Whenever someone becomes ill while working, there is a decent chance that their illness will be covered by Savannah, Georgia, workers’ compensation benefits as an occupational disease. However, this is not always the case, and you should not make any assumptions when it comes to your health, your income, and your job. To begin with, you need to know that certain conditions are automatically not covered by workers’ compensation when they stand alone, that others are only covered if they correspond to a relevant work related injury, and some are simply not covered at all. Then, there are times when an illness should be covered, but is wrongfully denied by the employer or their insurance company.
What determines whether or not your illness is going to be covered by workers’ compensation? Read on to get the answers you’re looking for and to find out what steps you need to take to ensure that if your illness should be covered, you do get the coverage you need and deserve.
Which Types of Illnesses are Never Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Savannah, Georgia?
A good place to start the conversation about occupational diseases in Savannah, Georgia, workers’ compensation
claims is to discuss the different types of illnesses that are never covered. These generally fall into two primary categories: contagious illnesses and climate related illnesses.
A contagious illness or communicable disease is one that you can catch from another person. Many people think of the cold or the flu when they think of a contagious illness. These are the most common examples, and they are naturally not covered by workers’ compensation, but most people don’t expect to get compensation for such illnesses. They come and go and are fairly routine part of life.
People are more inclined to hope for compensation for illness like pertussis, or whooping cough, which could cause tremendous harm in your life, particularly if you have small children in your home who could also catch it. Then, there are illnesses like protozoan infections, which are parasites in the GI tract. A variety of serious upper respiratory infections, tonsillitis that may require surgery, and skin infections that can be terribly uncomfortable, are all illnesses that people may wish to recover compensation for.
When such an illness disrupts your life, your home, and your paycheck, and when you know exactly where you got it – from a co-worker, a client, or other person at work – you may feel entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. After all, you wouldn’t have gotten the illness if not for your work environment, right? The unfortunate reality is that even if you know that you did get the illness at work, you technically could have gotten it anywhere. You may be able to trace it to the source, and you may even be able to prove where you caught the illness, but that doesn’t make a difference.
Knowing where you actually got the illness does not mean that you couldn’t have gotten it anywhere else. The trouble with contagious illnesses is that they can come from any place where humans are or have been. You could have gotten the same illness by grabbing the wrong cart at the grocery store, by living with a school age child, or by being in the line of fire when a stranger sneezed.
Then you have the illnesses that are caused by climate conditions. These can include illnesses related to the weather conditions, exposure to high or low temperatures, and toxins in the water. Like contagious illnesses, climate related illnesses could happen anywhere. If the water in your city is found to be tainted, and you became ill by drinking it at work, then this is not a work related illness. If you work in the high temperatures of a hot summer and suffer from heat stroke, then this also is not a work related illness. If you work in very cold weather and get hypothermia, then this, again, is not a work related illness. The fact is that you could have gotten ill by drinking the same water at home. You could have had a heat stroke while going for a jog in the same weather on your own time. You could have gotten hypothermia by going on a long winter hike. If you could have gotten the illness another way, then it is unlikely that you’re going to be able to recover worker’s compensation benefits for the given disease.
Some Illnesses are Not Covered Unless they are Related to Another Work Injury
For an illness to be considered as an occupational disease that is covered by Savannah, Georgia, workers’ compensation insurance, it must be directly related to your occupation or to an injury that was caused by your occupation. For this reason, there are some illnesses that are only covered if they can be tied to another work related injury. For instance, if you sustain a catastrophic injury at work that causes you to have post traumatic stress disorder, then this would be an occasion where a mental health condition would be covered. On the other hand, if you become depressed due to the stressful nature of your job, this would not be covered. Then, there are issues like heart conditions, lung conditions, and circulatory conditions that are not covered by workers’ compensation. Yet, if you were severely injured in a work related accident that then results in a heart attack or a stroke, for example, you may be able to get coverage for these conditions based on the fact that they resulted from the work related injury. Then, there are the situations where exposure to a toxin at work could result in certain conditions that might otherwise not be covered. If you get a lung condition because you were exposed to asbestos at work, then you should be able to get workers’ compensation benefits for this.
How Do You Know Whether Your Illness is Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Savannah, Georgia?
Whenever you believe that you have a work related illness, you need to seek medical treatment and report the situation to your employer. Your employer should assist with the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim if your illness is eligible as an occupational disease. If your employer says that your illness is not eligible or if your workers’ compensation claim is denied, then you need to find out why. If you believe that the decision is wrong, then you should seek a free consultation with the Savannah, Georgia, workers’ compensation attorneys at the Bader Law Firm to learn more.