An occupational disease is an illness you acquired due to your job or work conditions, and it may be covered under Workers’ Compensation just like an injury from an on-the-job accident would be, even if you do not start having symptoms until years after you have left the job. The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at White and Stradley, in North Carolina, can help you determine if your illness is an occupational disease and if you are entitled to benefits.
Defining occupational disease
An occupational disease is set apart from other types of disease by the level of risk created by your job. When your job puts you at a higher risk than the general public for contracting a certain disease or being exposed to a certain hazard then your condition may be classified as an occupational disease.
Common occupational diseases
Diseases and other health problems that are commonly associated with occupational exposure include:
- Lead poisoning
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hearing loss
- Back strain and injuries
- Birth defects and developmental abnormalities
- Other cancers
Occupational disease may take time to show symptoms
Some occupational diseases do not show symptoms right away. In fact, they can take years or decades to surface. For instance, diseases caused by asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, typically do not produce symptoms until 20 years or more after exposure.
This affects your deadline for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. When you are injured in an accident on the job, you have a very short amount of time, after the date of the accident, to file your Workers’ Compensation claim.
You have a deadline for filing your claim
The same time limit applies to occupational disease, but it does not begin on the day that exposure began. Your deadline is calculated from the time that you discovered or should have discovered that you have an occupational disease. Even though you may discover your illness decades after you have left your job, once it is discovered, time is of the essence. If you do not act quickly you can lose your right to compensation.
You need the help of an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney
It is estimated that occupational diseases are responsible for 860,000 illnesses and 60,300 deaths each year. Still, the sources of these diseases often go overlooked or undetected. Because they are often the result of long-term exposure and in many cases a claim does not arise until many years after employment has ended, it can be difficult to prove that the illness was tied to the job.
Insurance companies and even employers will try to fight your claim. Unlike an accident that obviously happened on the job, you will need to prove that your exposure occurred at work. An experienced Worker’s compensation attorney can help you do that.
If you or a loved one is living with or has died from an occupational disease, please contact the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at White and Stradley serving Raleigh, Winston Salem, Charlotte, Durham, Asheville, Greensboro, Greenville, and Wilmington, North Carolina today. Let us get you the Workers' Compensation settlement you deserve!