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What do I do if I have suffered a workplace illness?

It is not uncommon for people to get sick as direct result of their jobs. A workplace illness can be a very serious thing, but proving one's illness is work-related can be difficult. However, if it is possible, employees in California may be entitled to utilize workers' compensation benefits in order to assist with their care and recovery.

So, what does one do if he or she believes an illness is work-related? The first step is to report the illness to the employer -- unless it is an emergency, in which event seek treatment right away. In California, such reports are supposed to be filed within 30 days of onset. With the report, one should include what he or she believes caused the illness. In non-emergency cases, after the work-related illness is reported, the next step is receiving medical care, provided by one's employer.

Along with receiving medical care, employees are entitled to receive paid time off work. If the illness results in some form of disability, compensation is available for that as well -- either temporarily or permanently. In order to receive any benefits, however, forms will have to be filled out, and documentation of the illness will need to be provided in order for employees to receive all the benefits to which they are entitled.

One who believes he or she is suffering from a workplace illness will only benefit by taking action as soon as possible. Those who are struggling to get workers' compensation benefits to cover their care and other losses do have the right to seek legal assistance. With help, employees, whether in California or elsewhere, can fight for fair compensation.

Source: dir.ca.gov, "I was injured at work", Accessed on Dec. 8, 2016

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