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Occupational Disease

Not all work-related injuries are caused by physical accidents. Exposure to dangerous chemicals or repetitive actions can lead to long-term damage and suffering. If you’re not aware of the dangers, you’re more vulnerable to exposure and harm.

Many work-related diseases can appear after long periods of time. The lawyers at Wilson, Reives & Silverman know occupational disease compensation law, and will fight to prove your claims and get you the disability benefits you deserve.

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Has an occupational lung disease or other occupational diseases left you unable to work? The lawyers at Wilson, Reives & Silverman know occupational disease law, and are ready to help you gain the compensation you deserve. Your health may have already been compromised—let our attorneys help fight for your workers’ compensation benefits while you concentrate on healing.

What are occupational diseases?

Occupational diseases are chronic disorders that arises because of the kind of work or occupational activity you do. Some occupational diseases are specific conditions listed in the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. These include asbestosis, silicosis, synovitis, tenosynovitis, bursitis and exposure to certain chemicals and toxins.

There is also a catch all provision, which defines “occupational diseases” as any disease you carry where your job exposed you to a greater risk of contracting the disease than other members of the public, or where your exposure significantly contributed or was a significant factor causing the disease’s development can be characterized as an occupational disease.

As an injured employee, you may qualify to be paid for time out of work if an occupational diseases kept you from being able to perform your job—or any job—for a temporary or permanent period of time.

What are common occupational diseases?

Occupational lung disease

Diseases of the lungs can be caused by everything from poor indoor air quality to exposure to chemicals and particles in the air.

  • Asbestosis is a hazard for those who work with asbestos insulation
  • Silicosis, a chronic disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica dust, is a risk to people in jobs like sandblasting, mining, roadwork and construction
  • Byssinosis can affect individuals working in the cotton industry
  • Occupational asthma can affect individuals working in a great number of industries
  • Psittacosis can affect pet shop employees, zookeepers, veterinary clinic workers and workers in poultry processing plants

Occupational skin disease and poisoning

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 13 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to chemicals and bacteria that can be absorbed through the skin. High-risk occupations include those in healthcare, hairdressing, printing, construction, motor vehicle repair, meat inspection, animal handling, lab work and metal machine work.

Diseases and poisoning include:

  • Eczema and contact dermatitis
  • Skin cancer
  • Lead poisoning
  • Poisoning by sulphuric, hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acid
  • Chrome ulceration
  • Undulant fever/Brucellosis

Repetitive motion, stress and trauma injuries

Workers in industries ranging from information technology to food processing can be at risk for injuries that stem from repetitive pushing, pulling, vibrations, pinching and grasping, as well as on-the-job trauma:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Rotator cuff syndrome
  • Synovitis caused by trauma in employment
  • Tenosynoitis, a type of inflammation affecting either the upper extremities or lower extremities caused by trauma in employment
  • Bursitis, an inflammation that can occur in the shoulder, elbow, hip and ankle due to intermittent pressure in employment
  • Loss of hearing caused by harmful noise in employment (provisions apply)

If I’ve contracted an occupational disease, what should I do next?

First, seek medical attention if you haven’t done so already. Also, be sure to report the injury immediately to your supervisor in both written and oral form. While there’s no set format for how you need to do this, you do need to do it as quickly as possible. Make sure what you say to employers and others remains consistent. And, if possible, document your working conditions to help illustrate any safety lapses.

Then, with the help of an attorney who knows occupational disease compensation law, you can determine whether filing a workers’ compensation claim is your best course of action.

Where do I begin filing a workers’ compensation claim?

If you are looking to claim occupational disease compensation benefits, you should do so quickly. Any delay in filing on your part could lead to potential delays in receiving benefits. Reporting injuries immediately and filing a claim as soon as you decide to seek benefits will significantly increase your lawyer’s chances of recovering compensation quickly.

It will not cost you anything to come in for a consultation. At Wilson, Reives & Silverman, PLLC, all consultations for workers’ compensation cases are given free of charge.

The lawyers at Wilson, Reives & Silverman are here to provide you with trusted, effective legal counsel. We’ll focus on your claim, allowing you to focus on recovery and moving your life forward.

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