Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to help you secure the financial compensation you need for an occupational illness.
— Laurence Banville
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Most employees are aware that workers’ compensation is available for workplace injuries, but these benefits also provide financial assistance for workers who have developed occupational illnesses. In order for a disease, illness, or condition to qualify, you must have medical evidence which proves that your condition arose out of and during the course of your job duties. This can be a complicated process and occupational illness cases are usually more difficult than other workplace injury claims.
Occupational illnesses qualify for the same benefits as any other workplace injury, but the statute of limitations is slightly different. In order to file a claim for an occupational illness, you must do so within two years from the date of your disability or two years from the time you knew that your disease was caused by your working environment. This protects workers who only discover an occupational illness years after the initial onset.
Even if you’re still able to work with your occupational illness, you could still be considered disabled and eligible for benefits.
What Is An Occupational Illness?
According to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, a disease or illness may be considered occupational if it’s “produced as a natural incident of a particular occupation“, such as mesothelioma which develops from a job in asbestos removal. In order to determine if your illness or disease could be work-related, you should speak with your doctor about your condition and your work environment.
In order for your claim to be approved, your medical reports must verify that a work-related factor was the direct cause of your illness. For example, if you developed lung cancer from inhaling silica while working in a factory, you and your family would qualify for these benefits. But if your condition is determined to be caused by smoking tobacco, you would likely not qualify for workers’ comp.
It’s not uncommon for workers with genuine occupational illnesses to have trouble receiving benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Board may force you to undergo several medical evaluations, and insurance companies may attempt to argue that your condition is not work-related. Many ill workers require legal counsel to get through a difficult and time-consuming claims and appeals process.
Common Occupational Illnesses
Any workplace has the potential for occupational illnesses if the right hazards are present. Common illnesses which require workers’ compensation include:
Certain work environments involve regular exposure to cancer-causing agents. If cancer develops directly because of exposure to an occupational hazard, families may find financial relief for medical bills and lost wages in a workers’ compensation claim.
Common examples of work conditions which can lead to cancer include:
Frequent sun exposure
Working with chemicals and solvents
Regular exposure to environmental pollution
Mental Health Conditions
If you’ve developed a mental health condition and are struggling at work because of unreasonable work-related stress, you could be eligible for benefits for treatment and lost wages. For example, if you witnessed a fatal workplace accident as a factory employee and developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result, you would likely have a valid claim.
Workers in certain environments are regularly exposed to respiratory hazards which can cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses. If asthma or another health condition is directly caused or aggravated by workplace factors, that employee should change work environments and apply for workers’ compensation until the condition can be treated effectively. If your asthma symptoms are worse on work days and improve on your days off, there is a strong chance your condition is work-related.
Some occupations involve regularly work in environments with biological hazards which can lead to serious infectious diseases like Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, and staph infections.
Workplaces with a high risk of work-related infectious diseases include:
Any job which involves regular exposure to bodily fluids or contact with infected individuals is at the highest risk, but there is the potential to contract an infectious disease in a wide range of workplaces.
Skin disorders are one of the most common occupational disorders, ranking at #2 in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s official rankings. These can occur due to a variety of occupational hazards, including regular exposure to chemicals, excessive sun exposure, or skin conditions acquired in workplace accidents, such as a serious burn injury in a kitchen fire.
Is A Lawyer Necessary?
Receiving compensation for an occupational illness is often difficult since these conditions can be caused by so many factors which are not work-related. Getting your benefits requires detailed medical evidence and other documents and getting through a complex and intimidating insurance system. Employees without legal representation are at a disadvantage when going up against powerful insurance companies and their skilled lawyers.
In order to satisfy the requirements of the Workers’ Compensation Board and effectively negotiate with the insurance companies, most employees who suffer from occupational illnesses require the assistance of an experienced NYC occupational illness lawyer. At Banville Law, our experienced legal team is prepared to help employees through all industries recover the financial assistance they need after being diagnosed with an occupational illness.