Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
For millions of American workers, workers’ compensation is what they rely on when they sustain an on-the-job injury or develop a work-related illness. But what types of injuries and illnesses are actually covered by workers’ compensation? The specific answer to that question depends on the state in which you work.
Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, rules and regulations. Although in general, you must pass the AOE/COE test: your illness or injury must have arisen out of your employment or occurred during the course of your employment. Or, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts it, you have a valid workers’ compensation claim if an event or exposure in your work environment caused or contributed to your illness or injury.
Examples of Occupational Illnesses
Compensable occupational illnesses include the following:
- Black lung disease
- Skin diseases or disorders
- Respiratory conditions
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
If your job requires you to work outdoors, workers’ compensation also covers such things as the following:
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stress
Examples of Work-related Injuries
Compensable work-related injuries include the following:
- Slip, trip and fall injuries
- Muscle strains
- Being struck by falling objects
- Getting caught in machinery or in between its parts
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Crashes and collisions
- Cuts and lacerations
- Toxic fume inhalation
- Hearing loss
- Electrocution injuries
Workers’ compensation likewise covers new injuries that exacerbate or aggravate a pre-existing condition. For instance, if you hurt your back lifting, carrying or moving a heavy object at work, you likely will have a valid workers’ compensation claim even if x-rays show that you had arthritis in your knees or hips prior to sustaining your new back injury.
PTSD and Other Stress Conditions
Many states now allow workers’ compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological conditions if a sudden, traumatic event at work caused them. They likewise have liberalized their rules regarding depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other emotional and mental conditions resulting from a work-related physical injury.
Keep in mind that workers’ compensation is similar to a no-fault auto accident system. Consequently, you can still file a work comp claim even if your own negligence or inattention contributed to the accident. The only exceptions consist of the following:
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the accident happened.
- You were committing a crime when the accident happened.
- You were violating a company policy when the accident happened.
Seeking Legal Help
If you have any questions about whether or not your injury or illness qualifies for workers’ compensation, your wisest strategy consists of consulting an experienced local workers’ compensation lawyer from the state in which the incident occurred.