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Understanding workers’ compensation claims

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Workplace Illness |

Workers’ compensation helps employees who suffer from illnesses or injuries they got while on the job. Unlike common ailments that anyone can get, like the flu or a cold, these conditions must result from workplace exposure or activities. Understanding the difference can ensure that workers know when to seek these benefits.

What is an occupational illness?

To be an occupational illness, it must result specifically from work or work-related activities. Common examples include:

  • Asbestosis from exposure to asbestos in professions such as construction or firefighting.
  • Chronic bronchitis or other lung diseases in coal miners or those working in dusty environments.
  • Chemical-induced conditions, like skin diseases or breathing problems from exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  • Repetitive strain injuries that lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

What does workers’ compensation cover?

Workers’ compensation helps employees with occupational illnesses by covering medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs. It pays for treatments, surgeries, and ongoing care, including special equipment if needed. It also provides partial wage replacement for temporary disabilities and long-term benefits for permanent disabilities.

Challenges to receiving workers’ compensation

To receive workers’ comp, you have to prove that your job was the deciding factor in acquiring the condition. Proving that an illness came from one’s occupation rather than external factors can be difficult. This is especially true for diseases that may be common in the general population but workplace conditions aggravated or caused. Challenges can include:

  • Complex cases: If your illness can also occur in non-work-related scenarios, you may need detailed medical exams and expert testimony to prove your claim.
  • Claim denial: If your initial claim for workers’ compensation is denied, you will need a lawyer to appeal the decision.
  • Insufficient coverage: The compensation offered may not cover all medical expenses or lost wages.
  • Employer disputes: An employer may dispute a claim or become hostile during the claim process.

Occupational illnesses can have a significant impact on your health and financial stability. Knowing when an illness qualifies for workers’ compensation in California is important to get the financial help you need.