Are Work-Related Illnesses Covered By Workers' Comp?

September 14, 2023
Are Work-Related Illnesses Covered By Workers' Comp?

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that is provided by employers to employees. This insurance is meant to cover injuries that occurred as a result of an accident on the job. To count as a workplace accident, the employee must have either been at the workplace or fulfilling duties for the job elsewhere. Workers’ compensation assists injured employees by covering their medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages.

It is important to note that workers’ compensation starts on the first day of the job for all employees, and the number of hours worked is typically irrelevant in determining the compensation owed to an employee.

Are Illnesses Covered By Workers’ Compensation?

Most people are aware of workplace injuries being covered by workers’ comp, but not many people know that workplace illnesses are also included. For example, say that your job requires you to work with chemicals. If those chemicals’ fumes then harmed your respiratory system, making you sick, then you would be entitled to compensation.

The catch is that proving that an illness was the direct cause of carrying out job responsi­bilities is slightly more difficult than proving injuries. It can be easier to show proof of injuries occurring in accidents as physical injuries are usually more tangible and straightforward. A broken foot caused by the malfunction of a warehouse equipment may likely be demonstrated on CCTV cameras in the warehouse. However, a heart disease developed overtime through exposure to the workplace environment is not something that can be captured on camera or verified through eye-witness testimony. Claiming workers’ compensation benefits for illnesses requires an investigation process involving medical experts to test and assess the employee’s condition and the workplace environment. The sort of evidence necessary to find through the investigation process in order to qualify for the benefits include:

  • Proving exposure to something in the workplace environment resulted in the illness

  • Proving the exposure you claim to have caused the illness is substantial enough to have actually impacted your health

  • Proving that it could not have been exposure to environments outside of the workplace that caused the illness

How Can An Attorney Help?

Even though claiming worker’ compensation benefits for work-related illnesses is a bit more complicated, an experienced lawyer can assist you throughout the claims process. A worker’s compensation attorney can gather the necessary evidence and expert testimony from medical professionals to verify the link between your illness and your job. 

Do not miss out on the opportunity to receive the compensation that is rightfully yours. If you or a loved one is suffering from a work-related illness, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced attorneys today.