Certain industries are more dangerous than others and have a high risk of accident, such as construction. When physical injury occurs due to a traumatic event, employees can file for workers' compensation to receive financial benefits. The aid covers both current and future medical bills and lost wages.
However, what if no accident caused the injury? Can you still file a workers' compensation claim? The answer is yes for injuries that take time to develop.
Some jobs expose workers to toxic substances, such as bodily fluids or poisonous metals, chemicals and gases. Over time, the repeated exposure results in the development of serious medical conditions, including the following:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Contact dermatitis
- Hepatitis B or C
- Lead poisoning
- Occupational asthma
The source does not always have to be a substance. For example, repeated exposure to excessively loud noise often leads to hearing loss. Other causes can be environmental, such as frostbite in cold weather and heatstroke in hot temperatures. In any of these cases, it takes effort to prove the disease is the result of the job and did not exist already or come from somewhere else.
Another cause for injury is repetitive motion. Using the same muscles and tendons over and over wears them down and damages them. Those who type long hours often develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Truck drivers may sustain harm to the rotator cuff from shifting gears. Stockers and nursing home workers usually suffer from back injuries due to heavy lifting.
Musculoskeletal disorders and the like can happen at any place of employment, not just those that involve hard labor or many hazards. Because these injuries are complex to prove, it is important to seek a medical evaluation as soon as you suspect something is wrong with your health. Waiting too long to get a diagnosis or going back to work too soon after an injury can give the impression that it is not serious and harm your workers' compensation case.