Occupational diseases don't manifest the same way as injuries caused by workplace accidents. Regular exposure to toxic chemicals, hazardous materials and irritants often result in debilitating — and sometimes fatal — health conditions. Some occupational diseases start out mild and progressively get worse. If you notice that something doesn't feel right, it's critical that you notify your employer and see a doctor as soon as possible. You may be eligible for workers' comp or disability benefits, depending on the nature of your health condition.
An experienced Philadelphia workers' comp lawyer at the Law Offices Of Richard A. Jaffe, LLC can go over your legal options with you. First, here's what you need to know.
The most common occupational diseases
The most common occupational diseases include:
- Asthma - Coughing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness and wheezing linked to exposure to certain irritants, allergens and extreme humidity.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome - Pain, weakness, numbness and/or tingling in the hands (median nerve) linked to repetitive use of the hands and fingers. This condition is very common among workers who use hand tools or type at a computer.
- Irritant contact dermatitis - Pain, itching, skin irritation, swelling, burns and blisters on the skin caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals.
- Epicondylitis - Pain, weakness and loss of mobility in the humerus (long bone of the arms) due to overuse of the arms. This condition is also known as "tennis elbow."
- Lung diseases - There are many work-related lung diseases that result from inhaling mineral dusts, metal particles and vapors from hazardous gases and chemicals. The symptoms usually include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain and tightness, and fatigue. The most common occupational lung diseases include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Lung cancer
Challenges in proving occupational diseases
If you developed an occupational disease, you will need to prove that it happened at work to pursue workers' comp benefits. You will need to consider:
- The conditions of your workplace
- Types of tools and materials you work with
- Chemicals, gases and other hazardous substances in your workplace
- The diagnosis and recommendations you received from your doctor
When you notify your employer, make sure you do so in writing. This way, both you and your employer have a record of your occupational illness. When seeing a doctor, tell them that you believe your condition developed at work. Your doctor will note this on your medical record.
Be sure to speak to an experienced Philadelphia workers' comp lawyer before filing a claim. The process is often complex, especially for those filing for the first time. You want to make sure that there are no errors on your application and all crucial documents are prepared for your case.
What you can expect from your workers' comp claim
With more than 35 years of experience, Attorney Richard A. Jaffe knows how to help injured workers get the benefits they deserve. Attorney Jaffe knows how to deal directly with the insurance companies and negotiate for fair financial settlements. Here is a breakdown of the benefits you can expect to receive:
- Medical costs - All current and future medical expenses that are necessary and reasonable.
- Wage reimbursement - Two-thirds of your average weekly wages while you recover.
- Disability benefits - If your injury or illness resulted in partial or total permanent disability.
- Death benefits - Benefits granted to the spouse and children of a deceased worker.
Our Philadelphia law firm would be glad to discuss your next steps during a free and confidential case consultation. When you hire us, you won't have to pay any upfront legal fees. You only pay if we win your case and you are fully compensated. Contact us online or call us to get started.