Many workers suffer broken bones, strains, or similar injuries in the workplace. These injuries are painful, but victims are usually able to recover from them in a matter of weeks or months. Sadly, some workers suffer from far more serious occupational diseases that can affect them for the rest of their lives. How much compensation are you entitled to for a work-related disease? Here’s what you should know:
What is an Occupational Disease?
The law defines an occupational disease as a disabling or fatal condition that is caused by the victim’s work. Some of the most common occupational diseases include:
- Work-Related Asthma
- Black Lung Disease
For example, someone who worked with asbestos products on a regular basis could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they develop mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos. In this case, the victim’s line of work directly caused their disease, which means it is a compensable injury.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Occupational Diseases
If your occupational disease is considered a compensable injury, you are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits you would receive if you were injured while on the job.
The exact amount of temporary or permanent disability benefits you receive will depend on your income. According to Stat § 85A-65,the amount of compensation awarded for an occupational disease will be calculated using the most recent average weekly wage earned by the victim while he was exposed to the health hazard.
Consider the previously mentioned mesothelioma example one more time. In this case, the victim’s benefits would be calculated using the average weekly wage he earned the last time he was exposed to asbestos products at work.
It’s important to note that workers’ compensation benefits can be reduced in certain situations. For instance, let’s say the victim suffers from both mesothelioma and another lung disease. Although the mesothelioma is work-related, the other lung disease was caused by long-term tobacco use. Research has shown that tobacco use can increase your risk of developing mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, and it can also make symptoms of this cancer worse. In cases like these, where a non-work-related disease aggravates a work-related disease, the victim may not be able to entitled to the full amount of workers’ compensation benefits.
Have you been diagnosed with an occupational disease? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to establish the link between your job and health condition in order to secure the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.