A worker who is injured on the job typically knows right away that the injury is related to work. Falling off of a roof and breaking a leg at a construction site, for instance, clearly warrants workers’ compensation. But what if you become ill and you suspect that the cause of your illness is your workplace?
In Pennsylvania, workers who suffer an illness as a result of their jobs are potentially entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, just like workers who are injured in a workplace accident.
What Is A Workplace Illness?
Asbestos-related mesothelioma cancerAn almost limitless variety of illnesses may be work-related or exacerbated by a worker’s job. Some common illnesses that a worker may suffer include:
- Black lung disease
- Mental illness
- Heart disease
- Respiratory diseases or illness
- Infectious diseases
How Is a Workplace Illness Determined?
Proving that an illness is related to your job is much more difficult than proving an injury is job related. This is particularly true when the illness is a progressive disease or takes an extended period of time to show symptoms. For example, many workers who contracted mesothelioma from asbestos exposure become ill decades later. Mesothelioma can lie dormant in a victim’s body for decades before symptoms begin to show – and even then those symptoms often mimic other illnesses, making it even harder to determine the source.
A healthcare worker might contract an infectious disease from a patient. While it may be obvious to the worker how he or she contracted the disease, it can be less obvious to an employer who does not want to approve the claim.
Increase the Chances of Approval
Always be honest and thorough with your healthcare provider when you are asked about symptoms, working conditions, and medical history. The more your doctor knows, the better the chance that the doctor will discover the link between an illness and your employment.
If you became ill because of your employment, Worker’s Compensation right away. You may indeed be entitled to benefits, but you may need legal help to prepare and file a successful claim. If you have questions or concerns about your legal rights to compensation, contact Shor & Levin, the Bulldog Lawyers, by calling 866-462-8553 or by using our online contact form.