We all know that on-the-job injuries resulting from catastrophic accidents, such as ladder falls or injuries from malfunctioning machinery, can result in workers’ compensation claims. However, there’s another type of injury that can cause you to miss work and will qualify you to receive support, and that is an occupational disease.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board defines an occupational disease as one that “arises from the condition to which a specific type of worker is exposed.” In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, the disease or injury must have resulted naturally from some distinct feature of the work that you do. For example, if you are required to enter data into a computer as part of your job, or work as a stenographer, and you subsequently develop carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be able to seek compensation for your injury. For someone who has worked in a field requiring them to lift and move heavy loads on a regular basis, damage to the discs in the spine that has accrued over time could be a compensable injury.
Even if you’ve worked at a number of different professions that have cumulatively caused the injury, the claim would be filed against your most recent employer. Additionally, you need not still be employed at the job where the condition was caused in order to file a claim. The time limit to file a claim for an occupational disease is either two years from the diagnosis of the job-related disease, or two years from when the worker knew or should have known that the disease had resulted from the job.
If you’ve experienced hearing loss from a noisy workplace, rules for filing a claim are slightly different. You have three months from either the date you’re removed from the job that involves a damaging amount of noise, or from the date you leave the job that caused your hearing loss, by which to file a claim.
Even if you don’t miss work as a result of the disease, it is possible to still qualify as “disabled” for the purposes of being compensated. A Workers’ Compensation Law Judge would instead determine the date by which you were disabled. An experienced workers’ compensation and disability attorney will understand how best to show that your injury was caused on the job and deserves compensation, even if you haven’t been forced to miss work.
For assistance with occupational disease claims and other New York workers’ compensation and disability questions, contact Highland workers’ compensation attorney Peter M. Cordovano at (845) 414-8482.