Many people mistakenly believe that workers’ compensation only covers work-related injuries such as broken bones, back sprain or head injuries.
However, if you develop an illness that results from the work you do, it is a good idea to check into the availability of workers’ comp benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits are not only available for on-the-job injuries but also for work-related illnesses. For example, a firefighter may develop asbestosis. An airport worker may succumb to hearing loss after years of working on the tarmac. Because of her exposure to blood, a nurse may suffer from Hepatitis B. Some people develop asthma or lung cancer due to the type of environment in which they work.
Most employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover work-related injuries and illnesses their employees may suffer. If you sustain such an illness or injury, you must seek prompt medical attention.
Remember that there are statutory deadlines to observe, so you must also report the illness or injury to your employer in a timely fashion. Your employer is responsible for initiating action on your workers’ compensation claim and will likely have an application form for you to complete.
After evaluating your claim, the insurer will notify you as to approval and what benefits you can expect. If the insurer denies your claim, the next step is to develop a case for the appeals process.
A look ahead
Workers in certain industries are more at risk of exposure to occupational illnesses. If you develop an illness such as asthma, asbestosis, lung cancer, hearing loss or even Hepatitis B, it is worthwhile exploring your options and eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.