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Are benefits provided in time to treat occupational diseases?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Federal laws, often in the form of regulations promulgated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, set many workplace safety standards. Workers’ compensation policies, in contrast, vary by state. 

Pennsylvania law requires employers to provide insurance coverage to their workers to safeguard against the chance of occupational injuries or illnesses. However, not all workers’ compensation coverage is the same. Differences between policies can result in disputes over the benefits that a worker deserves after suffering an on-the-job injury. Specifically, Pennsylvania employers might provide workers’ compensation insurance through a variety of methods: a competitive state fund, a private carrier, or even self-insuring. 

Yet disputes over the amount and type of benefits pale in comparison to other types of obstacles to recovering workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, proving causation from occupational exposure to a toxic substance can be a nightmare. Employers may point to other possible causes, such as known carcinogens, perhaps even shifting the blame to genetics. For some injured workers, the fight might not be resolved in time to provide care before they succumb to deadly illnesses, such as cancers. 

Unfortunately, state laws may create an additional barrier for many American workers. Simply demonstrating exposure to a known trigger in the workplace may be insufficient. In some states, a workers’ compensation claimant must meet a higher burden of proof, showing that the workplace environment was more likely the cause than other possible triggers. 

Our law firm focuses on workers’ compensation benefits. We have helped clients with a variety of work-related injuries. From physical injuries to occupational diseases, we can help build a strong case to maximize your benefits.

Source: Slate, “The Deadliest Scourge You Probably Haven’t Heard Of,” Jim Morris, Dec. 24, 2015

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