Occupational diseases are those illnesses that arise as a direct result of your work environment or work related tasks. These are covered by workers’ compensation in Atlanta, Georgia. However, it is not always a simple or straightforward process to get the benefits that you need or to even prove that your illness was actually caused by your work conditions. In some cases, illness that can be linked to your work duties are still not covered. Some examples include heart and lung conditions and mental illnesses. This doesn’t mean that those illnesses are never covered, but there are specific circumstances that must apply in order to get coverage for certain illnesses, such as the illness being related to a different work related injury. In other words, you cannot seek workers’ compensation benefits because your job seems to be related to your mental illness. Yet if you suffer a serious injury that resulted in a relevant mental health diagnosis, then this is a case where it could be covered.
The best way to illustrate how and why this works is to look at a real life example. In this example, a man was working at a machine when he made a mistake and ended up losing his hand. This resulted in physical and psychological trauma. He needed much more than physical treatment. He also needed mental health treatment to recover as much as possible from the traumatic event. In this case, his mental health treatment was covered by his workers’ compensation medical benefits. However, if he had witnessed someone else losing a limb, he might have been quite traumatized by this, too. Yet, it is unlikely that mental health treatment would have been covered, since he would not have suffered the physical injury himself. As you can imagine, things can get complicated when it comes to establishing what occupational illnesses are covered and which ones are not.
There are Many Diseases that Are Not Covered by Atlanta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation
If you become ill in such a way that you believe it was caused by your work conditions, then you need to be aware of which types of diseases and health conditions are not covered. We’ve already discussed how mental health conditions, heart conditions, and pulmonary conditions may not be covered, depending on whether or not another illness or injury is related. Now, we’ll look at why another illness might not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. One type of illness that would not be covered is one that is contagious. There are all kinds of communicable diseases in the world, and the trouble with getting workers’ compensation to cover them is that you could catch them anywhere. It may be the case that you know for a fact exactly where the illness came from. You might be able to point directly at your co-worker who has the illness and clearly gave it to you. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make that illness eligible for workers’ compensation. The basic attitude towards contagious illnesses is that even if you did get it at work, you could have caught it at the store, the library, or anywhere else.
The same logic is applies to cases where an illness arises from climate conditions or other environmental hazards. You might spend all of your time working in the cold, and you might end up with an illness that is directly related to working in the cold. You might get frostbite and serious complications arising from that condition. Yet, you could have gotten the same condition by hiking in the snow. You may spend a lot of time working in the heat, and you may get heat stroke as a result. Yet, you could have experienced the same condition by hiking in the heat, running a marathon, or even sitting too long in a hot car. Thus, these conditions are not likely to be covered by workers’ compensation.
When Occupational Diseases Lead to Long Term Disability in Atlanta, Georgia
Sometimes, a work related illness or disease is serious enough to cause the worker to become permanently disabled or even to die. This is more likely to happen in situations where you are exposed to toxic substances and chemicals. If your illness prevents you from returning to work in your former capacity or from returning to work at all, then you get disability benefits through Atlanta, Georgia, workers’ compensation. Your benefits should cover all of your medical expenses and two-thirds of your wages. In cases where you are able to return to work in a position that accommodates your medical restrictions, you can get wage benefits at two-thirds of the difference between your former wages and your new light-duty wages. If your illness results in death, then your dependents can get death benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.
When Pre-Existing Conditions Impact the Outcome of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are also many cases where someone develops an occupational disease that is also related to a pre-existing condition. In some cases, a pre-existing condition will prevent you from being able to get workers’ compensation benefits. However, this is not always true. If your occupational illness exacerbated a pre-existing condition, then you may still be entitled to benefits. If you are concerned that your claim will be denied because of such a condition, then you might be tempted to lie about it or simply ‘fail to mention it.’ Unfortunately, if you do this, then you could be barred from recovering any benefits at all. You might even be accused of workers’ compensation fraud. If you file for workers’ compensation benefits, you need to be 100% honest about any pre-existing conditions. You should also talk to an attorney to be sure whether or not you are still eligible for benefits.
Call Ted A. Greve & Associates to Learn More About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
The skilled Atlanta, Georgia, workers’ compensation attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates Injury Lawyers can help you to figure out whether or not you are eligible for workers’ compensation. Keep in mind that your claim may be wrongfully denied, and this does not necessarily mean that you can’t get the benefits that you need to recover and survive. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.