Does your profession or work environment expose you to hazardous materials, bacteria, or infectious diseases and the risk of a health condition or illness as a result of this exposure?
It is important to remember that under New Jersey workers’ compensation both injuries and illnesses are covered by benefits and recovery of medical costs. There are certain professions that come with an unavoidable risk of occupational exposure to illness. Many doctors, nurses, veterinarians, and other medical professionals inherently run the risk of contracting a disease or illness. Even with barriers, such as gloves or masks, there is still a risk that a patient or sample will carry an unknown or highly contagious illness.
However, medical professionals are not the only professionals and occupations at risk of occupational hazard injuries or illnesses. At times, employees are unknowingly exposed to fumes, toxins, or chemicals while at work.
Signs and Symptoms of Occupational Exposure
Even employees who commonly handle toxins, chemicals, or other hazardous materials can be surprised by exposure. However, specific symptoms of occupational exposure can help an employee identify when and how the contact with a dangerous substance took place. Some signs and symptoms that you have an occupational hazard injury or illness are:
- Discoloration of skin
- Cough and runny nose
- Respiratory complications
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Rash or raised skin
- Pulmonary issues
- Dry or scratchy throat
- Muscular aches and pains, and
- Chest pain.
Many of these symptoms are similar to general aches and pains. Therefore, it can take longer for an employee to know that an illness or injury stemmed from exposure at work. However, once that connection is established, these injuries are just as deserving of workers’ compensation benefits as injuries or health conditions from a known risk.
Evidence of an Occupational Exposure
To receive workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey the employee must do more than know or assume an illness or injury started with occupational exposure, he or she must prove it. Unless, the exposure was from an obvious or noticeable event, exposure typically requires the employee to prove two points:
- That the illness or injury was indicative of a hazard, chemical, or illness in his or her workplace; and
- That the injury or illness did not occur due to other daily activities and was not contracted from the general public.
Collecting the right information and evidence can be difficult for an employee without past experience with workers’ compensation or similar insurance claims. It is helpful, and often necessary with occupational exposure injuries, to engage a New Jersey worker’s compensation lawyer.
Finding the Right Representation
Occupational hazard injuries and illnesses are very different from other types of workers’ compensation claims. It is necessary that a lawyer possess a greater understanding of medical conditions, diseases, and the specific requirements for receiving compensation from these claims.
Do not leave your workers’ compensation recovery from an occupational hazard to an inexperienced lawyer. Contact The Law Offices of Albert J. Talone, LLC, and speak with a lawyer who understands these complex claims and how to maximize recovery. Our office is always available when you call (856) 234-4023.