Not An Accident: What Sick Workers Must Know About Occupational Illnesses

Posted on: 16 June 2023

If a worker has been sickened by an occupational illness, it is important for them to understand their rights and the available benefits under workers' compensation insurance. Read below for some key points to know.

  1. Reporting the Illness: It is crucial to report the occupational illness to your employer as soon as possible. Each state has specific deadlines for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses, and failing to report within the designated time frame may jeopardize your claim.
  2. Eligibility for Benefits: Workers' compensation insurance provides benefits to employees who have suffered work-related illnesses or injuries. Generally, if your illness is directly related to your job or workplace conditions, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
  3. Medical Coverage: Workers' compensation insurance typically covers the cost of necessary medical treatment for your occupational illness. This can include doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation, and other medical expenses related to your condition. It is important to follow the designated medical treatment process outlined by your employer and the insurance provider.
  4. Lost Wages: If your occupational illness prevents you from working or results in a temporary or permanent disability, workers' compensation insurance may provide wage replacement benefits. The amount and duration of these benefits vary depending on the severity of your illness, your ability to work, and other factors.
  5. Vocational Rehabilitation: In some cases, occupational illnesses can impact a worker's ability to return to their previous job. Workers' compensation insurance may provide vocational rehabilitation services to help you develop new skills or find alternative employment if you are unable to continue in your previous role.
  6. Filing a Claim: To receive workers' compensation benefits, you will need to file a claim with the appropriate workers' compensation board or commission in your state. It is important to follow the required procedures and submit the necessary documentation, such as medical records and accident reports, to support your claim.
  7. Legal Support: If your workers' compensation claim is denied, or disputed, or if you encounter difficulties navigating the process, it will be beneficial to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. They can provide guidance, help protect your rights, and advocate on your behalf to secure the benefits you deserve.

Workers' compensation laws and practices can vary by state. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and requirements in your state. Consult with an attorney that practices workers' compensation law. They can provide you with personalized advice and assistance based on your unique circumstances.

For more information, contact a workers' compensation lawyer near you.