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Understanding Workers’ Compensation Claims for Occupational Diseases

Workers hurt during the course of employment are often entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Though many people associate New York State workers’ comp claims with employees who were injured in on-the-job accidents, the system also provides benefits to workers who develop serious illnesses or other medical conditions due to harmful occupational exposure.

If an occupational disease has left you unable to work while your medical and household bills mount, you may be able to collect medical treatment and wage replacement benefits. (Additionally, in some cases, an occupational disease may be considered disabling even if you haven’t missed work.) However, proving that your illness or disease is connected to your job can be challenging, which is why you need skilled legal counsel to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve.

Common Types of Occupational Diseases

What’s considered an occupational illness? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—a federal agency tasked with ensuring safe and healthful workplace conditions for employees—diseases and illnesses can be classified as occupational if exposure to on-the-job hazards was a cause or contributing factor. Examples of occupational diseases that may qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits include:

  • Diseases caused by physical conditions: noise-related hearing impairment or disorders caused by vibration, compressed (or decompressed) air, exposure to extreme temperatures, and other physical agents
  • Biological agents and infectious or parasitic diseases: tetanus, tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), brucellosis, bacterial or fungal-related toxic or inflammatory syndromes, anthrax, and others
  • Respiratory diseases: asbestosis, silicosis, anthraco-silicosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases caused by inhalation of dust, upper airways disorders, and aluminum-related lung disease
  • Skin diseases: allergic contact dermatosis and contact urticaria; irritant contact dermatosis and vitiligo caused by recognized irritants and agents; or other skin conditions caused by exposure to physical, chemical, or biological agents in the workplace
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: radial styloid tenosynovitis, chronic tenosynovitis of hand and wrist, olecranon bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other musculoskeletal conditions
  • Mental or behavioral disorders: post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions directly linked to work-related risk factors
  • Occupational cancers: caused by asbestos, coal tar, coal tar pitches or soot, benzene, tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil, anthracene (or resulting compounds, products, or residues), nickel compounds, wood dust, and other agents

Workers’ Compensation Claims for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Were you diagnosed with COVID-19? If you can prove that you were exposed to the coronavirus on the job, you may have grounds for an occupational illness workers’ compensation claim. Workers most likely to encounter the virus in the workplace include doctors, nurses, CNAs, home health aides, paramedics, and other health care professionals, as well as police officers, firefighters, cashiers, teachers, and janitors. Additionally, if you lost a loved one to a case of COVID-19 that can be connected to their workplace, you may have a viable claim. Contact our firm today to explore your right to benefits.

New York State Workers’ Comp Benefits for Occupational Diseases

Employees suffering from occupational illnesses and diseases are entitled to the same benefits as workers injured in on-the-job accidents. These benefits include medical treatment, wage replacement payments, and death benefits for surviving family members.

We Can Help You Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits for an Occupational Illness

Obtaining benefits for a work-related disease or illness largely depends on whether you can link the malady to hazardous conditions encountered in your workplace. This requires exceptional legal skill and a thorough investigation into your workers’ compensation claim. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.

To find out how the adept New York workers’ compensation attorneys with O’Connor Law PLLC can help you fight for benefits, contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation. Don’t wait—injured New York workers have just two years from their date of disability or two years from the time they knew (or should have known) that the illness was related to their employment—to file a claim.


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