Can I File a Workers Compensation Claim For a Work Related Illness?

Required workers compensation insurance coverage must include coverage for injuries occurred not only in the workplace but those that happen in work related activities away from the workplace. In addition there are provisions for work related illnesses that “arise out of and in the course of employment.”

A work related illness must stem from specific risks associated with performing the job. These include, but are not limited to, exposure to toxic substances, joint or muscle injury from performing repetitive or strenuous tasks, or hearing loss due to noise exposure. They may also be illnesses that are brought on by stress such as heart disease, psychological or digestive disorders. The illness does not need to be the result of a single occurrence or practice. It could also be an illness that was precipitated by exposure that took years or even decades to become evident. One example would be mesothelioma from asbestos exposure which appears 10 to 40 years after exposure.

A worker who files a successful workers compensation claim may receive pay for the time it takes to recover from the illness or injury. If the employee is not capable of returning to his or her chosen line of work, workers compensation will pay to retrain the employee for a different occupation if possible. The worker who files a workers compensation claim forfeits the right to sue the employer. Worker compensation does not pay for pain and suffering or punitive damages.

Strict Time Constraints Apply

The claimant has a responsibility to report the illness to the employer immediately, as soon as the employee is aware of the problem. This must be done even if the employee no longer works for that employer. When the work related illness from exposure first becomes known it is imperative that a claim be filed immediately even if the exposure occurred years in the past or longer. The guidelines for filing in a timely manner are strict. Failure to adhere to those guidelines could result in a diminished claim due to penalties or exclusions.

During the initial investigative process in worker compensation insurance provider will require that the claimant be seen by a physician of their choice regardless of the original diagnosis by the claimants physician. The injured or sick employee may eventually be allowed to return to care by their own physician in the case of long term illnesses or injuries. It is imperative that the claimant be aware of and adhere to the laws strict requirements. To do otherwise could void the insurance company’s responsibility to pay.

A Qualified Workers Compensation Attorney

If you are injured on the job or became ill from exposure, stress, physical strain or anything related to your line of work it is important that you contact a  qualified and experienced workers compensation attorney immediately. The experienced attorney will know how to navigate the complex system of workers compensation laws. It may also be determined that legal responsibility for your injury or illness points at least partially to a party other than your employer. That party is not protected against lawsuits under workers compensation. It could be a manufacturer, property owner, subcontractor or anyone else associated with the workplace.

Do not try to work your way through the maze of workers compensation alone. Call Dolman Law for a free consultation. Do not wait. Hesitation could be a costly mistake. Call (727) 853-6275 today.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275