If you have been injured or gotten sick while on the job or because of the work that you do, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, as a New Jersey workers compensation attorney, like from Rispoli & Borneo, can explain. This coverage may apply to sudden injuries caused by accidents or to injuries and illnesses that develop over time.
What Makes an Injury or Illness Work-Related?
An illness or injury is considered work-related if something that happened or something the worker was exposed to while in the workplace contributed to it occurring. Some instances are relatively straightforward, such as employees who are injured by an equipment malfunction while doing their job. Others, such as injuries that occur while an employee is doing something work-related that does not occur in the workplace, such as dropping off the boss’ dry-cleaning, may be more difficult to determine.
What Is a Work-Related Illness?
Some work-related illnesses are easy to directly trace to employment, such as employees who develop mesothelioma after doing a job where they were frequently exposed to asbestos fibers. Others, such as heart disease, lung cancer, or high blood pressure, that could be caused by work conditions, but also are frequently acquired in non-work-related exposures, are more difficult to prove. Some states extend extra protections to workers in inherently dangerous jobs, such as firefighters and police officers.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered?
Physical injuries, such as broken bones, strains, sprains, concussions, lacerations and other physical trauma directly caused by a fall, machinery, or other accidents in the workplace are usually covered by workers’ compensation without much dispute. Injuries that occur over time, such as repetitive motion injuries, may be covered, but are usually more difficult to prove. A common example of this type of injury is carpal tunnel syndrome caused by typing.
Are Stress-Related Injuries Covered?
While the medical profession is increasingly recognizing the impact stress has on physical and mental health, it is difficult to receive workers’ compensation benefits for stress-related illness and injury in most states. Some states make an exception for post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a specific traumatic event, such as a workplace shooting.
A wide variety of injuries and illnesses can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits; however, the nature of the injury and the difficulty of proving the injury or illness is work-related varies. If you need assistance proving your injury or illness occurred due to workplace exposure, contact a workers’ compensation attorney in your area.