Falls and other trauma injuries trigger most of the workers’ compensation claims in Illinois. Occupational diseases, like the ones described below, also cause significant injuries. An occupational disease is any workplace injury that occurs over the course of more than one work shift.
These claims often involve complex legal issues. For example, many job injury victims have pre-existing conditions that intensify workplace injuries. Insurance companies often deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Because of the eggshell skull rule, however, these job injury victims may still be entitled to full compensation.
That compensation usually includes money for both lost wages and medical bills. Furthermore, some victims may be able to sue outside the system and obtain additional damages.
Partial or total deafness is one of the most common occupational diseases. A sudden loud noise, like a construction site crash, may cause this problem. Other times, hearing loss occurs over time. Sounds equivalent to a chamber orchestra in a mid-sized auditorium may cause hearing loss. The good news is that this problem is usually correctable without surgery. Advanced hearing aids are quite costly, but workers’ compensation insurance usually covers them 100%. In the event that surgery is necessary, workers’ compensation usually covers these costs, as well, in addition to any associated lost wages.
Repetitive bending, stooping, or kneeling often causes joint deterioration. As outlined above, even if some deterioration occurred because of off-work activities, full benefits are usually still available. Office workers often suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, which is basically the same type of occupational disease. It is always important to go to the doctor straightaway and file claims. Victims may always withdraw the claims later if need be.
Many older buildings contain asbestos, lead, and other toxic substances. During remodeling and other such projects, many workers are inadvertently exposed to asbestos. The fibers are extremely small. About 20,000 asbestos fibers can occupy the space between Lincoln’s mouth and nose on a penny. All it takes is one fiber to cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer.
Silica dust abounds in many manufacturing facilities, mostly ones that work with clay or glass. Much like asbestos fibers, these tiny dust particles are easy to inhale. Sometimes, they may even be absorbed directly through the skin. Over time, silica dust causes scar tissue to form in the lungs. Victims experience chest tightness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. Lung cancer is often the end result.
One of the most dangerous occupations is not construction work or forestry but hairdressing. These individuals are exposed to a number of toxic substances, such as parabens, synthetic colors, and phthalates. These substances have serious long-term health effects. So, substantial workers’ compensation benefits may be available to these victims.
Occupational diseases are a constant threat to Illinois workers. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Chicago, contact Saks, Robinson & Rittenberg, Ltd.