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Occupational Disease Laws

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What is an “Occupational Disease”?

Occupational disease refers to various medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that caused by work in a particular occupation or industry.  Also called “industrial disease”, occupational disease is often the subject of many workers compensation claims.  Most occupational disease laws exist to help workers understand their rights and to provide them with legal remedies for injuries sustained through their occupation.

What are Examples of an Occupational Disease?

Occupational diseases can come in many different forms, and may be very different depending on the occupation involved.  Some common forms of an occupational disease may include:

  • Various lung diseases such as emphysema
  • Disease resulting from exposure to chemicals such as asbestos
  • Head, neck, and spine injuries
  • Repetitive strain and joint injuries
  • Lower back injuries (from heavy lifting)
  • Various other injuries or conditions

Some forms of an occupational disease may not manifest until many months or even years.  Thus, it’s important understand whether or not a disease may be linked to a particular line of employment.  The expert opinion of a doctor and/or lawyer may be needed for such determinations.

What are Some Considerations When Filing for Occupational Disease Damages?

In many cases, it may be possible to file suit for damages due to an occupational disease.  One thing to consider is the date of filing.  As mentioned, some diseases take a long time before symptoms manifest.  Thus, it’s important to file suit as soon as a condition is discovered.  This will help avoid issues with filing deadlines.

Another thing to consider is the amount of damages being requested.  Some states and jurisdictions may place limits on the amount of damages being requested, especially for special requests such as pain and suffering.  You may need to consult with a lawyer if you are unsure of how damages for occupational diseases work.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Legal Issues Involving an Occupational Disease?

Work-related claims should be handled with assistance of a lawyer.  You may wish to hire a lawyer for assistance with tasks such as filing a lawsuit, researching laws, and formulating legal theories.  A qualified lawyer in your area can provide you with the legal guidance and advice necessary to help you succeed on your claim.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 09-20-2017 02:03 AM PDT

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