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What Is Occupational Disease & Is It Compensable?

Posted on : October 20, 2015

There are many different ways an employee can be injured on the job. Most people think a work-related injury is the result of an on-the-job accident. However, other issues can arise at work that cause an employee to become harmed and unable to work, such as occupational diseases. What are occupational diseases and are they compensable under workers’ compensation?

The Definition of Occupational Disease

Simply put, an occupational disease is a disease or condition that was caused by a person’s work or the conditions under which they work. These types of diseases are usually very strongly linked to the work environment, and often could not be caused any other way.

Types of Occupational Diseases

There are a wide variety of occupational diseases, and many of them haven’t yet been discovered. New diseases will continue to come about as industries change and use new or different practices and/or materials. However, the most commonly seen occupational diseases include but are not limited to:

  • Mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure
  • Skin and respiratory diseases caused by pesticides or chemical exposure
  • Formaldehyde poisoning
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Are Occupational Diseases Compensable?

In order to determine if an occupational disease can be considered compensable under Louisiana workers’ compensation laws, the following must be established:

  • The disease must occur during employment and must arise out of employment
  • The claimant must be able to show that the disease was caused by conditions that are unique to the job or employment conditions
  • The claimant must be able to show that the work or the work environment was a major cause or contribution (not minor) to the illness

Often, employers will work with doctors who are persuaded to link the disease to some other cause, such as an illness that was previously existing prior to the employment, or the natural aging process.

When to Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you or a loved one believe you have contracted a disease through the course of your employment, it can be difficult to prove. However, by working with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, you can put together a compelling case that increases the chances that you will be awarded compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and temporary or permanent disability depending on the disease.

Contact the Wanko Law Firm, LLC today to discuss your case in detail and to learn more about how to take the next step in advocating for your rights. Call now at (985) 893-6530.