Worker’s Compensation Benefits for Occupational Diseases
Experienced New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Attorneys
Workers’ compensation is insurance offered by employers to financially care for employees who have been injured or become ill. These occupational injuries and illnesses must have originated as a direct result of work-related activities. Occupational diseases are compensable just like injuries are, however, it can be more difficult to prove cause. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that you are properly compensated for your work-related disease.
Occupational diseases can arise from dangers in the workplace such as exposure to toxic substances, repetitive strain, or extreme volume. If not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, occupational diseases can pose serious health risks.
Occupational Diseases List
Each state has its own workers compensation board that dictates which types of illnesses qualify for workers’ compensation. In New Jersey, that is the Division of Workers’ Compensation within the State of New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development. While some states list out each qualifying occupational disease in detail, New Jersey simply states that any occupational disease (or injury) must satisfy these standards:
- The illness must have arisen out of employment
- The illness must have occurred during the course of employment
- The claimant must prove that the illness was produced by causes particular to their specific trade, occupation, or place of employment
- The claimant must show that their work activities contributed in a substantial degree to their illness
Examples of Occupational Diseases
Since an occupational disease is any illness primarily caused by activities conducted during the course of one’s employment, the types of diseases are wide ranging. Some of the most common types of occupational diseases include:
- Hearing loss
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Skin cancer
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Mesothelioma / asbestosis
- Carpal tunnel
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has a list of occupational diseases that goes into great detail regarding type and cause, such as:
- Diseases caused by chemical agents, broken down by chemical type (pesticides, ammonia, lead, benzene, etc.)
- Diseases caused by physical agents, broken down by agent type (noise, vibration, radiation, exposure to extreme temperatures, etc.)
- Diseases caused by biological agents and parasites such as hepatitis or tetanus
- Diseases resulting in respiratory illness, such as bronchopulmonary disease and asthma
- Skin diseases
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Mental and behavioral disorders
- Occupational cancers
Causes of Occupational Diseases
Many factors can cause occupational diseases. In Worker’s compensation claims, an individual must prove that the work was a substantial contributing factor. An example would be if a construction worker performed tasks in a building with asbestos and contracted mesothelioma. They can file for compensation for their work-related disease. Another example is if an employee constantly repeats the same motion and damages the muscle or tendon.
Some Common causes of occupational diseases include:
- Working with hazardous materials
- Lifting heavy materials
- Working in ill-ventilated areas
- Working in a noisy environment
Do You Have a Claim?
In order to qualify for Worker’s compensation, you must prove that work-related tasks substantially contributed to or aggravated an injury.
If you or a loved one contracted an occupational disease, it is important you seek the representation you need. At Levinson Axelrod, our New Jersey Worker’s compensation attorneys have the experience and skill you need. In the last five years, we have helped our clients recover over $250 million in verdicts and settlements.