Workers’ Comp

There are plenty of people who will tell you their job makes them sick. They may hate what they do or hate their coworkers and dread going to work every day. However, there are some people whose jobs actually do make them physically sick. If a person’s job gives them a chronic disease, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

What is an Occupational Disease?

Occupational diseases are chronic illnesses caused by working in a profession on an ongoing basis. For example, if a person works with hazardous chemicals, they could get lung cancer. If a person works as a data entry specialist, they may end up with carpal tunnel syndrome.

The hardest thing about getting workers’ compensation for an occupational disease is proving that a person got sick directly from their job. An attorney will have to research medical studies that have been done about the profession in question. They will also have a doctor examine their client and review their medical records to see if there is a history of the disease in their family.

They will also look at the person’s lifestyle to determine if they were participating in activities that could cause such a disease outside of work. For example, if the chemist was also a smoker, it might be pretty hard to convince an insurance company that they acquired lung cancer at work.

What About COVID?

When COVID reared its ugly head in 2020, it changed the way the world worked and the way people moved about crowded or public places. Many offices sent people home to work and others made them sit six feet apart and wear masks. Some offices ignored the government’s advice and did not take any precautions.

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If you got COVID and believe you were exposed to it at work, you may wonder if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Although you can certainly ask your company’s HR department about this, the insurance company may deny your claim.

According to lawyer Nathaniel F. Hansford, You would have to establish that you contracted the virus at work. This can be problematic because the virus is so easily passed from person to person. If an individual took public transportation to work, they might have gotten the virus on the bus. If a person shopped in a store that was a bit too crowded, they might be exposed to COVID.

The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation announced the very first decision on a COVID claim On January 5, 2022. A man who worked in a jail contracted COVID and died. His widow tried to file a worker’s compensation claim due to his death, insisting that he had acquired the disease at work.

Her claim was denied by the state board. They felt that his widow had failed to prove that he had been exposed to the disease at work as he was not in direct contact with the prisoners, and he was a safe distance from his coworkers.

Although it is certainly hard to prove that a person got COVID at work, a personal injury attorney will have a team of researchers at their disposal. They will be able to look at such things as how many of a person’s coworkers had COVID, whether or not the individual lived alone, how populous an area the person lived in, and how cautious they were in their personal life.

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What To Look For In a Lawyer

Be sure to select an attorney with many years of experience dealing with Georgia worker’s compensation law. Although the U.S Department of Labor sets many standards for workers’ compensation, each state is different. The lawyer you hire must be in good standing with the state bar, and they should provide references from former clients.

Getting a chronic illness from your job can be devastating, but an attorney can get you the money you need to feel better.

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