Most in Sauk Rapids clearly understand that if you are injured at work, you need to report the injury in order to initiate a workers compensation claim. Yet what about when your work makes you sick? Certain careers can leave you exposed to illnesses or agents that can cause sickness. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there were close to 200,000 reported cases of occupational illness in 2013. Securing workers compensation for a workplace illness, however, can often be challenging. Please remember that any advice given below should not be viewed as a replacement for actual legal counsel.
If you work in an industry where your job places you in frequent contact with people, materials or chemicals that are known to contribute to health problems, then it is often easy to identify where an illness may have come from. Yet if your occupational illness might be the result of incidental contact, then your employer may argue that you cannot prove you contracted the illness at work. Examples of illnesses resulting from incidental contact may include:
- Acquiring an infection from a contaminated surface
- Developing respiratory problems due to poor air quality
- Being exposed to illness from a coworker or visitor
If the source of your illness is questioned by your employer, you need to be able to provide documentation or other proof showing that it was acquired at work. Talk to a doctor to establish a documented clinical opinion that your illness is work-related. Your work may ask you to see a doctor of their choosing. If so, be sure to get a second opinion from your own physician. Your own medical history can also be presented as proof that you’ve had no prior history or exposure to the illness you are now suffering from.