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Occupational Disease Workers’ Compensation

Hard-working people risk their health and safety every day. Minor injuries are common in many workplaces, especially in industries like construction or factory work. Unfortunately, some workers develop more serious illnesses or conditions in the form of occupational diseases.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an occupational disease, we’re here to help you get all the money and benefits you deserve. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are ready to fight for you as your legal advocates. Call us now at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation or schedule online to start recovering on your occupational disease claim today.

What Is An Occupational Disease?

An occupational disease is a condition or illness you develop as a result of working in your job. This doesn’t apply to catching a cold, a curable infection, or a temporary injury. An occupational disease is a condition with long-term effects that cannot be cured outright.

Conditions like mesothelioma, carpal tunnel syndrome, cancer from exposure to known carcinogens in the workplace, post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a workplace incident, permanent hearing loss, or workplace exposure to HIV would be considered occupational diseases.

Because the disease or condition is a direct result of work-related events, it’s considered an occupational disease for legal purposes. Significantly, this classification can impact the money and benefits available to affected workers.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Diagnosed With An Occupational Disease?

Once you’ve been diagnosed with an occupational disease, you have (30) days from the time your doctor makes a diagnosis to inform your employer about your condition. The sooner you inform your employer, the easier it becomes to file a workers’ compensation claim.

There is an exception for hearing loss as an occupational disease. You have up to two (2) years to report hearing loss to an employer because hearing loss often progresses slowly. As such, it may not be noticeable or easily detectable from the moment of onset.

That said, if you already had the condition or illness before you started your job (or if you have a history of complications from your illness), you may not qualify for workers’ compensation or similar benefits. Your medical history regarding your illness typically must start after your official hire date with the company.

After you’ve formally reported your occupational disease to your employer, you have up to two (2) years to make a workers’ compensation claim. For this reason, it’s best not to wait. Your workplace can make your occupational disease worse, especially if the same conditions that caused your disease are still present. Moreover, it’s generally best to seek out workers’ compensation as soon as possible so you have time to recover and receive proper treatment.

How Can You Get Help If You Believe You’ve Developed an Occupational Disease?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition or illness and your doctor believes that your workplace or your job was the primary contributor to your condition, you may be entitled to compensation.


The best time to act is as soon as you’ve officially received a diagnosis for your occupational disease. Gather your medical records from the past few years and call a skilled lawyer. The seasoned workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are prepared to help you make your case. Dial 516-342-2200 now for a free consultation or schedule online today!

Depending on the nature of your workplace condition, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation or, in rare cases, you may be able to make a personal injury claim against your employer.

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance system that protects employers and employees. Employees who become injured or ill at work or while in the performance of job-related duties can file a claim with workers’ comp for medical and lost wage compensation while they’re recovering.

The no-fault system means that there’s no need to argue over whether the condition is the employee’s or the employer’s fault—even if someone was at fault in certain cases. No one is deemed responsible, and benefits are made available as long as the original incident occurred while the employee was on the clock.

Personal injury claims are used instead of workers’ compensation to seek compensation for intentional negligence or malice by your employer that knowingly put you in harm’s way. These cases are rare — workers’ compensation is almost always used instead of personal injury claims.

Personal injury claims can also be filed if your employer broke the law by failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage. New York State law requires that employers establish workers’ compensation coverage and make regular contributions to it. In addition to leaving employers open to personal injury claims for failing to provide workers’ compensation, employers can also face legal consequences.

Can You Get Workers’ Compensation For An Occupational Disease?

New York workers who suffer from occupational diseases are entitled to the same benefits as people who experience temporary illnesses or injuries as a result of their workplace activities.

Workers’ compensation cases are often more complicated for people with occupational diseases because cases aren’t easily open and shut. If you break your arm in a debris accident, you can go back as soon as you get your cast off. If you come down with cancer as a result of workplace carcinogen exposure, it isn’t clear when it will be safe for you to return.

Occupational disease workers’ compensation recipients are entitled to medical treatment, compensation for lost wages, and even death benefits for their surviving family members if they, unfortunately, do not recover from their condition.

Because of the unpredictable nature of occupational disease, workers’ compensation may delay treatment or benefits. Workers’ compensation for occupational disease can last several years and be a significant expense for workers’ compensation insurance.

If you feel workers’ compensation is dragging out your case or if you feel they’ve wrongly denied your occupational disease claim, you need to hire the right lawyer. The award-winning legal team at Schwartzapfel Lawyers is ready to fight — and win — for you.

To start recovering today, simply dial 516-342-2200 or schedule online now. Remember, the sooner you call, the sooner we can start the process of getting you all the money and benefits you’re owed.

What Kinds Of Damages Can You Recover Through Workers’ Compensation For Occupational Disease?

Workers’ compensation may not cover all costs associated with your occupational disease, but it can contribute a significant amount towards your ongoing medical and life expenses.

Medical Costs

Medical costs include costs for treatments, medicine, surgical procedures, hospitalization, and doctor’s visits. If you started receiving treatment before your workers’ compensation claim was approved, you’re allowed to claim reimbursement for past expenses you’ve already paid or eligible bills you’ve not yet paid.

Lost Wages

An occupational disease will not always permanently impact someone’s ability to work. If you’re allowed to work in some capacity with your occupational disease, workers’ compensation can make up the difference in your lost wages. If you’re completely unable to work, workers’ compensation can provide a greater level of financial support.

Lost Earning Capacity 

In some worst-case scenarios, an occupational disease may impact people in a way that prohibits them from ever returning to work. Some people may be eligible for something called a Schedule of Loss of Use award, which is a large cash benefit intended to compensate recipients for their lost earning capacity.

How Long Does Workers’ Compensation For Occupational Disease Last?

Generally speaking, the maximum length of New York workers’ compensation is ten (10) years, ranging from (252) weeks to (525) weeks. The duration of your workers’ compensation largely depends on the extent of your injury or illness.

If you still cannot return to work at the end of your workers’ compensation term, you may need to use an alternative like Social Security Disability to provide for yourself and your family.

The process of qualifying and applying for Social Security Disability is much different from the process of filing workers’ compensation. The two (2) processes are completely separate, so you’ll need to start a whole new case from the very beginning.

Note: If your doctor believes that you won’t be healthy enough to return to work by the time your workers’ compensation runs out, you may begin the process of applying for disability benefits before your workers’ compensation is over. At this point, if awarded disability benefits, you’ll likely stop receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

How Skilled Lawyers Can Give You The Help You Need

If you or a loved one is suffering from an occupational disease, you may benefit from hiring a skilled lawyer, as it can be difficult to get everything you’re entitled to without competent legal assistance.

The seasoned team at Schwartzapfel Lawyers has more than (150) years of combined experience helping people just like you. Call us now at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation on your occupational disease claim. Alternatively, visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.

Your health is too important to leave up to chance. Call now!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 516-342-2200 now!

Sources:

Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Occupational Disease and Workers’ Compensation: Coverage, Costs, and Consequences | National Library of Medicine

NYS Open Legislation | SECTION 15 Schedule in case of disability | NYSenate.gov

Workers’ Compensation Awards for Loss of Use or Permanent Disability | New York State Workers’ Compensation Board

Workers’ Compensation Occupational Disease | New York State Workers’ Compensation Board

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