(a) Where the employer and employee are subject to this chapter, the disablement or death of an employee resulting from an occupational disease shall be treated as the occurrence of an injury by accident; and the employee or, in the case of his or her death, the employee’s dependents shall be entitled to compensation as provided by this chapter. The practice and procedure prescribed in this chapter shall apply to all the proceedings under this article except as otherwise provided.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, an employer shall be liable for compensation under this article only where:
(1) The disease arose out of and in the course of the employment in which the employee was engaged under such employer, was contracted while the employee was so engaged, and has resulted from a hazard characteristic of the employment in excess of the hazards of such disease attending employment in general; and
(2) The claim for disablement is filed within one year after the date the employee knew or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the disablement and its relationship to the employment; but in no event shall the claim for disablement be filed in excess of seven years after the last injurious exposure to the hazard of such disease in such employment; provided, however, that an employee with asbestosis or mesothelioma related to exposure to asbestos shall have one year from the date of first disablement after diagnosis of such disease to file a claim for disablement. In cases of death where the cause of action was not barred during the employee’s life, the claim must be filed within one year of the date of death.