When you think of a workers’ compensation claim, you likely immediately imagine a sudden workplace accident involving a fall, faulty equipment, electrocution, or other traumatic injuries. However, many workers’ compensation cases do not involve sudden accidents at all. Instead, workers seek benefits because they require treatment for an illness they contracted as a result of their job.
Claims involving occupational illnesses can involve complex legal issues, however, and obtaining benefits may not be as simple as after a workplace injury.
Receiving Benefits for an Occupational Illness
In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits related to an occupational illness or disease, an employee must generally prove the following:
- The disease resulted from conditions that are specific to their work environment or occupation
- The disease was not a common condition that would have been exposed to outside of work
Even if you believe that you contracted a certain illness at work, it can be difficult to get benefits if it is a condition common to the general public and not only within your profession. For example, if a lab technician contracts hepatitis from a blood sample, there is a recognizable connection between their job function and the illness. However, a nurse who develops a blood clot disorder may have a more difficult case. Even if the nurse claims the condition developed from prolonged standing on the job, it may be challenging to prove that the blood clots would not have formed from activities in her life outside of work, as well. In short, you must demonstrate an identifiable link between the performance of your job duties and the risk of this particular disease, as well as demonstrate that the illness would likely not have developed if it had not been for your job. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you present a persuasive case to support your claim of an occupational disease.
Common Occupational Illnesses
While a wide variety of illnesses can occur from work conditions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the following as some of the most common:
- Respiratory conditions from repeated inhalation of chemicals, fumes, gases, dust, or other agents
- Hearing impairments or loss due to regular exposure to loud noises such as blasts, explosions, or machinery
- Long-term poisoning due to exposures to toxic substances such as mercury, lead, formaldehyde, insecticides, and other toxins
- Skin disorders from exposure to irritants, chemicals, or bacteria
Perhaps the most well-known occupation illness in the United States is mesothelioma or related cancers that develop from first or second-hand asbestos exposure. While mesothelioma cases are relatively rare, this condition is still the subject of many occupational disease claims.
Find Out How the Wilton Law Firm Can Help You
At the Wilton Law Firm, we understand that many New Jersey workers’ compensation claims stem from injuries that arise over time. We can help to prove that your illnesses developed because of conditions at work so that you receive the benefits you deserve for medical care, income replacement, and long-term losses. Please call us today at 732-275-9555 to discuss your situation.