When many people think of a workers' compensation claim, they think about an employee falling from a ladder or being hurt by machinery. But there are many different injuries that can qualify for a claim, including illnesses that arise due to workplace conditions. Filing a claim for an occupational illness is similar to any other injury, but there are some specific issues you should keep in mind to be sure your claim is processed and awarded properly.
If you have concerns about filing your worker's compensation claim for an occupational illness in New York, then let us help you. Our experienced NY workers' compensation lawyers understand how and when to file the necessary paperwork, and can work with you if your claim is denied to appeal that ruling and have your case heard before the compensation board. You do not have to suffer alone or accept an initial denial. Contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. Tell us about your situation and we will put our experience to work for you.
An occupational illness, or disease, refers to a condition that is caused by something that is part of a person's work. For example, someone who develops asbestosis due to exposure to asbestos while working as an asbestos remover would have grounds for filing a workers' compensation claim due to an occupational illness. Simply being exposed to a chemical or toxin is not necessarily grounds for a claim unless that exposure is related to the nature of a person's work.
Another example would be a doctor who contracts tuberculosis from a patient. Since exposure to people with illnesses is part of a doctor's profession, he or she would be able to file a claim. An office worker who contracts tuberculosis from another employee, however, would not be able to file an occupational illness claim because exposure to diseases is not part of his office job. A wide range of diseases and illnesses are covered, including things like pneumonia, hernias, arthritis, and hearing loss.
The time limit for filing a work-related occupational illness claim depends on two factors: when a worker becomes disabled, or when the worker knew or should have known that the disease was caused by his or her employment. The later of the two possible dates is when the time limit begins. In either situation, there is a two-year deadline for filing a claim. Filing within this timeframe is very important, so it is best to file as soon as possible.
Filing a claim does not mean it will be accepted. In general, your employer's workers' compensation insurance company should receive and process your claim promptly, and award payment as appropriate. If your claim is denied for any reason, then you need to appeal that decision and take your case before the workers' compensation board.
You will need to file additional paperwork and your case will be given a date and time for a hearing. At this hearing, you have the opportunity to provide your side of the situation, give evidence of your illness, and demonstrate how it is directly related to the nature of your work. Any diagnosis and paperwork from your doctor can be used to support your claim, and the board ultimately rules on your case, either upholding the denial or awarding you benefits for your claim.
The process of filing a workers' compensation claim for an occupational illness can be difficult, especially if your illness keeps you from living an active life. Appealing a denial of your claim requires additional work. Let us help you through this process. Talk to one of our experienced attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today by calling us at (212) 986-7353.