A quick guide to Workers' Compensation Law for Occupational Diseases In Atlanta
Workers’ Compensation Law for Occupational Diseases in Atlanta is designed to provide compensation for employees who suffer injury, disease, or any kind of illness directly related to their work. It also includes illnesses that may aggravate the employee’s existing condition.
Employees can claim a wide range of diseases under workers’ compensation law. However, they may vary by state. Respiratory diseases, hearing loss, skin conditions, and stress-related disorders are some of the most common occupational diseases.
Occupational diseases are often also presented with occupational injuries. Diseases occur as a result of coming in contact with a hazardous element, and injuries are caused by workplace accidents. Nonetheless, both affect the employee and are covered under Workers’ Compensation Law.
Basically, Workers’ Compensation law is an insurance program that benefits the employee and employer, both. Let’s look at how you can claim occupational diseases under this law with the help of an Atlanta workers comp attorney.
Common Occupational Diseases in Atlanta, Georgia
Since exposure and environment vary across industries, an employee can be exposed to multiple different hazards. Occupational diseases also vary depending on the kind of exposure.
Some of the prevalent occupational diseases include:
Respiratory diseases are caused by exposure to hazardous elements. Some of the common ones are:
Occupational asthma is pretty common in coal miners, factory workers, and painters. They may also suffer from COPD, interstitial lung disease, and pleural disease, etc.
It usually occurs in industries like construction, shipbuilding, and manufacturing. It is caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.
Silicosis results from inhaling silica dust and is most common in work involving mining, construction, and manufacturing.
Skin-related diseases are caused by exposure to certain chemicals and in some cases; radiation exposure.
The main cause of contact dermatitis is exposure to irritants and allergens. It is prevalent in different industries like healthcare, cleaning, and manufacturing.
Occupational dermatitis includes skin disorders caused by exposure to chemicals, solvents, and other harmful substances.
Musculoskeletal disorders usually occur in industries that require physical work. Most prevalent ones are:
Tension Neck Syndrome
It is most common in construction workers, data entry professionals, and carpenters. They may also suffer from Rotator Cuff Tendinitis, and Tenosynovitis, etc.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
These injuries contain conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tendonitis due to repetitive tasks like in office work, or manual labor.
Lower Back Disorders
These are most common in the type of work that requires maximum physical effort and are also associated with heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, etc.
Hearing loss is an occupational illness caused by physical hazards.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
It is pretty common in industries with high noise levels, like specific kinds of machinery operation, construction, and manufacturing.
Cancers are caused by exposure to carcinogenic hazards. The most prevalent ones are:
Lung cancer is prevalent in employees exposed to asbestos. They may also suffer from leukemia or bladder cancer because of prolonged exposure to asbestos, radon, or other certain chemicals at the workplace.
It is also caused by exposure to asbestos which is common in shipbuilding, construction, and other related industries.
Infectious agents are the main culprit when it comes to infectious diseases. Healthcare workers are at risk of getting infections due to exposure to biological materials and affected patients.
7-Mental Health Disorders
Work-related stress is common in high-pressure work environments. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also common in military personnel and first responders who are exposed to traumatic events.
Note: The prevalence of occupational diseases can change over time due to advancements in workplace safety, changes in regulations, and shifts in industrial practices.
Workers Compensation Law for Occupational Diseases in Atlanta
Workers’ Compensation Laws for Occupational Diseases vary by state as each state has its own set of regulations. However, some general principles are :
Coverage for Occupational Diseases
In most states, occupational disease must be within the scope of workers’ compensation coverage. The diseases must be directly related to the work condition or nature of the job.
Notification and Reporting
Employees are required to report their illness to the employer in a certain timeframe. Otherwise, they may lose the benefits. Employers are also obligated to report to their workers’ compensation insurance or state agency.
Causation and Proof
There must be a direct connection between employees’ occupational disease and the nature of work. Otherwise, they won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation. Most often, to prove causation, medical evidence, expert opinions, and documentation of workplace conditions is required.
To know more about the eligibility criteria for worker compensation in Atlanta , Click here
Employees who are eligible for workers’ compensation are entitled to various benefits including:
- Medical Treatment
- Compensation for Lost Wages
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Disability Benefits
Employees can appeal the decision if their workers’ compensation claim for an occupational disease is denied. The appeals process usually involves hearings or reviews by the administrative board.
Responsibilities of the Employer
It is the employer’s responsibility to maintain safe working conditions and take measures to prevent occupational diseases. In case of non-compliance, an employer may have to face legal consequences.
Did you know? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers reported 2.8 million injury and illness cases in 2022 and that’s a whopping 7.5% increase from 2021.
Unfortunately, employers try to defend the claim to avoid paying the benefits. If your arguments and evidence are not strong, your workers compensation claim may be denied.
It is necessary to consult with a lawyer who is well aware of workers’ compensation laws and regulations so you can easily navigate the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.
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Workers’ Compensation Laws are in place to make sure you get the benefits you deserve.
With compensation, medical treatment for occupational diseases is undoubtedly affordable.
Since these laws are designed to benefit the employee and employer both, and vary from state to state, it is wise to seek help from a workers’ compensation attorney from the state where you are employed. They can guide you better and also provide you with legal assistance.
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