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What Is an Occupational Disease?

An occupational disease is a chronic or acute illness that is directly related to workplace exposure.

There are many occupations and industries where workers are exposed to harmful substances and chemicals. Sometimes the hazards are not known until well after the fact and after no preventative care had been taken. Other times, the correct procedures to protect a worker are followed, and the employee ends up getting sick either acutely or chronically anyway. Workers’ compensation insurance was designed to help workers’ get their medical bills covered and to recoup any lost wages if they have been exposed to harmful chemicals or other hazardous conditions.

An occupational disease is a chronic or acute illness that is directly related to workplace exposure. For the disease to be covered under workers’ compensation in the state of Missouri, the worker must be able to prove that the workplace exposure is the direct cause of the condition, that a disability resulted and that there are no external factors that could be to blame.

Proving that isn’t always an easy thing to do when exposure is long-term or there could be other factors that lead to the same chronic illness or condition of the employee.

What Are the Most Common Types of Occupations Illnesses?

1. Repetitive Wear and Tear Injuries.

Repetitive wear and tear injuries are those injuries that result from doing the same activity over and over. If you are working at a job that requires that you perform the same movements daily, then you can claim repetitive injuries. Things that would fall into this category are things like carpal tunnel syndrome or trigger finger.

2. Hearing Loss Due to Being in a Factory or Warehouse

If you lose your hearing due to loud noises in the workplace, then you might be able to recover for your hearing loss through workers’ compensation.

3. Radiation Exposure

If you are in an industry where you are exposed to radiation and you develop a chronic condition related to that exposure, then you might be eligible to collect workers’ compensation.

When Can Collecting for Exposure Illnesses or Occupational Illnesses Be Problematic?

When you are injured on the job, it is imperative that you let your employer know and that you seek medical care as soon as possible. One of the hardest parts about collecting for an occupational illness is that they often don’t surface immediately and they are rarely tied to one incident or accident, which makes immediately letting your employer know often impossible.

Things like exposure to harmful chemicals and other toxins might not be eligible under workers’ compensation because they don’t show themselves until well after the worker is gone from the job or has retired. This is often the case with asbestos exposure. Workers’ compensation won’t apply if the exposure was in the past and the cause unclear, so you might have to pursue a personal injury case to get the compensation you deserve.

If you are exposed to a harmful condition or chemical in the workplace and can show that, due to the exposure, you became ill, then you might be eligible to collect workers’ compensation. The best way to know if your illness is covered is by speaking with an experienced St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer. Call 24/7 for FREE legal advice :: (314) 361-4300.
Updated: April 23, 2018