If you are a worker to which your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage applies, you have the right to receive benefits for any injuries or illnesses that are related to your job. This includes catastrophic injuries related to sudden accidents, but these represent only a small portion of what is covered.
Your illness or injury doesn’t have to be serious or life-threatening in order to qualify. It need only be related to work and require medical attention for successful treatment.
Exposure to certain work conditions can cause illnesses that relate back directly to the job. If you can establish the link between the illness and your work, you can likely qualify for workers’ compensation.
Some of the most commonly known occupational illnesses are respiratory diseases that stem from breathing in hazardous materials on the job. Asbestosis causes chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms, and can also lead to lung cancer. It is caused by exposure to asbestos and occurs most often in people who worked in manufacturing, milling, mining and asbestos installation prior to the 1970s. Black lung disease is caused by breathing in coal dust and can produce similar symptoms in miners.
However, even a disease not associated with a particular job may be an occupational illness if you can demonstrate that you contracted it as a result of your work. For example, a health care worker who was accidentally stuck with a dirty needle and contracted hepatitis or HIV as a result has grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim for an occupational illness.
Overuse/Repetitive Motion Injuries
Certain professions require you to perform the same motions over and over again throughout your work day. These tasks can lead to repetitive motion injuries, also called overuse injuries. Examples include tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Rather than occurring from a single traumatic event, overuse injuries develop over time. Therefore, it can be more difficult to demonstrate that the injury is strictly work related. If you can prove the link, however, they certainly qualify for workers’ compensation.
Mental or Emotional Stress
It is not only physical injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation. It is also damage caused to your psyche. Job stress can cause emotional or mental disorders that qualify for workers’ compensation. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization recently listed workplace burnout in its official International Disease Classification as a syndrome with quantifiable behavioral, physical and psychological symptoms.
There can be many different nuances involved in determining what does and does not qualify for workers’ compensation. An attorney can review your case and give you an idea of what you can claim. Contact a law office today for more information.