It is obligatory for most California employers to have workers’ compensation insurance to pay compensation to workers who lose their income as a consequence of workplace injuries. Many workers may not be aware that workers’ compensation does not only cover injuries sustained while at work, but also occupational diseases. Exposure to toxins and impurities may result in various illnesses and poison-related diseases.

While workplace injuries typically refer to injuries sustained while on the job, occupational diseases may sometimes only be diagnosed many years later. The worker may no longer be in the employ of the company where he or she was exposed to the contaminants that caused the disease. There is often a misconception whereby affected people think that they are no longer eligible for workers’ compensation benefits due to the time-lapse.

The reality is that claims filed for compensation related to occupational diseases have been submitted successfully several years after termination of employment. Another fact that many people are not aware of is that if an individual suffers from a condition that is not work related, but is aggravated by conditions at the workplace, he or she may be eligible for compensation. Benefits for occupational diseases typically cover 66 percent of lost wages, along with associated medical expenses. Supplementary benefits may be available in cases of death or disability.

California workers who are suffering from occupational diseases may want to obtain information related to the different conditions that have to be met before such a claim may be submitted. Individuals may need to obtain guidance to lead them through the intricacies of those conditions. By seeking assistance from a person who specializes in workers’ compensation claims, financial hardship that resulted from work injuries and occupational diseases may be overcome.

Source: Lebanon Daily News, “The Law Forum: Diseases covered under workers’ compensation”, Edward Coyle, March 31, 2014