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Which Long-term Conditions are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Two Construction Workers Lifting Heavy Equipment

Workers’ Compensation is the insurance that most employers are required to carry to cover the expenses their employees incur as the result of injuries on the job. This type of insurance covers medical bills and a portion of the individual’s lost wages as a result of having to take time off work or perform less strenuous work while recovering from an injury. When most people envision a workplace injury, they imagine a catastrophic event like a machine malfunction or an individual being crushed between large objects. Though these certainly can and do happen, they are not the only ways employees can be hurt on the job. In many positions, employees perform physical tasks throughout the day, putting stress on their joints, bones, and muscles. In some positions, employees are also exposed to toxic substances that can cause them to suffer illnesses like mesothelioma and symptoms of lead poisoning years later. What many do not realize is that individuals suffering from these types of injuries and illnesses can also file Workers’ Compensation claims.

In New York, 29 specific conditions are listed as “occupational diseases” by the state Workers’ Compensation Board. These are conditions that are known to be linked to certain occupations and thus, covered by Workers’ Compensation.

Why are Some Conditions Covered While Others Are Not?

Occupational diseases are conditions that can develop or be aggravated by a particular type of work. A condition may be considered an occupational disease for individuals in one field, but not another. For example, a healthcare worker who suffers a contagious disease from exposure to an ill patient may be covered by Workers’ Compensation, but an office worker who contracts the same disease from a sick colleague is not because by unlike office workers, healthcare workers are exposed to contagious illnesses frequently as part of their job.

Many conditions related to toxic substances, such as mercury and lead, are listed as occupational diseases. Others include overexertion injuries like back pain and arthritis for workers in physically-demanding jobs.

Demonstrating your Need for Workers’ Compensation if your Condition is Not Covered

If the condition is sudden and can be clearly linked to an event or condition in your workplace, you may still be able to receive Workers’ Compensation coverage. For example, if you work in an environment where dangerous noise levels are not generally present, but there is a sudden explosion at the workplace and you suffer temporary hearing loss as a result, you may be covered by Workers’ Compensation.

Work with an Experienced New York Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you are suffering from a condition that developed over time due to the conditions and stresses of your workplace, you may be eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits to cover your expenses. To learn more about filing a Workers’ Compensation claim and what to do if your claim is denied, speak with an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney. Contact Robert A. Koenigsberg today to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.

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