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  • Adam Wiley posted an update 1 week, 3 days ago

    Are Occupational Diseases Covered by Worker’s Compensation?

    Though most work-related injuries are from accidents, some also arise from occupational diseases. A worker’s compensation insurance plan will provide similar coverage for occupational diseases as it does for workplace accidents.

    What Are Occupational Diseases?

    Occupational diseases or illnesses are chronic disorders resulting from the activities or environmental conditions in the workplace. In other words, they’re not ordinary diseases of life that people get outside work. Occupational illnesses usually develop over time and are a result of prolonged exposure to toxins in the workplace.

    In its occupational disease act, the state of Pennsylvania lists 16 specific conditions that qualify as occupational diseases. Some include:

    • Poisoning by arsenic, beryllium, lead, manganese, mercury, phosphorus, and their preparation or compounds in any occupation involving direct contact or exposure.

    • Compressed air illness (Caisson disease) resulting from any work carried on in compressed air

    • Disability as a result of direct contact or exposure to radioactive X-rays or substances, including Radium poisoning

    • Epitheliomas cancer or ulceration resulting from working with tar, bitumen, mineral oil, pitch, or paraffin

    • Asbestosis in any occupation involving direct contact with or exposure to the dust of asbestos

    • Tuberculosis, hepatitis, or other infectious diseases that a healthcare worker contracts in the course of the job

    • Silicosis, or coal workers pneumoconiosis resulting from a workers exposure to the dust of anthracite, bituminous coal, or silicon dioxide

    • Lung and heart diseases resulting in disability or death after four years or more in service of firefighting

    Exceptions to Ordinary Diseases

    Certain ordinary diseases of life may also be compensable if there’s convincing evidence that it arose as a result of work. For instance, hearing loss is a common disease an individual can get outside work. However, workers in noisy construction sites and manufacturing plants who acquire loss of hearing more than ten percent are eligible for compensation.

    In comparison, the general public is at risk of flu, and there’s no compensation for it, irrespective of the work environment. The best workers comp lawyers in Lancaster, PA, can help you determine if your condition is eligible for compensation according to law.

    Making Claims for Occupational Diseases

    Pennsylvania workers are to file claims for workplace injuries within three years of their occurrence. However, occupational illnesses may take several years to show symptoms, and it’s difficult to say precisely when the illness started. Therefore, the law allows workers to make claims within 300 weeks of their last exposure to the toxic workplace environment.

    If you make a claim, you’ll have to prove that it arose from the work environment, and it can be challenging. The defendant may say that it was a pre-existing condition, and this may hurt your claim. For instance, if you already had asthma before working in a paint factory, the fumes can increase your illness. However, you may lose your claim since it was a pre-existing condition.

    On the other hand, if you never had asthma before and it resulted from the fumes, you can get workers comp benefits. Due to the complexity of occupational disease claims, only the best workers compensation attorneys in Lancaster PA can defend your case.

    Conclusion

    Occupational diseases are common challenges workers in the United States face. But unlike traditional workplace accidents, these diseases are more difficult to prove. If you’re suffering from any occupational illness, you may want to seek help from one of the best workers comp attorneys in Lancaster, PA.