job-related illness

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TL;DR

  • A broken bone is an example of a one-time injury.
  • A job-related illness, a.k.a an occupational disease, is a “disease or illness which is due to causes and conditions characteristic of and peculiar to the particular trade, occupation, process or employment in which the employee is exposed to such disease.” (Think carpal tunnel syndrome.)
  • In Louisiana, a worker can receive benefits for occupational diseases, as well as one time injuries as long as long as their injury, illness or disease is “work-related.”
  • Some diseases such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, arthritis of any type, mental illness, and heart-related or perivascular disease are specifically excluded from workers compensation coverage.
  • A workers’ compensation claim based on occupational disease must be brought within a year of: the disease manifesting itself, the employee becoming disabled from working as a result of the disease, or the employee knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the disease is occupationally related.
  • If an employee has been working for a particular employer for less than 12 months it is presumed that their occupational disease did not arise out of their work unless they can show that their disease was contracted within the last 12-month period.

 

When Louisiana workers are injured on the job, they are often entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. A one-time injury, such as a broken bone, is generally easy to identify and determine workers’ compensation coverage eligibility. But, some diseases are cumulative and develop over time. In Louisiana, a worker can receive benefits for occupational diseases, as well as one time injuries as long as long as their injury, illness or disease is “work-related.” According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an illness or injury is “work-related” if  an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

 

Occupational Disease

 

Occupational disease is a “disease or illness which is due to causes and conditions characteristic of and peculiar to the particular trade, occupation, process or employment in which the employee is exposed to such disease.” One of the most well recognized types of occupational disease is carpal tunnel syndrome, and it is specifically provided for in Louisiana Law. The statute also expressly outlines how occupational diseases are determined for laboratory technicians. Every laboratory technician who becomes disabled due to the contraction of any disease as a result of the nature of the work they perform shall be treated as if they received personal injury accidentally in the course of their employment. Some diseases, however, are specifically excluded from workers compensation coverage. These diseases include: degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, arthritis of any type, mental illness, and heart-related or perivascular disease.

 

A workers’ compensation claim based on occupational disease must be brought within a year of: the disease manifesting itself, the employee becoming disabled from working as a result of the disease, or the employee knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the disease is occupationally related. In any case, if the employee has been working for a particular employer for less than 12 months it is presumed that their occupational disease did not arise out of their work with that employer unless they can show that their disease was contracted within the last 12-month period.

 

If an employee dies as a result of an occupational disease, their family has one year to file a claim from the time of the employee’s death, or from when the claimant has reasonable grounds to believe that the death resulted from an occupational disease.

 

Any false representation by the employee of not having had the disease before beginning the employment from which the disease is claimed to have resulted, will lead to a denial of workers’ compensation benefits. The employer is responsible to place a notification at the workplace as to the time limitations in which to bring a claim. Failure to do so will extend the amount of time for workers to file a claim by six months.

 

If you have been injured on the job, or believe that you have contracted an occupational illness, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It is important that you speak with an attorney who can assist you in your claim.

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