When you’ve suffered a traumatic injury in the course of your employment in New Jersey, you have a right to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. There are typically only two requirements-that you sustain an injury and that the injury be work-related. But what if you’ve developed a medical or physical condition, or contracted an illness, because of your work. There’s good news-that’s customarily covered by workers’ compensation, too.
As a general rule, workers’ compensation benefits are available for diseases or illness that are brought on or caused by the work environment. This includes any illness caused by exposure to harmful or toxic substances, such as chemicals, silicates, dust or asbestos. Workers’ compensation can also be available for certain conditions caused by stress in the workplace, including heart disease, high blood pressure and psychological challenges (depression, anxiety or panic attacks).
PROVING THAT AN ILLNESS IS WORK-RELATED
In some circumstances, it can be a relatively straightforward process. For example, if you’ve contracted cancer and there’s a well-established medical link between that cancer and some substance that’s prevalent at your place of employment, the proof can be easy. However, if you have developed what’s known as an “ordinary disease of life,” the proof can be more challenging. With conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems and even some cancers, you’ll likely need significant medical evidence pointing to work conditions.
Just because your illness predated your employment does not mean you can’t receive workers’ compensation benefits, but you will likely have more difficulty proving that the disease was work-related. For example, if you were diagnosed with lung cancer before you started work, but were in remission, you may still be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits if you can establish exposure to a substance known to cause lung cancer.
CONTACT MALLON & TRANGER
Don’t ignore a personal injury, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey who has been a victim of a personal injury. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333 (toll free at ) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.