Occupational Illnesses And Workers' Compensation

Posted on: 11 November 2019

An occupational disease refers to a disease or health condition caused by a work environment or by a work-related activity. Certain jobs can cause employees to develop life-threatening or disabling medical conditions that can cause lifelong problems. If you developed an occupational illness as a result of your working environment, contact a workers' compensation lawyer to find out if you may be eligible for compensation benefits. Here are some things to know about occupational diseases and workers' compensation.

Causes And Types Of Occupational Diseases

Occupational illnesses are caused by a number of different things in your workplace environment. These may include your exposure to mentally or emotionally traumatic events, exposure to noxious fumes, gases, chemicals, or solvents, extremes in temperatures, and constant vibration when working with jackhammers or factory machinery.

Other potential causes of occupational illnesses include exposure to pesticides, radiation, and loud noises. Working in environments that expose you to loud noises can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss. It can also cause tinnitus, or constant ringing in your ears. In addition to ringing sounds, tinnitus can cause loud hissing or whooshing sounds, as well as beeps and high-pitched tones. Persistent exposure to loud noises can cause emotional stress and impinge on your ability to concentrate on your job.

Loud noise exposure may predispose you to frequent earaches and headaches and may even raise your risk for chronic ear infections. There are certain jobs that may heighten your risks of occupational diseases, such as being a factory worker, an auto mechanic, a shipbuilder, a healthcare or veterinary worker, and a construction worker. Working in certain industries can raise your risk for occupational illnesses and injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, asbestosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as emphysema, cancer, hearing loss, tendonitis, and rabies.

One of the most high-profile occupational diseases is mesothelioma, which is a rare type of lung cancer that is associated with heavy exposure to asbestos in the workplace. It can develop years after exposure, and it typically causes a very unfavorable prognosis.

While cigarette smoking can raise the risk of mesothelioma in those who were occupationally exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma can occur in people who do not smoke. If you have developed mesothelioma as a result of workplace asbestos exposure, work with both a workers' compensation lawyer and a lawyer who has experience litigating mesothelioma cases. 

How To Prove An Occupational Disease

In order for you to receive your compensation benefits, you will first need to file a claim, and then you will need to prove that your disease or injury was related to your working environment. One of the most important things you will need to prove is that your illness or injury was not caused by factors outside of your work environment.

In addition, you will also need to show evidence that your disease or injury was directly correlated to the chemicals, toxins, physical activities, pollutants, or other illness-causing factors that you were exposed to in your place of employment. To further substantiate your case, your lawyer may need to obtain your medical records and talk to medical professionals who have experience with occupational diseases. If needed, your lawyer will depose your coworkers so that they can provide depositions at your lawyer's office. 

If you believe that you have developed an occupational illness or injury, call a lawyer for a complimentary phone consultation. After gathering all of the pertinent facts, the legal professional will determine if you are eligible for receiving compensation benefits. It is important to note that even if you are eligible for compensation benefits, it may take up to a month or more before you start receiving your benefits.