Occupational diseases, while often less visible than workplace accidents, are a serious concern for many employees. These diseases can result from prolonged exposure to harmful substances, unsafe working conditions, or other occupational factors. If you’ve been diagnosed with an occupational disease, you may be wondering about your legal rights and whether workers’ compensation can provide you with the support you need. Our friends at Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy can help shed light on the situation, including when to call a workers compensation lawyer.

Understanding Occupational Diseases

Occupational diseases are health conditions that are directly related to the work environment. They can take various forms, such as respiratory illnesses, skin conditions, hearing loss, or even cancer. These diseases often result from prolonged exposure to hazardous materials, toxins, or unsafe working conditions.

Legal Recourse For Occupational Diseases

Workers who have been diagnosed with an occupational disease have legal options. Some of these legal options include:

  1. Workers’ Compensation: In many states, including Buffalo, NY, workers’ compensation laws cover occupational diseases. If your illness is work-related, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
  2. Employer Liability: In some cases, you may have grounds to pursue a legal claim against your employer if they failed to provide a safe work environment, adequately protect you from harmful substances, or failed to comply with health and safety regulations.
  3. Third-Party Claims: If a third party, such as a manufacturer of toxic substances or faulty safety equipment, is responsible for your occupational disease, you may have a potential claim against them.

The Role Of Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation serves as a crucial safety net for employees who have suffered occupational diseases. Key aspects of workers’ compensation for occupational diseases include:

  1. Timely Reporting: It’s important to report your occupational disease to your employer as soon as possible. Reporting your disease in a timely manner is crucial for beginning the workers compensation process.
  2. Medical Examination: You may be required to undergo a medical examination to determine the extent of your occupational disease and the need for medical treatment.
  3. Benefits: Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover medical expenses, wage replacement for time missed from work, and vocational rehabilitation if necessary.
  4. Legal Assistance: Consulting with a workers compensation lawyer can provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the workers’ compensation process, ensuring you receive the full benefits you are entitled to.

The Role Of Legal Representation

Occupational disease cases can be complex, involving detailed medical records and often contested claims by employers or insurers. Ways that legal representation can play a role are:

  1. Gathering Evidence: A workers compensation lawyer can help gather medical evidence and documentation to support your claim.
  2. Negotiating with Insurers: Skilled attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your occupational disease.
  3. Representing You in Appeals: If your claim is denied, your lawyer can represent you in the appeals process to fight for your rights and benefits.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an occupational disease or have concerns about your work environment, our friends at Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy can tell you more.