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Being Aware of Common Occupational Diseases May Help You Avoid One Yourself

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Each year in the state of Missouri, nearly 1,000 workers’ compensation claims are filed for an occupational disease. While this number is half what it was in 2004, this is due in large part to a 2005 change in the definition of an occupational disease. According to the Missouri Department of Labor, an occupational disease is “an identifiable disease arising with or without human fault out of and in the course of employment. The occupational exposure must be the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability.” This broad definition includes many different health conditions involving all systems of the body.

Categories of Occupational Diseases

The largest category of occupational diseases for which workers’ compensation claims were made in 2014 is the catch-all category of “other,” which means that workers suffer from a huge variety of health issues caused by conditions in their place of work. Claims for diseases that could be categorized include the following, in order of prevalence:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Mental stress
  • Loss of hearing
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Poisoning-chemical
  • Dermatitis
  • Contagious disease
  • Asbestosis
  • Cancer
  • Mental disorder
  • Silicosis
  • Dust disease
  • Hepatitis C
  • Poisoning-metal

All occupations and industries are represented in occupational disease statistics. Whether you have a desk job or are driving a forklift all day, you are at risk for any of these conditions, which could put you out of work and cost you and your family a livelihood. In 2014, worker’s comp claims for occupational diseases were highest in the following industries:

  • Manufacturing (28.5 percent)
  • Public administration—including law enforcement (9.2 percent)
  • Healthcare (7.6 percent)
  • Construction (5.7 percent)
  • Retail trade (5.7 percent)
  • Transportation (5.2 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (3.5 percent)
  • Waste services (3.4 percent)
  • Finance and insurance (3.0 percent)
  • Accommodations and food service (3.0 percent)

Complex Laws Require Experienced Attorneys

The key factor in making a worker’s compensation claim for an occupational disease is the legal stipulation that the condition was the direct result of exposure in the workplace. Your employer may argue that your condition was not caused by factors at work. If this happens, you need the help of an experienced worker’s compensation attorney. The fact is, workers who do not use an attorney to help with their claim receive an average of 50 percent less compensation than workers who do. Download our free resource, How to Avoid Becoming a Work Injury Horror Story, now and then give us a call.

 

James Roswold
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.
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