Although the California workers' compensation system covers occupational injuries and illnesses, claiming benefits for the latter can be complicated. The primary reason may be the fact that a workplace injury is typically caused by an actual incident that can be identified, and a workplace illness may only become evident after months of exposure to hazardous conditions. Fortunately, help is available in navigating benefits claims for occupational illnesses.
Illnesses that are difficult to prove include exposure to hazardous chemicals that can manifest years later in conditions such as cancer, or exposure to silica dust that can cause silicosis. Also, ergonomic injuries such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome develop over time. A worker may even suffer emotional trauma after witnessing a workplace accident in which he or she suffered no physical injury.
These and other circumstances can bring about job-related medical conditions that may adversely affect an individual's ability to perform regular duties in the workplace. The available workers' compensation benefits for occupational illness depend on the specifics of the condition, how and when it arose, the severity and length of time it has or will affect the employee. In some cases, time limits might prevent workers from filing claims for conditions that developed over long periods.
No California worker suffering from the consequences of hazardous workplace environments should have to fight for fair compensation. However, it is not uncommon for a workplace illness claim to be rejected. For this reason, the most appropriate step to take may be to retain the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to navigate the claim and fight for the rights of the worker.
Source: healthline.com, "If Your Job Makes You Sick, You May Be Out of Luck", Kristen Fischer, Accessed on May 20, 2016