Five Valuable Secrets You Should Know about Occupational Exposure
So, maybe they aren’t all secrets. But, occupational exposure as a workers’ compensation claim can be a very big deal. People go to work to earn money. They certainly don’t intend to suffer injuries. Especially serious ones.
The term “occupational exposure” sounds self-explanatory. It does not relate to an individual work-related traumatic event. Instead, it can involve repetitive motion or exposure to dangerous substances. Occupational exposure might also include something such as hearing loss related to hazardous noise.
What should you know about occupational exposure? We’ll provide you with some information concerning the actual definition. We’ll also let you know about time limitations. Lastly, we want you to know what is expressly excluded by the law.
Top Five Facts to Know About Occupational Exposure
1. Compensable Occupational Diseases: First and foremost, what constitutes occupational exposure? Here’s what the law says on the subject:
- Any disease or injury that is due to exposure to something at work
- Age related deterioration of an organ or body part is not considered a compensable occupational injury.
2. Time Constraints in Filing an Occupational Exposure Claim: In most workers’ compensation cases, employees must file a claim within two years of the incident or the last time they received authorized medical treatment. In addition, the time may be extended from the final payment made by the workers’ compensation carrier.
3. Occupational exposure claims are a bit different. Here it matters when the employee learned or should have known that the injuries were work-related. Therefore, a worker who learns their cancer is related to occupational exposure to deleterious substances has two years from that knowledge to pursue a claim.
4. Burden is on the Employee to Prove the Correlation of the Disease: It’s not enough for an injured worker to claim that occupational exposure caused an injury. For example, if a worker claims that repetitive motion caused carpal tunnel syndrome, a medical expert must correlate the two. This is the reason that it is important to retain an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when dealing with this type of case.
5. Hearing loss: We mentioned that hearing loss may be a form of occupational injury. There are some important considerations. One section of the law deals with the degree of hearing loss. Another disallows benefits for employees who fail to wearing protective devices as provided by their employers.
These are just some of the basic facts regarding occupational exposure claims. Of course, one of the primary concerns is proving causation. It’s not enough for the injured worker to decide the injuries are employment related. Generally expert opinion must be retained to document the claim for occupational exposure.
At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we recognize that occupational exposure can have lifetime effects. Our fees are awarded to us during the completion of the workers’ compensation case as mandated by the court. Contact us to discuss the possibility of pursuing a claim.