There are thousands of different jobs and careers available to us in the United States and a good portion of those are your typical, 9-5 office jobs. While you may think working in an office is boring, it does come with some perks, like air conditioning, a decent chair, and a clean place to eat your lunch, to name a few.
Not everyone’s jobs come with these luxuries however. Many jobs depend on physical labor, can also involve working in a situation or environment that isn’t always as safe and healthy as it could be. There are 168 hours in each week and most people spend 40 or more of those hours at work. If those hours are spent in a potentially hazardous work environment, they could result in the development of an occupational disease or illnesses. The attorneys at The Frickey Law Firm can help you determine if your condition entitles you to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
What is an Occupational Disease?
An occupational disease is any disease or disorder that has been caused by a specific type of work or working conditions. It is typically a chronic disease that not only causes victims significant suffering, but can cause debilitation to the point where it is impossible for them to work at all.
The cost of an occupational disease can be quite high, not only in terms of money but also in terms of human life. Dr. Patrice Woeppel, an author and retired hospital executive, writes that deaths due to occupational illnesses can be estimated at, “50,000 to 60,000 annually, ten times the number of fatalities from work injuries.”
Occupational Diseases: What Qualifies and What Doesn’t
An occupational illness can be something that develops over a long period of time or instantly after a particular incident. Regardless of how quickly its impact, to be considered an occupational disease it must be directly caused by the work a person is doing or the conditions they’re doing it in. That means pre-existing conditions, ailments, or illnesses do not qualify, even if they are further exacerbated by the work or work environment.
Some of the most common occupational diseases include, but are not limited to:
- Tennis Elbow/Golfer’s Elbow
- Hearing Loss
- Carpal Tunnel
- Computer Vision Syndrome
- Lead Poisoning
- Sun Poisoning
- Lung Diseases (black lung, cancer, byssinosis, etc.)
- Skin Diseases (eczema, skin cancer, etc.)
- Reproductive Disorders (caused by exposure to toxic substances)
Causes of Occupational Disease
So what causes occupational disease? A variety of factors can contribute to the development of an occupational illness or disability. Diseases may be caused by one major factor, like the inhalation of toxic fumes, or a combination of factors, like making repetitive movements while doing heavy lifting.
An occupational disease may be caused by:
- Chemicals/fumes (mercury, metallic oxides, etc.)
- Dust (saw, coal, etc.)
- Used needles
- Cumulative trauma (repetitive motions or activities)
- Heavy lifting
- High frequency/high volume noises
Regardless of the cause, if you’ve developed an occupational disease, you deserve to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your suffering. The Frickey Law firm can assist you in filing a workers’ compensation claim. Not only can we help you deal with workers’ comp through your employer, we can also help if your situation involved a third party that required you to work in unsafe conditions.
Receiving Workers Compensation
Getting workers’ comp benefits after contracting an occupational disease isn’t a given. It can take hard work to prove that you have an illness and that it was a direct result of your working conditions. You can start the occupational illness claim off on the right foot by completing these three steps first:
Report Your Condition: In Colorado, workers have 30 days following onset in which you can report an occupational disease.
- Go to the Doctor: After you’ve filed a report, your employer will likely tell you to visit a specific doctor. If a doctor isn’t recommended, you will be able to choose your own. Describe your symptoms and how your job duties caused them, so that the doctor is able to draw a line between your tasks and your illness.
- Consult with an Attorney: Your employer will have plenty of lawyers. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible, so having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side can make a huge impact on the success of your claim.
After filing the initial reports, you’ll need to fill out a Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation form. To accompany this, you’ll be required to provide a copy of your doctor’s medical reports. You’ll also need to write and sign an employment statement that provides a detailed account of what duties and functions your job requires of you on a daily basis.
Proving the causation of your illness can be the hardest part to filing a successful occupational disease claim. The lawyers at The Frickey Law Firm have handled numerous workers’ compensation cases over the years. We’ll work to prove that your condition is a result of your work environment and not an ordinary disease of life, and help you seek the benefits you deserve.
Let the Frickey Law Firm Help
Remember that your employer and their insurance company will do whatever they can to assert that your condition was not caused by your work and that, as a result, they are not liable for your condition. The severity of occupational diseases ranges from mild to life-threatening, making it crucial to file a claim ASAP.
Don’t let your employer or their insurance company bully you. If you’ve contracted an occupational disease, you can protect your rights to workers’ compensation by working with The Frickey Law Firm. Workers’ compensation is, by far, the most common method of recovery in cases involving an occupational illness and benefits can help with lost wages and medical bills. Let someone who knows how to work the workers’ compensation system help. Contact the Frickey Law Firm today for a free review of your case by giving us a call at 303-237-7373.