An occupational disease refers to a health condition you sustain in the performance of your workplace duties. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the welfare, health, and safety of employees in the workplace. More often than not, you incur the illness because the employer has been negligent in making sure to eliminate the hazards concerning your job.
According to Reck Law, not all workplace injuries require litigation. At the outset, if your company has an internal system for compensation, any health-related condition or workplace injury would be addressed administratively. However, if you feel that the system is not working to compensate you for the injury you sustained, that is when you need to bring in a legal expert.
It is essential since millions of Americans get pushed to bankruptcy because of medical expenses. According to the World Health Organization, seven in ten workers around the world do not have insurance to pay for occupational injuries and diseases they sustain on the job. Meanwhile, the National Safety Council revealed that a worker gets injured in the workplace in the US every seven seconds.
Examples of Occupational Diseases
Among the examples of occupational diseases are:
- Hearing loss
- Lead poisoning
- Metal fume fever
- Writer’s cramp
- Blood-borne diseases
- Farmer’s lung
- Chemical burn
- Berylliosis or beryllium poisoning
- Chronic strain
- Golfer’s elbow
- Mental stress and disorders
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide their workers in hazardous environments with personal protective equipment. If the employer is negligent in this aspect, which then contributed to the worker developing an occupational disease, then it is your right to sue the company. OSHA also encourages companies to adopt programs to promote proactive lifestyle changes and exercise among their workers.
When Do You Not Need a Lawyer?
You do not need to call a lawyer when the injury is minor, and you can quickly go back to work after the treatment. For instance, if you slipped on a wet part of the floor and sprained your ankle, you will probably miss a few days from work, but you will be back after your ankle is better.
What are the common elements of that injury?
- You did not miss extensive time from work.
- Your injury is minor, even if it is work-related.
- Your company extended some help (apart from your company health insurance).
- It does not result in permanent injury or disfigurement.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
State regulations require that you inform your employer about any injury immediately, within a few hours or days when the symptoms manifest.
Here are some ways when you need the services of the lawyer:
- When your employer’s compensation is not equivalent to the cost of treatment, including therapy and medication.
- When the employer does not have worker’s compensation insurance.
- When the employer deliberately withholds information from you on the risks related to your tasks (the dangers of lead, arsenic, or other heavy metals, for example).
- When the employer stonewalls all your attempts to get compensation.
- When your claim gets denied arbitrarily.
- When the employer disputes your permanent disability rating.
Finally, if the occupational disease or workplace injury prevents you from ever working again, you need to maximize your compensation benefits. You do not only factor the expenses for a lifetime of therapy or maintenance medicine, but you also need to make sure your family is well-provided for, especially if you are the sole breadwinner.