If you are exposed to hazards on the job and develop an occupational disease, it is important that you take steps to make a workers’ compensation claim to help you get the medical care coverage and financial support that you need.
To prove an occupational disease claim, you will need to prove two major points. The first is that you now have a serious or chronic physical impairment that has affected your ability to perform your job or work. The second is that you can show that the work environment or work activity caused your illness.
How can you link a disease to your occupation?
You can link your disease to your occupation through cause and effect. For instance, you may be able to show that exposure to asbestos in the workplace led to asbestosis in the lungs many years later. This illness can be directly linked to asbestos exposure.
Similarly, someone with a repetitive stress injury may show that the movements they make on the job are repeated so often that they caused injuries to them. For example, an office worker may type for hours a day and end up with carpal tunnel syndrome or finger injuries. Someone working on a factory line may develop shoulder injuries from reaching upward or lifting objects throughout the day.
Toxic exposure is another possible hazard that could lead to an occupational disease claim. Gases, chemicals, fibers and other toxins may lead to injuries such as:
- Skin disorders
- Organ damage
- Brain damage
- Lung disease
- Occupational asthma
- Asbestos-related diseases
There are certain types of exposure, like asbestos exposure, that are directly linked to illnesses. Other times, illnesses develop on an individual basis because of how a person’s body reacted to a toxin. As an example, not all people will develop occupational asthma, but some may when exposed to exhaust or other toxins in the workplace.
It is worth building a case to show that your occupation led to an illness and has made it impossible for you to work as much as you would like to. This may help you get your claim approved, so you can get the support you need as you recover.