You may be familiar with the concept of Workers’ Compensation as payment for becoming injured at work. Oftentimes, this is associated with a traumatic injury or accident that happens while working.
There is a second aspect to Workers’ Compensation known as occupational disease. An occupational disease is usually an illness brought on over time.
Occupational diseases cover a wide range of illness and conditions. They range from repetitive use injuries of the muscles and nerves to injuries or illnesses caused by inhalation and exposures to toxic or infectious agents.
Take for example the nursing assistant needing to use repetitive forceful action with their hands and arms pulling on sheets and repositioning patients eight hours a day, who gradually develops carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms can develop slowly and worsen over time. The injured worker hoping the pain will subside often delays treatment or reporting to their employer. This can be an occupational disease that needs specific medical evidence and a strategy to ensure your benefits are properly paid and denials by the employer are overcome.
Similarly, that same worker may have been assisting in the treatment of a patient with a disease or virus. The nursing worker may later contract the same illness. This type of exposure claim also will need the procurement of specific evidence concerning their injury. The claim will also need to be supported by knowledge of the law and a strategy to hurtle the defenses the employer will raise to ensure the proper payment of benefits.
You should be aware that the benefits for both accidental and occupational disease injury claims are the same yet the time frame for giving notice to your employer is different. In an accidental injury case, one only has thirty days from the time of the injury to give notice to the employer. You need to inform your employer that you were injured as a result of a work accident. In an occupational disease, because these conditions may develop more slowly, you generally have two years from the date you become disabled or knew of the disease being caused by your work to give notice to your employer. Thus if the effects of an exposure were latent or did not manifest themselves until much later, you may still have time to give Notice and file your claim.
The attorneys and staff at MCV Law have unparalleled experience in successfully prosecuting occupational disease claims. Because of the unique nature of these cases and the special defenses to such claims raised by employers and their insurance companies, and because of our successes, many other attorneys refer their clients to us to prosecute occupational disease cases for injured workers.
We hope that you or anyone you may know who has an exposure or disease injury caused by work, will reach out to us to explore filing a claim and getting the benefits afforded those so injured.