Posted on Wednesday, November 30th, 2016 at 2:00 pm
Most workers need to show they suffered a specific workplace injury that occurred at a specific point in time in order to recover workers’ compensation in Virginia.
There is an exception for workers who suffer a disease that is due to work. Most occupational diseases occur after months or more normally years of exposure. Many workers may not even know they acquired the disease until decades after the exposure. The delay in seeking treatment for the disease can be problematic for many workers because employers and their insurance companies are likely to initially deny coverage due to the delay and the failure to point to a specific triggering event.
Joe Miller Esq., understands the Virginia occupational illness laws. He fights for workers who suffer these diseases which are often deadly, life-threating, or disabling. He works with doctors to determine the disease, the cause of the disease, and to show the disease was related to daily work performance. For Virginia worker’s compensation, the last day the employee was exposed is generally considered the formal date of workplace injury; however the time period for the running of the two-year deadline to file the claim doesn’t occur until the worker has been told by a health care provider that he has a work-related disease.
Here is the state statutory definition of occupational disease. Some exceptions may apply. An experienced Virginial workers’ compensation attorney will know those exceptions.
“Occupational disease” means a disease arising out of and in the course of employment, but not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed outside of the employment.
A disease shall be deemed to arise out of the employment only if there is apparent to the rational mind, upon consideration of all the circumstances:
Hearing loss and the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome are not occupational diseases. Virginia considers them to be ordinary diseases; however there are circumstances under which one can recover in such cases.
Generally, a worker who gets an ordinary disease does not qualify for workers’ compensation. A worker who gets an occupational disease does qualify – so it’s crucial to be able to prove that disease is occupational and not ordinary. Some ordinary diseases—such as various infections— may qualify as occupational diseases if the following conditions are clearly met if the disease can be shown to have arisen due to employment and not due to outside causes and if one of the following exists:
Many of the people who suffer an occupational disease suffer exposure to toxic chemicals. Some of the diseases associated with hazardous chemical exposure are:
Mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer, is another common occupational work disease. Many workers got/get the disease due to exposure to asbestos. Many coal miners suffer from black lung disease.
There are some occupational illnesses that are not due to exposure – rather they are due to repetitive stress. Workers who do a lot of computer work or repeat work such as assembly or machinist work can develop carpel tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are also called repeated motion injuries. The most common type of repetitive stress injury affects the wrists. If detected in time; rest, rehab, and some medications can help. If not detected in time, repetitive stress injuries can become a lifelong disability. Virginia workers’ compensation law does not generally cover repetitive stress injuries – with the one exception of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Conditions that are related to emotional stress such as depression or indigestion generally do not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage in Virginia. If the stress is caused by a one-time event such as suffering or witnessing a workplace accident or death, then the worker has a better chance of recovering workers’ compensation benefits. That being said, it must be the kind of job where one would not be expected to be exposed to such an event. For instance, a police officer who witnesses a shooting would probably not be able to recover for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; however, a nurse or other type of worker might. An experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney such as Joe Miller can explain when emotional stress related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are covered.
Virginia work injury lawyer Joe Miller understands workers’ compensation work injury law. He has been helping injured Virginia workers for over quarter of a century. He understands what workers need to prove to qualify for occupational disease benefits. For help now, call Joe Miller at (888) 694-1671 or fill out his online contact form.