Seeking Worker’s Compensation for an Occupational Disease
Under the laws of the state of New Jersey, if you are injured on the job, and you are not an exempt employee, you must seek financial recovery for any losses through the state’s workers’ compensation system. An injury need not, however, be the result of a single traumatic event, such as a fall or the malfunction of machinery. You can seek compensation for any illness that arises because of your job or occupation. This blog post addresses the subject of occupational illness, identifying those circumstances where you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim for a disease.
In occupational disease claims, it is typical that individuals working in the same area, exposed to the same conditions, will show symptoms of the same illness or disease. Under the laws of most states, there is a presumption that a disease is caused by conditions at work, and the burden of proof is on the employer to show otherwise.
Types of Occupational Disease Claims
The most common types of occupational diseases leading to workers’ compensation claims are lung and skin related conditions. Lung disease may result from exposure to particles in the air, whether inside or outside. In many occupations, where workers have been exposed to asbestos, workers’ compensation claims for asbestosis have been frequent. Black lung, silicosis and occupational asthma claims are also common in industrial workers.
Many modern work sites involve the use of chemicals and chemical compounds. Accordingly, certain occupations, such as hairdressing, golf course maintenance, printing and motor vehicle repair, involve regular concerns about skin or other diseases.
Other diseases that can be covered under state workers’ compensation laws include:
- HIV or AIDS among medical workers exposed to the virus
- Allergic reactions
- Heart conditions or heart attacks resulting from stress or other conditions
With an occupational disease, if you had a condition prior to your employment that is aggravated by the work you do, you will typically be unable to recover workers’ compensation. For example, if you had a skin condition when you started your employment, and the work you are currently doing is aggravating that condition, you will not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you can’t work.