Can I Get Workers’ Comp for Chronic Illness?

can I get workers' comp for chronic illness If you’re a resident of Maryland and you’re grappling with a chronic illness, you may wonder if you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a vital safety net designed to provide financial support to employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses. However, when it comes to chronic illnesses, the situation can be a bit more complex.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Chronic Illness?

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand what constitutes a chronic illness.

A chronic illness is a condition that persists over an extended period, typically lasting more than three months. These conditions often require ongoing medical attention and may impact an individual’s ability to perform their job duties effectively.

In Maryland, as in many other states, workers’ compensation typically covers injuries and illnesses that are directly related to employment. This can include injuries sustained in workplace accidents. Common examples include slips and falls, as well as occupational diseases caused by exposure to hazardous substances or repetitive tasks.

However, when it comes to chronic illnesses, proving a direct link to the workplace can be more challenging. Unlike acute injuries that occur suddenly and are easily traceable to a specific incident, chronic illnesses often develop gradually over time and may have multiple contributing factors.

When Can You Get Workers’ Compensation for Chronic Illness?

There are certain circumstances in which a chronic illness may be compensable under Maryland’s workers’ compensation laws. For example, if you can demonstrate that your illness was caused or aggravated by conditions present in your workplace, you may be eligible for benefits.

Common examples of chronic illnesses that may be covered under workers’ compensation include:

Occupational diseases

Occupational illnesses that result from exposure to harmful substances or conditions in the workplace. For instance, workers exposed to asbestos may develop mesothelioma, a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Similarly, individuals exposed to toxic chemicals may develop respiratory conditions or other chronic health problems.

Repetitive stress injuries

Jobs that require repetitive motions or prolonged periods of sitting or standing can lead to chronic musculoskeletal problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or back pain. If your job duties contributed to the development of such conditions, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Mental health disorders

Mental health conditions can be more challenging to link directly to the workplace. However, they can still be compensable under certain circumstances. For example, extreme stress, harassment, or traumatic events that caused anxiety, depression, or PTSD, you may be entitled to benefits.

Proving Your Workers’ Comp Case

To pursue a workers’ compensation claim for a chronic illness in Maryland, you’ll need to follow the appropriate procedures outlined by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. This typically involves:

  • Notifying your employer of your illness
  • Seeking medical treatment
  • Filing a claim with the Commission within the specified time limits

It’s important to note that navigating the workers’ compensation system can be complex, especially when dealing with chronic illnesses. Seeking guidance from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the benefits you deserve.

Obtaining workers’ compensation for a chronic illness in Maryland may pose challenges. By understanding your rights and seeking appropriate legal guidance, you can take steps to pursue the benefits you need to cope with your illness and maintain your financial security. For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact Shugarman & Mehring at (410) 783-4200 or toll-free at (888) 342-7200.

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