Occupational Disease and Workers’ Compensation

Occupational Disease and Workers’ Compensation

Occupational disease refers to a wide range of injuries in workers’ compensation claims. If you were exposed to dangers while on the job, or developed illness as part of your job duties, it's possible you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

What is an occupational disease?

Occupation disease refers to any "disease" that arises from a person's job activities. There are a myriad of different causes of occupational disease such as:

  • Direct exposure to dangerous substances
  • Emergency responders who may be exposed to cancer-causing smoke
  • Workers exposed to toxic chemicals in various industries
  • Mesothelioma from asbestos exposure

What are the most common occupational diseases?

There are many different diseases that can develop as a result of on the job exposure. Here are some of the most common:

  • Asthma - Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Pain or numbness in the hand
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - Coughing, progressive breathing difficulty
  • Dermatitis - Skin irritation caused by a wide range of substances that may lead to chronic skin problems
  • Hearing Loss - Workers exposed to consistent loud noises are more likely to develop partial or full loss of hearing
  • Cancer - Workers who are exposed to hazardous chemicals or substances may develop cancer of some kind

How do you prove occupational disease?

In order to claim workers' compensation for occupational disease, you must be able to prove that your illness is directly attributable to your work-related duties. When a worker is involved in a singular injury event, it is typically much easier to make this connection. In the case of occupational disease, it may not be so straight-forward. Some diseases take a long time to develop, and it may be argued that the work did not cause the illness.

In order to prove this correlation, an injured worker must prove that (1) the disease was directly caused by conditions in the workplace and (2) the illness was developed or aggravated during the course of employment.

What type of benefits can be claimed for occupational disease?

Each workers' compensation claim is unique. There any many factors that determine benefits received. If your workers' compensation claim is approve, you may be eligible for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Treatment costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future income
  • Temporary or partial disability

Do I have an occupational disease claim?

If you've been exposed to dangers on the job, and developed a disease as a result, you may be eligible for workers' compensation. Engaging a workers' compensation lawyer early in the process is typically the best way to determine if your claim has merit and to maximize your potential benefits.

We invite you to a free confidential consultation to explore your specific case and determine your rights. Contact us today.