Most people spend more time at work than they do at home. Sometimes though, work environments can be dangerous. When most people think of workers’ compensation claims, they likely think of injuries from falls or dangerous equipment. However, some illnesses or diseases could be covered by workers’ comp too.
If your work environment causes you to become ill, you should not have to pay for medical expenses. In the past, most people really didn’t think much about falling ill at work. However, in the midst of this pandemic, going to work became more dangerous, putting employees and their families at risk of contracting COVID-19. If you contracted the coronavirus while working, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, you will have to prove that you were exposed at work, which can be difficult. This article will look at some more traditional diseases and illnesses that could be covered by workers’ comp.
Black Lung Disease
Pneumoconiosis, better known as black lung disease, is most commonly developed by coal miners. It’s dangerous to inhale coal dust because it is made up of carbon-containing particles. Over long periods of time, inhaling large amounts of these particles can cause black lung disease. After exposure, it can take years for symptoms to develop, so you may be able to make a claim even if you are not working anymore, depending on the laws in your state. There are also federal programs that can help.
Asbestosis is a lung disease caused by prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a natural mineral product. Before its dangers were known, asbestos was used in products such as insulation and cement. However, the government began regulating its use in the 1970s. Like pneumoconiosis, symptoms of asbestosis typically appear years after exposure. To get workers’ compensation for this, you will likely have to file a claim as soon as possible after you are diagnosed.
Mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor that affects the linings of your organs. It is most often found around the lungs, but in some cases, it can affect the heart, testicles, and abdomen. The most common cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and like asbestosis, it can take time to become noticeable, sometimes not making an appearance for twenty to sixty years after exposure.
Before filing a claim, it is best to familiarize yourself with workers’ compensation law. Laws vary from state to state, and not all states require employers to carry insurance. Some states only require employers with a certain number of employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. To help you figure out the workers’ compensation laws in your state, talk to an attorney. They can help you with filing and defending your claim.
Going to work shouldn’t be dangerous, but if you are injured or contract an illness while on the job, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Talk to an attorney to learn about your rights and whether your medical bills and expenses can be covered by workers’ compensation.
Author information: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now writes articles about health, business, family, and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.