If you’ve ever been injured at work, you’ve probably been told you can file for workers’ compensation to collect payment for missed wages, medical bills, and any lasting impairment. But did you know that workers are also entitled to benefits if they develop a condition or illness that is related to their job?
According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, an illness is considered job-related if exposure or a particular event in the workplace caused the illness, contributed to it, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition. Here’s a look at some illnesses that qualify for workers’ compensation and how to know if you’re eligible to file a claim.
What is an occupational illness?
An occupational illness or disease is one that has primarily arisen as a result of your work activities. The work environment includes the place of business operation as well as other locations where one or more employees are working or are present because of their employment.
What illnesses qualify for workers’ compensation?
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health qualifies the following illnesses under workers’ compensation:
Skin diseases or disorders that are caused by work exposure to chemicals, plants, or other substances. Qualifying illnesses include contact dermatitis, eczema, or a rash caused by irritants or poisonous plants.
Respiratory conditions associated with breathing hazardous chemicals, dust, gases, fumes or vapors at work. Examples of qualifying illnesses include asbestosis, pharyngitis, tuberculosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Poisoning caused by the absorption or ingestion of toxic substances. These substances include lead, mercury or arsenic, carbon monoxide, benzene, benzol, carbon tetrachloride, insecticide sprays, and formaldehyde.
Other qualifying illnesses include hearing loss due to a noisy work environment, heatstroke, frostbite, decompression sickness, effects of ionizing and nonionizing radiation, anthrax, blood borne pathogenic diseases such as AIDS, HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, and malignant or benign tumors.
Do psychiatric and stress-related illnesses qualify?
In California, psychiatric and stress-related illnesses are covered under workers’ compensation. Covered conditions may include a mental breakdown due to being overworked, a hostile work environment that causes psychological trauma, the development of PTSD after witnessing a tragic event at work, and job-related stress that contributes to a heart attack or stroke. A worker who suffers a psychiatric or stress-related illness may be entitled to medical payments or temporary disability benefits for the time they need to take off work to recover.
Have you suffered an illness as a direct result of your job?
If so, you may be eligible to file for workers’ compensation. The best way to know for sure is to meet with an experienced attorney who can review your case. Job-related illnesses can be more difficult to prove than injuries, so this isn’t something you’ll want to do alone. At the Law Offices of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we fight for the rights of workers every day, and we promise to do everything we can to get you the benefits you deserve. Call us to today schedule your free consultation.