband, who was diagnosed with lung cancer, was screened for asbestos disease by an out-of-town law firm in 1999. Although he had worked his entire adult life in the coke oven division of Bethlehem Steel, and was a lifetime non-smoker, the out-of-town law firm informed the family that there was no basis for a legal action, being unaware of the close connection between lung cancer and exposure to coke oven emissions. Our client’s husband died of lung cancer at the end of 1999, and, having no reason to believe his death was related, she failed to apply for widow’s benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Law.

With the assistance of a medical expert who reviewed the hospital and medical records of the deceased coke oven worker, We have been able to persuade the Workers’ Compensation Board that the usual two year statute of limitations for filing the death claim should run, not from the date of death, but from the more recent point at which we and our medical expert informed the widow of the true cause of her husband’s death.We are hopeful that we will be able to establish this claim for our client entitling her to receive a lump-sum payment for retroactive benefits to the date of her husband’s death in 1999, together with future weekly benefits for the rest of her life.