Whenever your job leads you to develop an illness or disease, this is called an occupational disease, and it is covered by Chester, South Carolina, workers’ compensation. The trick is to prove that your illness is directly related to your employment and did not occur in some other way. Sometimes, this is simple, in cases where the given illness is known to be caused by your type of employment. Sometimes, it is not so simple, as the employer and their insurance company may argue that your illness was not caused by your occupation or that it could have been caused in some other way.
There are certain illnesses and diseases that are never covered by workers’ compensation, and others that are only covered if they are related to another work injury. A common example of this is in mental illnesses. These are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance unless they are caused by a work injury. You might have lost a limb, for instance, that naturally led to depression and post traumatic stress disorder. In this case, the mental illness treatment would also be covered as being directly related to your injury. Yet, if you develop a mental illness through the stress of your job, this would not be covered unless the conditions causing the mental injury were “extraordinary and unusual”. For example, there was a man who lost his hand in a piece of machinery he was working with. Naturally, this led to tremendous trauma, physically and psychologically. He needed physical medical care to treat the injury, but he also had to live the rest of his life without that hand. This resulted in coverage through workers’ compensation for his medical treatment and his psychological treatment.
Which Diseases and Illnesses Are Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Chester, South Carolina?
Whenever someone is affected by an illness or disease that they think is related to their occupation, they need to seek legal advice and be aware of the conditions that are not covered. Following is a list of some of the different illnesses that are most likely not going to be covered without special circumstances (such as a physical work injury) being relevant to the case:
- Mental Health Conditions
- Heart Conditions
- Pulmonary Conditions
- Communicable Diseases
- Climate Related Illnesses
Communicable diseases are illnesses that are contagious. These can be confusing, because some of these illnesses are relatively rare, and you may very well be able to establish exactly who gave it to you, and that may be a co-worker. This makes many people think that they should get workers’ compensation benefits for the illness and the associated treatment. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation specifically prohibits coverage for communicable diseases. The reasoning is that even if you know how you got the disease and who gave it to you, it is possible for you to have gotten that illness somewhere else. It doesn’t matter that you know you didn’t get it in the grocery store. What matters is that it is possible to get it in the grocery store.
What Do You Do About an Occupational Disease with Long Term Consequences?
When an occupational disease is so severe that it results in long term consequences and disability or death, then you can recover compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, and potentially funeral expenses for your family if you pass away from the illness. This is a common occurrence when a person’s job involves working with hazardous chemicals or other substances. For example, those who work with asbestos could suffer from long term lung conditions, making this one of the exceptions to the general rule that pulmonary conditions are not covered. If you have suffered from an occupational disease that causes you to be permanently disabled or if you have a loved one who was killed by such an occupational disease, then you should contact a Chester, South Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about your rights and recover the appropriate compensation.
What if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition that Affects Your Workers’ Compensation Eligibility?
It is a common misconception that you cannot recover compensation for a work related illness if you have a pre-existing condition that also contributed to that illness. Sometimes, this may be true, if your pre-existing condition is the sole cause of your suffering. Yet, there are many situations where a pre-existing condition can be made worse by your work conditions. Let’s take a look at the mental illness example, again. If you already have anxiety, but you are injured in such a way that your anxiety becomes much worse, requiring additional treatment to recover from trauma or being unable to leave your home out of anxious fear, then you may be able to get this covered by workers’ compensation. It all depends on the case and what other factors relate to the condition.
The Chester, South Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Elrod Pope Law Firm Can Help
When you are dealing with an occupational disease in Chester, South Carolina, it can be very difficult to prove that your occupation is what caused the illness. This is where it helps to have a Chester, South Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Call the attorneys at the Elrod Pope Law Firm to find out how we can help you to recover the compensation that you need and deserve.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.