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How Occupational Diseases Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

working with toxic substancesWhile many people associate workers’ compensation with injuries that occur at work, these benefits can also apply to workers who contract a disease in their workplace. If you have lost time at work because of an illness you contracted while on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Individuals who have worked in environments where they were exposed to contaminants that adversely affected their health should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. There are strict time limits for filing a workers’ compensation claim, which can include payment for medical expenses and partial wage replacement.

A workers’ compensation lawyer can discuss with you how your work environment has affected your health, and he or she can explain if you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits for your occupational illness.

Call (717) 888-8888 now to schedule a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney.

Common Occupational Diseases

Workers may come into contact with dangerous fumes, chemicals or other substances that adversely affect their health. When a worker contracts an occupational illness due to exposure to toxic substances, workers’ compensation may help cover the resulting illness.

Workers’ compensation benefits are exclusively provided for the following types of occupational diseases:

  • Poisoning – Pennsylvania state law provides for the payment of workers’ compensation benefits for workers poisoned by arsenic, phosphorus, lead, mercury, manganese, methanol, carbon monoxide, carbon bisulfide, radium, ammonium, or other toxic substances or materials.
  • Caisson disease – This disease can develop when a worker is subject to compressed air.
  • Epitheliomatous cancer or ulceration – This disease can develop when a person is exposed to substances such as tar or mineral oils.
  • Skin infection or inflammation – Workers whose skin is infected or inflamed by oils, cutting compounds, fumes, dust or other substances may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Asbestosis – Handling asbestos and inhaling its dust can cause workers to develop this disease.
  • Anthrax – Workers who work with wool, hides, skins, animal bodies or bristles may develop an anthrax bacterial illness.
  • Miner’s asthma – Workers may develop silicosis or pneumoconiosis due to their contact with silicon dust or coal.
  • Tuberculosis or hepatitis – A worker can contract these illnesses in the nursing field or auxiliary services that involve exposure to people who are sick.
  • Heart and lung diseases – These illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation for firefighters who have worked for at least four years and whose health has been adversely affected by inhalation of smoke, fumes or gases.

Other diseases not specifically mentioned here may also be covered by workers’ compensation if they meet certain requirements.

Requirements for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, an illness must meet the following conditions:

  • The worker was exposed to the substance because of his or her job
  • The type of exposure is related to the worker’s job or industry
  • Its occurrence is substantially greater in the industry or job than in the general population

There are also specific deadlines involved in workers’ compensation claims. An injured worker has up to 120 days to report the disease to his or her employer, but it is best to notify an employer immediately upon being diagnosed with an occupational disease. Additionally, the disability from the disease must have occurred within 300 weeks of the last exposure to the hazardous substance.

In addition to these deadlines, there may be other requirements that a claimant must meet. For example, to receive benefits for certain lung diseases, an employee must have worked in a Pennsylvania job with a coal, silica or asbestos hazard for at least two years during the ten years prior to the disease being contracted.

Get Help with Your Claim

If you have developed an occupational disease because of your work, it is important that you understand your rights and what benefits may be available to you. Our workers’ compensation lawyers have years of experience in this field and are very familiar with the requirements that must be met to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits for an occupational illness.

We can discuss your legal options and the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Your consultation is free and confidential, and we never charge upfront fees. You only pay us if we are able to help you obtain compensation, so there is no risk to you. Contact us today.

Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form or call (717) 888-8888 to get started on your claim.