Workers' compensation insurance is meant to compensate workers who get injured on the job. This is what most employees know, but the reality is that the insurance isn't just for accidents; it also extends to some forms of illnesses. Here are two examples of illnesses that Workers' compensation may cover, and how you can prove your claim:
Diseases Caused By Work Conditions
Some work conditions and give rise to diseases, and if that happens, you are entitled to Workers' compensation as long as you can prove it. For example, those who work with wood, silica or coal may inhale their dust, which may give rise to lung conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Some chemicals may also cause skin diseases, such as skin cancer and contact dermatitis, in workers exposed to them.
Illnesses Caused By Emotional Stress
It is well-known that physical stress cause illnesses, but what you may not know is that emotional stress can also cause physical illness. Stress can trigger migraines and headaches, give rise to depression and anxiety, and worsen gastrointestinal problems. Emotional stress as a trigger of physical illness is not a well-documented field. Matters are made worse by the fact that people respond differently to stress triggers; it's not like physical injuries. Everybody will be hurt by falling from the roof of a tall building, but not everyone will feel stressed (at least not to the point of getting physically ill) by the difficulties of keeping up with an assembly line in a factory.
As you can imagine, your employer will not be too happy if you link your work conditions to your illnesses. Therefore, you have your work cut out for you in terms of proving your work-illness connection. Here are some of the proofs you need to strengthen your claim:
- You did not have the disease before you started working in the suspect environment.
- Your symptoms worsen when you are at work, especially when near the offending materials or conditions.
- Other people working under the same conditions have complained of similar health issues.
You may need an expert witness, such as a medical doctor, top prove these claims.
The best thing you can do for yourself if you have developed a work-related illness is to consult an attorney. These cases aren't as clear-cut as accidents, so you need thorough preparation for your workers' compensation claim; a workers' compensation lawyer will help you do that.