Workers Compensation Occupational Disease Claims
The term “occupational disease” or “industrial disease” refers to a long list of diseases workers have known to have suffered due to the environment at work or circumstances of their occupation. In 1982 popular culture, the song “Industrial Disease” by the British rock band Dire Straits reached the top 10 in the pop charts in the United States. Some examples of occupational diseases include:
• Lung diseases - Occupational lung diseases include asbestosis among employees who work with friable asbestos insulation, as well as silicosis among miners, quarrying and tunnel operators and byssinosis among workers in parts of the cotton textile industry. Other causes can include exposure to methane, carbon monoxide or other gases, solvents and fumes arsenic, mercury, lead or manganese, dust, or smoke.
• Skin diseases - Occupational skin diseases and conditions are generally caused by chemicals and having wet hands for long periods of time while at work. Eczema is by far the most common, but urticaria, sunburn and skin cancer are also of concern. Occupational skin diseases are common for those working in hairdressing, catering food service, nursing and healthcare, printing, metal machining, motor vehicle repair, and construction.
• Carpal tunnel syndrome - occurring often among persons who work in factories, including the poultry industry, daily typing positions and information technology.
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act
Section 97-53 of the Workers Compensation Act sets out a long list of medical conditions that can be considered an occupational disease and covered under workers’ compensation. Some examples, include:
• Hearing Loss
• Vision Loss
• Arsenic poisoning
• Brass poisoning
• Zinc poisoning
• Manganese poisoning
• Lead poisoning
• Compressed-air illness
• Poisoning by sulphuric, hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acid
• Undulant fever Infection with smallpox
• Diseases caused by chemicals
Reporting and Occupational Disease for North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In order to properly report an occupational disease under North Carolina workers’ compensation law, a special form known as a Form 18B is required.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for an Occupational Disease
If you have to be out of work due to an occupational disease, you may be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), Temporary Total Disability (TTD), or Temporary Partial Disability (TPD). However, if the occupational disease has left you unable to work at all, you may be entitled to benefits for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) under North Carolina workers’ compensation law.
Legal Help with Your Workers’ Compensation for an Occupational Disease
Some occupational diseases can be career-ending and severely debilitating. It is also difficult to prove that the occupational disease was caused by your work environment. Workers’ compensation insurance companies often deny these claims at the very outset of the process.
At the law Firm of Hemmings & Stevens, we will work with your physician to obtain medical proof of your occupational disease to assist you in making your case.
If you or a loved one has suffered an occupational disease in the workplace, contact the law firm of Hemmings & Stevens, PLLC today. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means there are no fees unless we make a recovery for you. You can call us at 919.277.0161 or contact us online. We will review your case and will aggressively fight for the benefits you deserve.
This article regarding occupational disease in workers’ compensation claims is for informational purposes only and is not legal or medical advice. You may need to seek the advice of a workers’ compensation attorney at the law firm of Hemmings & Stevens, PLLC that has experience with a workers’ compensation case involving an occupational disease.