Many people are aware that workers can suffer injuries on the job, but not everyone knows that some of the harm that comes to employees in the workplace cannot always be immediately seen. There are also cases in which workers may contract a serious illness or disease as a result of their work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 300,000 occupational diseases and illnesses were contracted in the year 2002 alone.
What is an occupational disease?
An occupational disease is an illness or condition that results from an employee’s work environment or “arising out of and in the course of employment”. Examples of conditions commonly contracted in the workplace include lung disease, mesothelioma, lead poisoning, asbestosis, eczema, skin cancer and hearing loss. These maladies, and others, can result from exposure to chemicals, loud noises, radiation and other hazards that may be present in the work environment or the tools, equipment and supplies used by employees.
When employees in Illinois develop occupational diseases, they are protected by the state’s Occupational Disease Act. Under the act, workers who become ill or contract a disease on the job are generally eligible for benefits similar to those offered through the state’s workers’ compensation law, including coverage of any medical treatment required for and resulting from their work-related condition, as well as partial and permanent disability pay.
In some cases, a worker may not develop symptoms or become disabled due to an occupational disease for months or even years after the exposure, which can make it difficult to trace an ailment back to a specific incident. Under the state’s workers’ compensation laws, a worker has only 45 days to report an injury or contagion exposure and must provide the date of the incident. While this would preclude many who develop an occupational disease from eligibility, the Occupational Disease Act gives employees more time in which to report their condition.
In order for a worker to receive compensatory benefits for an occupational disease, he or she must report their condition within three years of the date when the disease first developed or became disabling. Employees who contract occupational diseases must prove that their condition was caused by their employment. Workers are often required to provide their medical records to help show that their illness is not the result of outside factors.
Proving a condition is eligible for compensatory benefits can be difficult in some cases. Anyone who finds themself suffering from an occupational disease may find it of benefit to seek legal counsel. An attorney can help ensure you understand your options and that your rights are upheld.
Mental illness is prevalent throughout the U.S. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four adults in America experiences some type of mental illness in any given year. There are a number of mental conditions from which people may suffer. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are two of the more commonly experienced illnesses in the U.S.
For many, the effects of these psychological conditions have an effect on not only their personal lives, but their professional lives as well. Often, symptoms can make it difficult to be attentive and productive in the workplace. Under the state of Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation Act, employees who are injured on the job or as a result of their job may be entitled to both physical and mental rehabilitation.
The NIMH reports that 14.8 million people, ages 18 and older, struggle with depression, a mood disorder in which a person may have feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration. The symptoms that accompany depression, including irritability, trouble concentrating and loss of interest, can drastically affect a person’s ability to work. A worker in Illinois may be entitled to workers’ compensation coverage for a mental illness if that condition results from a physical injury the worker suffered on the job. For example, mental illness coverage may be available to an employee who injures his or her back at work and becomes depressed because of the injury.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety condition that may be developed after a person experiences an extreme trauma. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 7.7 million American adults have PTSD. People suffering from PTSD may feel anxious when in a large group, disconnected or detached from people they interact with, be easily startled by unexpected noises or have trouble concentrating and sleeping, all of which could seriously impact their ability to perform their job.
Post-traumatic stress disorder may be covered by workers’ compensation in Illinois if it is the result of an employee experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event in the workplace. In one case, for example, a judge awarded a bus driver with the Chicago Transit Authority total temporary disability benefits for PTSD. The driver developed the condition after she was involved in a fatal collision with a pedestrian while driving a city bus.
Workers’ compensation for mental illnesses
While mental illnesses can have an effect on a person’s performance at work, there are some cases when an employee may develop a psychological condition as a result of his or her job.
It can be difficult, however, for employees to get workers’ compensation for mental illnesses. This is because psychological conditions are only compensable if a qualified physician determines that the condition exists and that it is work-related. Anyone who feels they may have suffered a work-related mental illness might want to talk to a lawyer to learn more about their rights and discuss their options.
The law protects workers who become injured on the job. When an accident happens on a construction site, the injuries can devastate the lives of the victim and his or her family. Do not give up if your worker’s compensation claim is denied the first time. Find an attorney to help you through this hard time.
In 2012, 4,383 deaths occurred due to on-the-job injuries. Of those, the construction industry led the nation with 775 total deaths.
The four most common construction site accidents
These four types of accidents cause 56-percent of contractor site fatalities.
The recent tragedy
Recently, an Illinois construction worker died after part of a restaurant façade fell, striking him and one other worker. The man suffered a crushed pelvis and internal bleeding. He died shortly after arriving at a local hospital. The other worker had minor injuries.
Do not suffer financial devestation
Pro se (those without a lawyer) accident victims often receive far less compensation than those with who have an attorney. The at-fault party may try to hide their insurance or claim you caused your own injuries. Insurance adjusters may even offer a settlement that is less than what the law obligates them to pay.
The financial loss after an accident may last a lifetime. If your injury causes you to lose your job, your quality of life will never recover. An injury hurts you financially. You will suffer:
The burden to your family reaches children who no longer enjoy the quality of life they once had. Sudden financial instability causes many marriages to fail.
Taking care of the victims and families
Contact an attorney who will protect you and your family from unscrupulous insurance agents and negligent property owners who refuse to admit fault. The attorneys at the Law Office of Kenneth A. Fishman, P.C. help victims and their families recover financial losses due to contractor negligence.
If the injury happened on the job, do not believe you have no rights to worker’s compensation. Contractors must maintain safe construction sites and any negligence falls to the contractor if an injury causing accident occurs.
Never settle for an amount below the expenses accrued for an accident. A personal injury attorney will explain how much compensation you need and the steps to take to get the full amount. Settling for less can forfeit thousands, or possibly tens of thousands of dollars owed to you.
Law Office of Kenneth A. Fishman, P.C., with more than 40-years working experience in the Chicago area, will help you file your claim for:
Never try to fight the other insurance companies alone. You receive a free case evaluation, the help you need and no fees until your case wins. Contact the Law Office of Kenneth A. Fishman, P.C. if you have any legal needs.