An occupational illness is a chronic disorder that was caused by work activities or exposure to environmental conditions within the workplace. Occupational illnesses are covered by the Nevada workers’ compensation system; however, proving that an illness was caused by a workplace condition can be difficult. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help.

Occupational Illnesses Defined

Occupational illnesses are those that are either developed or aggravated by a particular type of work. To have an occupational illness covered under Nevada workers’ compensation, you must prove that: (1) the illness was caused or aggravated by conditions that are specific to a particular occupation; and (2) that the disease was not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public was exposed.

Your employer is responsible for medical conditions that were caused or made worse by your occupation. But proving that an illness was caused by your occupation and that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits can be challenging.

Examples of Occupational Illnesses

Occupational illnesses are commonly caused by exposure to harmful gases or chemicals that are used in business operations. They can affect different parts of the body, but most commonly damage the lungs, bones, and muscles. Examples of occupational illnesses that are covered by Nevada workers’ compensation include:

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Bronchitis
  • Asbestosis and mesothelioma
  • Silicosis
  • Lead poisoning
  • Radiation sickness
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Rabies

Workers at Increased Risk for Occupational Illness

While anyone is at risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals at work, workers in certain industries are at a higher risk for developing an occupational disease. Chronic health disorders as a result of occupational exposure are common in manufacturing, construction, factory work, auto repair, and healthcare.

To be eligible for workers’ compensation, a worker must prove that the illness was caused by a hazard that exists in their workplace. The symptoms experienced by the worker must be consistent with other documented cases of the illness, and the worker must prove that their illness was caused by their workplace activities or hazardous conditions in the workplace.

Depending on the nature of your specific medical condition, it may be difficult to prove that the disease was caused by factors at work. In some cases, the link between exposure and an occupational disease is well established, such as coal miners who suffer from black lung disease. Other illnesses are the result of a singular event, such as a nurse being pricked with a needle from a patient who tested positive for HIV. But when the illness is an “ordinary disease of life,” such as heart disease, high blood pressure, lung cancer, or other common illnesses, it can be more difficult to prove that the illness was work-related.

Police officers and firefighters who suffer from heart or lung disease are eligible for compensation if they have been continuously employed for at least two years before becoming disabled. A police officer or firefighter who suffers from a debilitating lung condition does not need to prove that on-the-job exposure caused heart or lung disease, and their employer cannot attempt to prove that the condition was caused by a pre-existing condition.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for an Occupational Illness

Occupational illnesses can significantly detract from an injured worker’s quality of life. Your medical condition may affect your day-to-day life, make it more difficult or impossible for you to work, or even be fatal.

If you suffer from an occupational illness, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits may include payment for medical care, testing, and hospitalization, as well as surgical care and other treatment related to the condition. You may be entitled to other benefits including:

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Maintenance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Training
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

But successfully navigating the workers’ compensation process is complicated. Fortunately, the Vander Laan Law Firm, LLC can help.

The Vander Laan Law Firm: Justice for Injured Workers in Nevada

Nevada workers’ compensation attorney Natalia Vander Laan proudly represents injured workers throughout Northern Nevada. She is dedicated to her clients’ physical, emotional, and financial well-being and works hard to fight for their right to fair compensation.

With offices in Minden and Carson City, Nevada, Ms. Vander Laan handles workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee. This means she does not get paid unless she recovers money for you.

Learn what makes the Vander Laan Law Firm different from other attorneys in Carson Valley, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and contact the Vander Laan Law Firm today to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and how Ms. Vander Laan can help.