Some workers do not get injured in a specific accident, but over time, due to work conditions or the type of activity they perform. An Atlanta workers comp lawyer can help these workers file a claim for occupational diseases.
Here is what you need to know about this type of workers comp claim.
Occupational Diseases Defined by Georgia Law
Georgia workers’ compensation law defines an occupational disease as a medical condition arising out of and in the course of the job. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a classification system for these conditions.
Thus, the first thing you need to do is check if your diagnosis meets the two conditions. Your attorney will assist you in this respect and help you file your claim.
How to Prove that You Developed a Condition Due to Work
To file a workers comp claim, you need to prove that your condition is work-related. You must prove one of the following criteria:
- Your condition is a direct result of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace.
- Exposure occurred at your workplace and not in another location.
- You developed the condition during your work and the condition is not common among the general population.
- Your injury or illness was caused by the work environment.
- Your condition is caused by the risks of your job.
Examples of Occupational Diseases
Experienced attorneys know that there are specific health conditions that are caused by work activities and exposure to hazardous conditions at the workplace. These are:
- Mesothelioma – a lung disease appearing as a result of exposure to asbestos
- Skin conditions
- Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma
- Musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated discs, and tendonitis.
Conditions Not Classified as Occupational Diseases
An Atlanta workers comp attorney will tell you that some diseases are generally not considered to be work-related conditions. These are:
- Hearing loss
- Mental health conditions
- Cardiovascular diseases.
However, there are exceptional situations when you may be allowed to file a claim and obtain benefits. Your lawyer will analyze your case carefully and let you know if you have a valid claim.
What to Do If You Believe You Suffer from an Occupational Disease
It is important to get diagnosed as soon as you start feeling ill or in pain. In this specific situation, the statute of limitations for filing a claim starts from the moment the worker should have reasonably realized that they suffered from an occupational disease.
After being diagnosed, notify your employer of your condition as soon as possible. You are still obliged to follow the 1-month rule to report a work-related accident or condition.
Your claim will then follow the regular course of notifying the insurance company, submitting to an independent medical examination, and negotiating for your benefits.
Workers Comp Benefits for Occupational Diseases in Georgia
Workers compensation offers the following types of benefits:
- Medical care costs for treating the work-related condition
- Replacement wages, representing two-thirds of your average weekly wages
These benefits can last up to 400 weeks – the maximum limit allowed in Georgia.
However, if your condition leaves you impaired, your lawyer will negotiate to obtain benefits beyond this period, in the form of:
- Permanent partial disability benefits, payable over a period of time or as a lump sum.
- Permanent total disability payment, if you are unable to work in any capacity.
Let a Skilled Atlanta Workers Comp Lawyer Help You Secure Benefits!
For a skilled Atlanta workers comp lawyer, no case is too difficult and complex to handle. And a claim for occupational disease is, indeed, complex. Insurance companies will try to make it appear that you would have become sick even if you worked in a different place and a different job role.
However, an experienced attorney will be able to prove that you deserve benefits and will fight to win them for you. We suggest you call us at 470-518-5026 as soon as possible after being diagnosed to schedule a free case review!