Generally, workers who suffer a physical injury have a much higher chance of having their workers’ compensation claims approved. People who develop a work-related illness or disease often require additional help to get the benefits they deserve. Thankfully, our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers are equipped to handle these cases.
Most of the Cases Our Atlanta Workers Comp Attorneys Handle Involve a Physical Injury
Usually, when we meet with new clients, they explain how they got hurt on the job. They show us a summary of their medical records and let us know what kind of treatment they’ve had thus far.
Every so often, however, a client comes to us after learning that they’re suffering from a serious work-related illness. They tell us that their claim has been denied and they’ve already incurred thousands of dollars in medical bills.
More Than 10% of All Hospitalizations Are Caused by Work-Related Illnesses
When most people imagine someone with a workplace injury, they think about broken bones or an injured back. And some of the physical injuries our clients have suffered are very serious.
What many people don’t realize is that 10% of all hospitalization in this country are due to workplace illnesses. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, more than 850,000 workers develop a serious illness while on the job.
Workers’ Compensation in Georgia Also Covers Certain Work-Related Illnesses and Disease
The legislators in Georgia understand that thousands of workers have become very ill as a result of their job. This is why the workers’ compensation system in Georgia protects people who suffer from an occupational illness or disease.
To qualify for workers comp benefits, you don’t need to have suffered from a physical injury. It’s sufficient to demonstrate that you’ve been diagnosed with an illness connected to your job.
What Is the Definition of an Occupational Disease According to Georgia Law?
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation, there are many occupational illnesses that warrant benefits. In order to qualify, your Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer must show that your illness meets these criteria.
To collect workers comp benefits in Georgia, your attorney must show that your disease has arisen and was caused by a condition unique to your job. For example, if you worked as a coal miner for years, it would be no surprise that you developed black lung disease.
Your Lawyer Must Show a Connection Between Your Illness and Your Job
For you to be entitled to workers comp benefits, your Atlanta workers comp attorney must show a connection between your job and your illness. Medical experts have confirmed that certain illnesses are closely tied to certain professions.
- Black lung disease – Coal miners who have experienced prolonged exposure to coal dust.
- HIV – Healthcare workers are at risk of being exposed to infected blood.
- Parkinson’s – Employees who are exposed to carbon monoxide.
- Skin cancer – Workers who spend an inordinate amount of time out in the sun such as landscape architects.
The list goes on. Once your doctor diagnoses you with a certain disease, your Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer can do research to show a connection.
Certain Industries are Known for Being Associated With Occupational Illnesses
If your Atlanta workers comp attorney can show that your illness is tied to your job, you’ll have a good chance of receiving benefits. As long as you are being treated by a state-approved workers’ compensation doctor, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Of course, you still need to go through the claims process. You need to report your injury to your employer right away. You also need to file your claim with the State Board of Workers Compensation.
What Reasons Will Your Employer and the Insurance Company Give for Denying Your Claim?
Once your employer hears that you’ve filed a claim for an occupational illness, they may deny your claim. Even though it’s clear to you and your Atlanta injury lawyer, the insurance company may fight it.
Some of the excuses insurance companies come up with to deny your claim include the following.
- You must have a pre-existing medical condition.
- Your illness or disease was caused by environmental factors having nothing to do with your job.
- Your personal habits and behaviors are what caused your illness.
- Your medical history shows that you already had this illness or were predisposed to it.
Your Atlanta workers comp attorney will challenge these arguments. The problem is that the insurance companies know that claims for occupational illnesses are larger than other claims. They’d rather take their chances and settle your claim for less down the road.
The Insurance Adjuster May Claim That Your Illness Was Caused by Environmental Factors
One common explanation offered by the insurance adjuster may be that your illness was caused by environmental factors. For example, it’s easy to claim that your cancer was caused by either genetics or the fact that you live near a landfill.
While there may be a basis for their argument, that doesn’t necessarily mean it applies to your particular case. Just because you grew up with parents who smoke does not mean you developed mesothelioma at the age of forty. It was more than likely due to your exposure to asbestos.
Don’t Be Surprised if the Insurance Company Blame Your Personal Habits and Medical History
Our Atlanta injury lawyers have also handled cases where the insurance carrier argued that our client’s illness was caused by their personal habits.
A good example of this is when the insurance adjuster claims that a worker’s bladder cancer was caused by drinking and smoking cigarettes. Or they may say that one of your hobbies or social habits caused your illness.
Your Atlanta Workers’ Comp Attorney Must Prove Causation
To overcome the claims made by the insurance adjuster, your Atlanta injury lawyer must show that there is a connection between your illness and your job. There are a variety of ways they can do this.
- An expert witness can testify as to the proven connection between your medical condition and the kind of work you do.
- Your own doctor can testify that they have attributed your illness to your work duties.
- Your attorney can provide documentation that there is a history of people in your field suffering from the same or similar illness.
The way they approach your case will depend on the facts of your case.
Trust That Your Atlanta Workers’ Comp Lawyer Will Fight to Get You the Benefits You Deserve
If you develop a serious illness at work, you have a right to be taken care of. Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny claims stemming from an occupational illness or disease. Our Atlanta workers comp attorneys have handled more than our fair share of these cases.
We suggest that you contact our office as soon as possible after you’re diagnosed. We have the knowledge and resources to help get your claim approved.
Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, you have nothing to lose.