If you suffer from a medical condition linked to your work, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation in Maryland. However, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover all medical conditions. To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, your illness must meet the legal definition of an occupational disease.
So what exactly is an occupational disease? Let’s take a closer look.
Legal Definition of an Occupational Disease
An occupational disease is defined as any health condition or illness that develops or worsens due to exposure to certain conditions in the workplace. This can include exposure to hazardous materials such as asbestos, toxins, and other dangerous substances. It also includes repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries are caused by repeated motions over long periods.
When filing for workers’ compensation benefits due to an occupational disease, you must prove that your job duties caused your symptoms. They can’t be the result of normal aging or pre-existing conditions. Employers may also challenge whether the condition was caused by workplace exposures or if you contracted it elsewhere.
For example, if a worker develops mesothelioma after their exposure to asbestos at work and there was no known prior exposure outside of the workplace, their illness the legal system would likely consider their disease occupational. This means they’d be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Proving Your Occupational Disease
To receive workers’ compensation benefits due to occupational disease in Maryland, you must prove several things including:
- That your illness was caused by conditions in your workplace
- That your symptoms developed over time rather than suddenly
- That your symptoms are related to your specific job duties
- That there is no other explanation for your condition other than workplace exposure
In some cases, this may require expert testimony from medical professionals. This is someone who understands how specific types of workplace exposure cause certain medical conditions. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer gives you the best chance of obtaining benefits for your occupational disease.
An occupational disease is any health condition or illness that develops or worsens due to exposure to hazardous materials or repetitive stress injuries from job duties in the workplace.
Proving that a condition qualifies you for workers’ comp benefits requires gathering evidence that shows it was directly related to job duties. An attorney specializing in workers’ compensation can help navigate this process. They’ll collect all necessary evidence, giving you the best chance of obtaining benefits for your occupational diseases in Maryland.
To learn more about how a workers’ compensation attorney can help you or to schedule a consultation to discuss an occupational disease, contact Shugarman & Mehring at 410.783.4200 or toll-free at 888.342.7200.