Not all work injuries are slip and fall injuries on warehouse floors or wet docks. In fact, some of them are not injuries at all; instead, they are chronic illnesses. An occupational disease is any chronic illness caused by prolonged exposure to disease-causing factors in the course of performing one’s normal duties at work. That is such a broad definition that it can include anything from muscle strain injuries to cancer. Workers’ compensation laws require treatment for some occupational diseases, but not all. If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim and want to know whether the benefits being offered to you are reasonable and fair, contact a workers’ compensation attorney.
When Cancer Is an Occupational Disease
If you believe the news headlines, then all your favorite foods and all your hobbies cause cancer, but some substances have been proven to be carcinogenic. Doctors have understood for centuries that exposure to certain substances in the environment can cause cancer. In the eighteenth century, Dr. Percival Pott, a physician in London, discovered that chimney sweeps had a much higher rate of testicular cancer than the general population, and he hypothesized that their cancer was caused by prolonged exposure to coal dust at work.
Many industrial chemicals, such as pesticides, and even naturally occurring compounds, such as asbestos, can greatly increase a person’s risk of developing cancer after long-term exposure on the job. The types of cancer that can develop through exposure to carcinogens at work are many, as are the types of cancer they can cause. Therefore, cancer diagnoses are not neatly divided into “occupational cancer” and “non-occupational cancer.”
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission does not have a list of occupational diseases; occupational diseases are not like qualifying conditions for enrollment in a medical cannabis program. If you claim that your cancer is the result of occupational hazards, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will accept this claim unless there is evidence to the contrary. The main reason for the rejection of claims is if the Workers’ Compensation Commission determines that the illness or injury is the result of a pre-existing condition and not of an occupational hazard.
Report Your Diagnosis Promptly
Workers’ compensation laws require prompt reporting of injuries and illnesses for which workers intend to claim workers’ compensation benefits. If an injury-causing accident happens at work, any employer who makes the slightest pretense of complying with the law will report the incident. In the case of occupational diseases, the ill worker must make the first move. As soon as you receive a diagnosis of cancer or any other occupational disease, you must report it to your employer immediately. Failure to do so will leave your employer room to argue that the illness is the result of a pre-existing condition.
Contact Walton Telken Attorneys at Law About Workers’ Compensation Cases
Early detection is key to treating cancer successful, and early reporting of a cancer diagnosis is essential to getting the best workers’ compensation benefits. First, report your diagnosis, and then contact a lawyer. Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys in the Evansville, Illinois area to discuss your case.