Are Occupational Illnesses or Repetitive Trauma Injuries Covered by Workers Comp?
Updated: Apr 23
Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees against injuries, accidents and hazardous conditions. If you develop an illness due to the conditions of your job, workers compensation insurance should be available to you. For an illness to qualify as an occupational disease/illness, it must arise out of employment and occur during the course of employment. Many times the cause of a work-related illness is not always clear. As a result, if you file a workers compensation claim, you must prove that your illness was caused by an event or exposure in the workplace. Insurance carriers normally deny occupational disease/illness claims arguing your illness could have happened during the course of daily life. However, you can still file for benefits if you can prove with “clear and convincing evidence to a reasonable degree of medical certainty” that your illness developed because of work. Sounds tough, but your attorney can help prepare you for this.
What Kind of Occupational Illnesses Can Develop at Work?
Coal miners may develop black lung disease, or a healthcare employee may be infected with HIV/AIDS. Even exposure to toxic substances at factories may lead to cancer. The most common types of health conditions that qualify as occupational diseases are cardiovascular, contagious, cancerous, or respiratory in nature. Other types of illnesses result from overuse. A cashier who scans items all day may develop carpal tunnel syndrome, or an employee who lifts heavy boxes every day may acquire back pain. These are
called repetitive trauma injuries and should be covered under workers’ comp.