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Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Illnesses

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If your job caused an occupational illness, then you need a workers’ compensation lawyer who will fight for you

Maximize your benefits with the leading workers’ comp attorneys at Munley Law

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a subdivision of the United States Department of Labor (DOL) tracks the number of workplace illnesses each year. According to the BLS, 2.8 million Americans suffered on-the-job injuries and illnesses last year. Most employees know that they can file for workers’ compensation after suffering a workplace injury. However, many sick workers do not realize that they can get workers’ comp benefits for work-related illnesses as well. For example, employees who are sick with illnesses like black lung disease, asbestosis, and even COVID-19 may be eligible. If your job conditions made you sick, you are entitled to seek workers’ compensation for your occupational illness. Accordingly, you need a leading workers’ comp lawyer who will fight to maximize your benefits. You need Munley Law. Schedule your free consultation today.

Workers’ comp lawyers who will fight to get your occupational illness benefits

When our father, Robert W. Munley, started Munley Law in 1959, he made a commitment to Pennsylvania workers. He promised to fight for justice for them and never back down against big the guys. Over the last 60+ years, our family firm grew into the nation’s leading workers’ compensation and personal injury law firm. However, we will never forget our roots or the iron-clad promise that our firm was founded on. If you suffered an on-the-job injury or occupational illness, our workers’ compensation team is ready to help. Get justice, get results, and get your benefits quickly. Get Munley Law.

What is an occupational illness?

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act states that workers comp benefits apply to the following diseases:

  • Poisoning from contact with or exposure to arsenic, lead, mercury, manganese, phosphorus, methanol, carbon bisulfide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon distillates, benzol, nitro, amido, or beryllium or any of their compounds
  • Caisson disease
  • Radium poisoning or disability
  • Epitheliomatous cancer or ulceration due to tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil, or paraffin
  • Infection or inflammation of the skin due to oils, cutting compounds, lubricants, dust, liquids, fumes, gasses, or vapor
  • Exposure to Anthrax occurring in any occupation involving the handling of, or exposure to wool, hair, bristles, hides, or skins, or bodies of animals either alive or dead
  • Silicosis
  • Asbestosis and cancer resulting from direct contact with, handling of, or exposure to the dust of asbestos
  • Tuberculosis, serum hepatitis, infectious hepatitis or hepatitis C
  • Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, anthraco-silicosis and silicosis (also known as miner’s asthma or black lung)
  • Cancer suffered by a firefighter which is caused by exposure to a known carcinogen
  • Byssinosis
  • Diseases of the heart and lungs

However, if you are suffering from a different disease not on this list, you still may be eligible for benefits. As long as: (1) your job exposed you, (2) your disease is causally related to your work, or (3) the incidence of the disease is substantially greater in your industry than in the general population you are eligible under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

Occupational illnesses and workers’ comp FAQ

Q: What kinds of workers’ comp benefits are available in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp scheme includes six basic categories of benefits.

Replacement of lost wages

Replacement of lost wages benefits are based on the injured or sick worker’s salary. However, the Pennsylvania government sets maximum weekly benefit caps.

Medical expenses payments

Even if a worker has not lost work time, “reasonable and necessary” workers’ comp benefits cover work-related medical expenses. Likewise, the treatment duration is irrelevant.

Specific loss benefits

When a work-related injury or an occupational illness causes the loss of vision, hearing, limbs (arms or legs), or appendages (fingers or toes), specific loss benefits are available. For specific loss benefits, the amount of lost work time is irrelevant. In addition, there is a defined separate healing period for each loss.

Disfigurement benefits

Workers who suffer serious and permanent disfigurement of the face, neck, or head can get disfigurement benefits.

Death benefits

When an occupational illness causes an employee’s death, his or her dependents may claim death benefits, including reasonable burial expenses. Again, the Pennsylvania government caps the maximum amount available.

Subsequent injuries

When an employee first loses use of a hand, arm, foot, leg or eye and subsequently becomes totally disabled after losing another hand, arm, foot, leg or eye, additional compensation benefits may be available through the Subsequent Injury Fund.

Q: How common are occupational illness workers’ comp claims?

In Pennsylvania, occupational illness benefits claims are rarer than claims based on on-the-job injuries. In fact, of the 172,756 workers’ comp cases in Pennsylvania last year, only 3,358 (1.9%) can be classified as illness benefits cases.

Q: Which Pennsylvania workers are most likely to become sick?

While certain industry employees get sick from their working conditions, others have major occupational illnesses problems. Last year, the highest occupational illness industries in Pennsylvania included jobs in:

  • Educational & Health Services (1,326)
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities (549)
  • Public Administration (454)
  • Manufacturing (362)
  • Professional & Business Services (221)
  • Leisure & Hospitality (139)
  • Construction (106)

In addition, across all industries, the most common causes of work-related illnesses include:

  • Radiation and caustics (1,245)
  • Being struck by a dangerous object (468)
  • Overexertion (366)
  • Contact with temperature extremes (132)

However, this information is incomplete. Last year, the cause of 971 occupational illnesses in Pennsylvania were merely classified as “other.”

If you’re ready to maximize your workers’ comp benefits, call us for free today

Our award-winning workers’ compensation lawyers are standing by. Call, chat, text, or email us right away.

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