Occupational Diseases & Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation benefits are payable when an employee sustains an injury on the job. Most of the time, people think of a single physical injury – however, a significant portion of workers’ compensation claims are for what are known as occupational diseases. Occupational diseases are medical conditions directly caused by one’s occupation or something about it. It is not easy to receive workers’ compensation benefits for an occupational disease, but it is possible, particularly with the right legal help on your side.
Governed By Florida Workers’ Compensation Law
Florida is one of the states that handles occupational diseases within the confines of standard workers’ compensation laws, defining it as a medical condition caused by the “nature of [the worker’s] employment.” This can be a positive or a negative, depending on your case, because in other states, simply having a condition that is on the approved list will grant you benefits without having to establish conclusive proof that your condition was acquired at work.
There are certain occupational diseases that may be more likely to be approved quickly, simply because they are more common, particularly in certain industries. For example, it is more likely for a construction worker to develop a lung condition, or chronic back pain, than it is to develop, say, tendonitis. This does not mean that the process is not difficult, merely that the authorities know what to look for in such cases.
If you are diagnosed with an occupational disease, you must inform your employer within 90 days of that diagnosis in order to potentially receive benefits. If you submit sufficient evidence establishing that you developed the condition at work, your employer is required to offer you benefits, such as medical expense coverage and lost wages. A failure to do so is actionable.
Keep in mind that in some cases, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits even if you had the disease prior to your work, though this is rare. In order to recover benefits, the ‘nature of [your] employment’ must be the “major contributing cause” of the harm you suffered. It is possible in some cases for a worker to have the beginnings of, say, carpal tunnel syndrome, but develop a much more severe case as they work for their employer. This is not often seen, but it is possible.
Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Occupational diseases can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and if you can show that your job created or exacerbated your condition, you have the right to receive benefits for it. If you have questions or concerns about your case, contacting an Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help to get them managed. Call our office today for a free consultation.