For many people, work can be hazardous to their health. Some jobs carry inherent risks that can lead to accidents, injuries, or even chronic illnesses. If you believe that you have developed a work-related illness, you may be wondering whether workers’ compensation insurance covers it. Understanding what kind of injuries and illnesses are covered by workers’ comp can help you determine whether you are entitled to benefits.
Workers’ comp is insurance that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Each state has its own laws governing workers’ comp, but most programs cover the following types of injuries:
- Acute Injuries – These are injuries that occur suddenly, such as broken bones, lacerations, and sprains.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries – These are injuries that develop over time due to repeated movements or actions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
- Occupational Diseases – These are illnesses that result from exposure to workplace hazards, such as lung disease, cancer, or hearing loss.
Do Workers’ Comp Policies Cover Illnesses?
Workers’ comp policies typically cover acute injuries and repetitive stress injuries. However, the coverage for occupational diseases can vary widely depending on the state’s laws and regulations. Some states are considered “occupational disease” states, which means that the laws and regulations in those states will more likely cover illnesses resulting from certain work exposures.
In other states, coverage for occupational diseases may be limited to only specific industries or professions. In these states, coverage for an illness such as silicosis might be confined to a worker who develops it while working in the construction or mining industry.
Workers’ comp coverage for illnesses is generally based on the following elements:
- Whether the illness was contracted through exposure at work
- Whether the illness is directly related to the employee’s job, including the worker’s job site, job role, or workplace environment
- Whether the illness was developed during the course of their employment
In some cases, a worker’s illness may be determined to be the result of questionable working conditions. These workers may qualify for workers’ comp benefits.
How Do You Qualify for Workers’ Comp if You Have a Work-Related Illness?
If you have a work-related illness that you believe may be covered by workers’ comp, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of receiving benefits.
First, notify your employer immediately and report the illness. Second, seek medical treatment and document everything related to your illness. Lastly, file a workers’ comp claim promptly and get an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help you throughout the process.
The best way to determine your rights is to speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. They understand your state’s laws and your rights. By knowing what type of compensation is available, you can take steps to protect yourself and your family in the event of a work-related illness.