Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Can I get workers' compensation for an occupational disease?

In most cases where Staten Island workers suffer an injury on the job such as broken bones, head injuries, cuts and similar issues that are clearly visible and easily diagnosed, it is not a complicated matter for them to get workers' compensation benefits. However, there are situations where the worker is not injured, but becomes ill with an occupational disease or suffers from occupational hearing loss. Those facing this problem should know how the workers' compensation process should be handled and have legal help should any issue arise.

A worker can get an occupational disease when the conditions of the employment expose the worker to the risk. To get workers' compensation, the disease is required to have come about from the specific circumstances of the job. When there is a disability because of an occupational disease, the worker will get the same benefits as there would be if there was an injury. There are time limits to file for benefits. It must be: two years from the date the worker was disabled; or two years from when the worker knew or should have known that the disease stemmed from the employment. The worker can apply for workers' compensation benefits even if he or she did not miss work because of the illness.

With occupational hearing loss, there are separate time limits. The worker can choose between the following: applying three months from when he or she was removed from the damaging noise at work; applying three months after leaving the job where there was exposure to the damaging noise. The date at which the disability begins will be the last day of the three months. The worker can also file after the two-year limit has passed provided it is done within 90 days of learning that the hearing loss was a result of the employment.

There can be disputes about claims for a variety of reasons. One of the key factors in getting workers' compensation for occupational diseases or for occupational hearing loss is to have legal assistance. A law firm that specializes in helping with workers' compensation cases can be essential to getting the benefits.

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