Are you suffering from a disease that has to do with your employment? If so, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation covers both workplace injuries and occupational diseases. But you should determine first whether your health condition provides you with a valid claim. Also, you must get legal advice from a qualified attorney to know your rights and legal options. You must consider the following:
Whether or Not Your Disease is an Occupational Illness
Under state law, occupational disease refers to a disease that arises out of your employment or in the course of your employment. It is not an ordinary life disease that the general public is exposed to beyond employment. You need to prove there is a direct causal link between your disease and work conditions. Your attorney can help you establish this using the official diagnosis and opinion of your doctor. Your treating doctor should name your illness and state that directedly resulted from your job. Common occupational diseases covered under worker’s comp include respiratory disease, allergic reactions, cancer, and communicable blood diseases.
Moreover, ordinary diseases of life like hearing loss and carpal tunnel syndrome are also considered occupational diseases. This depends on the circumstances and your ability to establish that these diseases resulted from your work.
Meeting Legal Deadlines
You should observe some time limits when trying to pursue compensation for occupational disease. First, you must notify your employer about your illness in writing within sixty days of your official diagnosis. Failure to do so can provide your employer with a good reason to deny your claim.
Second, you must also file a claim within a set period. In the state of Virginia, you have two years to file an occupational disease claim starting from the date you knew about your diagnosis. Or you may have five years from the date of your exposure to a hazardous work condition. When the statute of limitations expires, you will no longer be able to pursue a claim.
Whether Your Employer Carries Insurance
Employers who have at least three employees should carry workers’ compensation insurance in Virginia. Make sure your employer has insurance to protect their workers when accidents happen.
To know if you have a valid claim for occupational disease, you must be aware of the basic criteria. Keep in mind that there are exceptions to some rules and leeway in the way the law is interpreted. To better evaluate your case, speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of the legal system in Virginia.