Recovering Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Illnesses

An occupational illness is any health condition or disease that is caused by the conditions at one’s work. One of the most common factors associated with occupational illnesses is repeated exposure to harmful substances. Unlike a typical work injury that results from a single event or workplace accident, occupational illnesses may take years to develop. Symptoms of some diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma may not manifest until the disease has become life-threatening. It is important to know the harmful substances linked to occupational illnesses and the symptoms of each so that diseases can be detected and treated as soon as possible.

Some of the most common causes of occupational illnesses and the accompanying symptoms of exposure are:

  • Arsenic: dehydration, abdominal pain, vertigo
  • Asbestos: shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic cough
  • Formaldehyde: sore throat, itchy eyes, nosebleeds
  • Manganese fumes: sleepiness, difficulty walking, pneumonia
  • Lead: weight loss, fatigue, seizures
  • Mercury: mood swings, insomnia, tremors
  • Pesticides: dizziness, skin irritation, headache
  • Radiation: nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure
  • Silica Dust: fever, chest pain, loss of appetite

In addition to exposure through inhalation, dermal exposure to toxins is the cause of many work-related illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 13 million workers in the United States may be exposed to chemicals through their skin. Workers in any job may come in contact with harmful substances through inhalation or dermal exposure, but some of the most common jobs with known risks for workers developing occupational illnesses are:

  • Miners
  • Construction workers
  • Welders
  • Farmers
  • Aerospace workers
  • Microwave popcorn workers
  • Workers exposed to diesel fumes
  • Workers exposed to noisy equipment
  • Workers exposed to nylon fibers


Recovering Millions For Our Clients

Filing an Occupational Illness Claim

All Delaware employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Employees who are injured at work or who develop an occupational disease may receive Workers’ Compensation benefits provided certain eligibility requirements are met. Injured employees must immediately notify their employers in writing of their injury or occupational disease and request medical services.

If the employer denies the claim, the worker has two years from the date of the accident or discovery of the occupational illness to file a petition for compensation with the Office of Workers’ Compensation. The Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation will not provide employees with an attorney; therefore, it is prudent to seek the counsel of an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer when going through the process of filing a petition. Workers’ Compensation claims are often denied when employees do not have the necessary legal assistance to successfully pursue their claims.

After filing a petition, the case may then go to a pretrial hearing. Employees are responsible for either arranging the deposition of a medical witness prior to the hearing or having a medical witness present at the hearing. Along with a list of witnesses needed for the hearing, employees must submit a list of all benefits they are seeking. Injured or sick workers may be eligible for numerous benefits, including:

  • Medical benefits: all necessary medical treatment and hospitalization is covered
  • Temporary total disability benefits: available to employees who lose at least four days of work
  • Temporary partial benefits: available to employees who go back to work part-time at a lower rate than before their injury
  • Permanent impairment benefits: available to employees whose injuries or illnesses result in a permanent disability
  • Disfigurement benefits: employees who suffered a scar, burn, or amputation at work may receive disfigurement benefits one year after the accident or surgery
  • Death benefits: available to dependents of workers who have died because of a work-related illness or injury

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Recover Compensation for Those Suffering from an Occupational Illness

If you were injured at work or are suffering from an occupational illness, contact a knowledgeable Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We have extensive experience helping individuals obtain compensation for all types of work-related injuries. We strive to ensure that injured workers and their families do not have to worry about costly medical care and other expenses associated with their injury or illness. Our dedicated attorneys will explore all possible benefit options and keep you fully informed about your case. With offices in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington, Delaware, we represent clients upstate and downstate Delaware. Contact us online or call us at (302) 427-9500 for a free, confidential consultation.

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