Occupational Diseases

New York Occupational Disease Lawyer

Some working conditions may cause injury only after extended exposure over time. These conditions may qualify as an occupational disease if they can be traced to your working conditions, rather than ordinary diseases to which the general public is exposed.

Each year, nearly 3.5 million workers are injured or made ill on the job. But while workers’ compensation insurance can provide cash benefits, medical treatment, and other care for employees who suffer an on-the-job injury, not all workplace injuries can be easily or directly tied to the workplace conditions. For chronic conditions that have been caused by extended or repeat occupational exposure, you’ll need the experience of someone well-versed in New York workers’ compensation law.

At Terry Katz & Associates, we provide legal help to workers who have been injured or made ill on the job. The workers’ compensation lawyers at our law firm will protect your rights and help you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve for your debilitating illness.

Most Common Types of Occupational Illnesses

Anyone can be injured or become ill on the job, but when it comes to long-term occupational illnesses, most workers’ compensation claims fall into a few specific categories. According to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), an occupational illness must arise from the conditions in which a specific type of worker is exposed.

Examples of types of occupational diseases, as per the CDC, include:

  • Asbestosis-Exposure to asbestos, once commonly used in building materials, causes this lung disease. Asbestosis may not appear for years after such exposure.
  • Asthma –This allergic reaction causes breathing difficulties and is often triggered by irritants in the workplace. Occupational asthma is the most frequent occupational respiratory disease diagnosis, according to the CDC.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – Employees spending much of their day typing on the computer are vulnerable to the wrist’s medial nerve’s damage by repetitive stress. This nerve’s compression in the hand’s carpal tunnel causes weakness and numbness.  
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – This term refers to various lung disorders, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Fetal and reproductive abnormalities –Many chemicals found in the workplace can cause pregnancy complications and fetal abnormalities. These include birth defects, infertility, miscarriage, preterm birth, and developmental disorders.
  • Hearing loss- Workers exposed to constant high noise levels on the job frequently experience hearing loss.
  • Lung cancer –Exposure to asbestos, silica, or diesel exhaust on the job site can result in lung malignancies.
  • Mesothelioma – Workers exposed to asbestos are vulnerable to mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs. While treatable, mesothelioma is incurable and eventually fatal.
  • Neurological disorders –Exposure to workplace contaminants may result in nerve damage.
  • Silicosis – Silicosis causes scar tissue to form in the lungs after prolonged exposure to silica dust. Workers in the construction or demolition industries, or those performing any type of mining or rock drilling, are likely to inhale silica dust. Silicosis may take years to develop.

Many of those conditions stem from highly-physical jobs in the construction, oil and gas, environmental remediation, and manufacturing industries.

What Should You Know About Filing a Work-Related Occupational Disease Claim?

Someone who is disabled by a work-related occupational illness can receive the same workers’ compensation benefits as someone who submits a claim for an on-the-job injury. However, there are some strict time limits for filing either type of workers’ compensation claim.

You’ll need to file your workers’ compensation claim by the later of the following dates:

  • Two years from the day you became disabled; or
  • Two years from the time you should have known that your disease was because of your employment.

Ultimately, a workers’ compensation law judge will be responsible for determining your date of disability. This dual deadline is designed to protect people who may not be able to narrow down the cause of their illness for months or even years after first contracting it. These limits apply even if the occupational injury resulted in the worker’s death—the surviving family members may be required to seek out workers’ compensation benefits before they can recover other civil damages for their loved one’s death.

What Happens If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?

Filing a successful workers’ compensation claim can be much harder than it looks. Fortunately, even if your claim was initially denied, you can submit a comprehensive, convincing appeal.

Some of the Most Commonly Cited Reasons for a Workers’ Compensation Denial Include:

  • A dispute as to whether the claimant was injured at work
  • The claimant’s failure to seek prompt medical attention or to report the injury to their employer within 30 days
  • A lack of medical evidence to support the claim or a failure to fill out the proper paperwork
  • The claimant’s use of alcohol or drugs when they were injured

A workers’ compensation claim package must include medical evidence, witness statements, and other documents clearly establishing the onset of your disability and how it is affecting your daily life. But if this evidence isn’t enough to convince the workers’ compensation company, you’ll be able to appeal your claim twice at the administrative level—first to the administrative law judge and to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. If the Workers’ Compensation Board still decides in the employer’s favor, the claimant can appeal to the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division.

Workers’ compensation claimants only have 30 days to appeal an administrative law judge’s denial of workers’ compensation benefits. Because of this, it’s a good idea to get a head start on gathering the records and documents you’ll need to support your claim.

For a Free Consultation With A  NY Occupational Disease Lawyer Call Now

Our experienced attorneys have helped hundreds of workers’ compensation claimants recover the benefits they’re entitled to. Since the onset of COVID-19, New York State has held workers’ compensation hearings over Zoom. Start your claim today, call Terry Katz & Associates at 888-488-7459 or use our convenient online form to request a free initial case evaluation.

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