Occupational diseases are health conditions that occur due to specific hazards or adverse circumstances in your place of work. Sadly, these are often overlooked because they develop slowly over time as a direct consequence of long-term exposure at the workplace.
If you find yourself suffering from an occupational disease, know that legal help and recourse is available. We understand the physical pain and emotional distress these situations can create – not only for you but also for your family. Contact Grey Law today to schedule your free consultation with a Los Angeles occupational disease lawyer.
Common Occupational Diseases
Occupational diseases are health conditions or disorders resulting from exposure to harmful elements in the workplace. Some of the most common ones include the following:
Asbestosis and Mesothelioma: Exposure to asbestos fibers is known for causing asbestosis – a long-term lung condition – and mesothelioma – a type of cancer – which particularly affect those in the construction, shipbuilding, and insulation industries.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): This respiratory disorder results from long-term exposure to harmful particles and gasses – such as tobacco smoke, dust, or chemical fumes. This is prevalent in industries that involve mining, manufacturing, and construction.
Lead Poisoning: Lead exposure can result in serious health consequences like neurological damage. This often affects people working in paint manufacturing or application, battery production, and construction involving older homes with lead materials.
Radiation Sickness: Careers in environments with high radiation levels – for instance, in nuclear power plants or medical radiology departments – require protective measures to avoid health conditions like radiation sickness.
Other common occupational illnesses include cancer, general respiratory illnesses, repetitive motion injuries, lung cancer, lung disease, heart disease, hearing loss, and stress and mental health disorders.
Understanding the risks in your workplace can help you prevent these diseases, protect your well-being, and reduce the possibility of work-related injuries.
Causes of Occupational Diseases
Occupational diseases can stem from various sources in your workplace. It’s vital to understand these causes, which include:
Physical Agents: These include exposure to excessively loud noises, lasers, or strong vibrations on construction sites, warehouses, or certain machines. Also included are extremes of temperature that could cause frostbite or heatstroke, flammable liquids used in chemicals industries, and explosives used for mining work, among others.
Chemical Agents: These are substances you may encounter in settings like laboratories, manufacturing plants, cleaning services, or agricultural sectors. This could include pesticides, Ammonia, Chlorine, Hexane, arsenic, and mercury.
Cancer-Causing Agents: It’s an alarming fact that numerous agents found in workplaces could potentially cause cancer. Prominent among them is asbestos, a material once extensively used but now known to cause Mesothelioma and other lung conditions. Other carcinogenic substances include coal tars, nickel compounds, wood dust from cutting or processing timber items, and soot given off by diesel engines or fireplaces.
Biological Agents: These are live sources found within the workplace environment and could include viruses, parasites, or bacteria – like Hepatitis virus in healthcare centers where accidental contact through bodily fluids might take place. Other examples include tetanus, anthrax, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases.
Overall, many occupational illnesses occur because of inadequate safety measures taken by the employer or a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
How to Prove an Occupational Disease
Proving an occupational disease for the purpose of a claim can be a challenging process, which is why enlisting the help of a Los Angeles occupational disease attorney can be very advantageous. Here are the key steps:
Show Cause or Aggravation by Work: You need to demonstrate that your working conditions or the specific characteristics of your job caused or significantly aggravated the illness. It’s essential to prove that the disease was either directly caused by your work or that your work significantly increased the risk of contracting the disease. This might involve medical evidence showing a higher incidence of the disease in your profession or specific workplace.
Distinguish from Normal Diseases of Life: The illness should not be a common ailment that the general public is equally likely to contract outside of work. It should be specific or more prevalent in your particular occupation.
For illnesses with multiple potential causes, like cancer, this can be particularly challenging. You will likely need detailed medical evidence and expert testimony to establish a strong link between your job and the illness. A Los Angeles occupational disease attorney can help you to navigate this challenge and ease the burden.
How To Claim Workers’ Compensation
When claiming workers’ compensation in California for an occupational disease, it’s important to act promptly and follow the right steps. As soon as you become aware of symptoms related to an occupational illness, contact your employer to report the condition. This initial step is crucial in starting the claims process.
Your employer should then provide you with a California workers’ compensation claim form (DWC-1), which you need to complete and submit. It’s essential to file this claim within 30 days of receiving a diagnosis for the occupational disease to ensure timely processing and avoid potential delays or denials.
In addition to submitting the claim form, gather convincing medical evidence to support your claim. This includes all relevant medical records, test results, and a detailed statement from your physician clearly connecting the disease to your workplace conditions. This medical documentation is vital in establishing the link between your job and the illness.
A Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney can provide you with legal expertise and advice in order to recover the greatest amount of compensation and benefits.
Contact a Los Angeles Occupational Disease Lawyer
Dealing with an occupational disease can be a frightening ordeal, creating not only physical pain but mental distress as well. Putting together a convincing case that your condition is due to your working conditions can be complex, especially when you’re up against employers or insurance companies determined to dispute or deny such claims. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone – a Los Angeles occupational disease lawyer can assist you. If you need help with a claim, contact Grey Law to schedule a free consultation.