Occupational Diseases

Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Lawyer 

Pennsylvania has long been the backbone of American industry and innovation. Manufacturing, factories, chemical production, and mining are just a few of the critical industries that have contributed to the heart and economic strength of Pennsylvania and its people. Unfortunately, many of the hard-working people of Pennsylvania who helped make this commonwealth great have suffered the consequences of working in hazardous environments for decades. Occupational disease and work-related illness have cost employees their health, safety, and financial stability.

Many workers mistakenly believe there is nothing they can do to recover compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages after an occupational illness diagnosis. At Stine & Associates, P.C., we want you to know that isn’t always the case. Our Pennsylvania occupational disease lawyers have a long track record of helping workers who’ve become ill because of exposure on the job get the money they deserve. Workers’ comp benefits may be one avenue for recovering the compensation you need. 

It’s time to act. Discuss your situation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today and find out what you can do to get money for your medical expenses related to an occupational illness or disease. We offer a free consultation to get you started.

What Is an Occupational Illness?

What precisely is an occupational disease or illness? Most jurisdictions define an occupational illness as a disease or medical condition caused by the dangers of working in an unsafe environment or with hazardous materials. These medical conditions are typically associated with a particular occupation or industry.

Common Occupational Illnesses Associated with the Workplace

Many occupational illnesses and diseases develop gradually after repeated exposure to toxic chemicals, materials, or environmental hazards in the workplace. Some of the most common occupational illnesses associated with job-related exposure include: 

  • Mesothelioma 
  • Asthma 
  • Lung cancer
  • Other forms of cancer 
  • COPD and other respiratory illnesses
  • Skin conditions
  • Dermatitis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Hearing loss
  • Fertility loss
  • Pregnancy abnormalities 

Asbestos exposure in the workplace is one of the leading causes of mesothelioma and other respiratory diseases. Many herbicides commonly used in the agriculture industry may lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease. Coal miners are often diagnosed with pneumoconiosis or black lung disease after years of inhaling coal dust and other particles. 

Numerous chemicals, materials, and environmental conditions can cause various occupational diseases. Identifying whether a disease results from a hazardous work environment can be challenging. If you’ve been diagnosed with a severe medical condition and you suspect workplace exposure is the cause, you need the help of a lawyer who understands employment law. 

What Causes Occupational Illnesses and Diseases?

There are a few significant causes of occupational illnesses. The first are physical agents that affect the human body. Loud noises can lead to hearing loss over time, especially when employers do not provide personal protective equipment (PPE) like earplugs. Prolonged exposure to a physical agent like noise, extreme temperatures, and strong vibrations can cause damage to the body and result in an occupational injury. 

Chemical agents are among the most common causes of occupational diseases. Industries such as agriculture, mining, oil refining, steelwork, and manufacturing often utilize chemical agents in the workplace. Repeated exposure to these chemicals can lead to devastating medical conditions and illnesses. Chemicals that cause potential health problems include pesticides, ammonia, arsenic, latex, and chlorine. 

Another safety hazard many Pennsylvania workers face comes from cancer-causing agents or carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. Researchers have identified more than 100 known carcinogenic substances, many of which can still be found in the workplace. Common carcinogens include asbestos, radon, coal tar, ultraviolet rays, and formaldehyde. 

Finally, biological agents can lead to occupational illness and disease, especially for healthcare providers like doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians. Hepatitis, tuberculosis, and infectious diseases can impact those working in the healthcare industry, especially when workers do not get adequate PPE. 

Who Is at Risk for Developing an Occupational Disease?

Which workers are most at risk of a work injury or occupational illness? These are some of the professions that may expose workers to an increased risk of developing an occupational disease: 

  • Mining
  • Factory work
  • Manufacturing work
  • Construction work
  • Steelwork
  • Agricultural work
  • Healthcare

A workplace injury or illness can cause significant financial struggles due to medical expenses and lost income. An attorney can advocate for you and help you pursue the compensation you need.

Workers’ Compensation for an Occupational Illness Diagnosis 

What can an injured individual do if they have been diagnosed with an occupational disease and believe workplace exposure may be the cause? Workers’ comp benefits may be the answer. The Pennsylvania workers’ compensation program is insurance that helps employees hurt on the job recover compensation for their medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages.

Most employees mistakenly believe that workers’ compensation benefits are only for employees injured in traumatic accidents on the job. However, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act also stipulates that benefits extend to those who develop occupational diseases caused by employment-related activities or exposure. Pennsylvania’s Occupational Disease Act also spells out how an injured worker can seek compensation for a work-related occupational disease and which medical conditions may make an employee eligible for medical and wage replacement benefits. 

The workers’ compensation system is a safety net for Pennsylvania workers injured or sick due to their workplace environment. However, since it takes time to develop a disease, get a diagnosis, and link the condition back to a person’s employment, filing a workers’ comp claim with the compensation system can be overwhelming. It can be challenging to prove occupational disease claimsYou need extensive medical documentation and proof that your illness can be traced back to the conditions of your employment.

A lawyer can help collect and preserve evidence to build a strong workers’ compensation claim. An attorney can also review your unique situation and identify whether a third party may have been responsible for the conditions that led to the development of your occupational illness. If so, you may also attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party seeking additional compensation for your financial losses.

Why You Need a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Coping with an illness is never easy. Aggressively pursuing the money you need to replace your wages and pay for your medical expenses is even more difficult. That’s why you need to hand your claim over to an experienced Pennsylvania occupational disease lawyer. After you’ve suffered an accident and injury on the job, you must follow a strict procedure. This process includes reporting the accident to your employer, seeking medical attention, and getting your employer to file the correct workers’ compensation paperwork. However, reporting an occupational disease is different. You may not even work for your employer by the time you get a diagnosis.

An occupational illness attorney can walk you through the process and advise you on what to expect. They can also gather the information needed to build a solid claim that gives you the best chance of obtaining the compensation you’re entitled to for your medical expenses and lost wages.

Contact a Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Lawyer Now 

Do you believe your medical diagnosis is a direct result of exposure in the workplace? Are you Greensburg or elsewhere in Westmoreland County? Cindy Stine and her team with Stine & Associates, P.C., helps Pennsylvania clients with their claims for workers’ compensation benefits. Let us help you, too, and pursue the benefits you are entitled to. 

Contact our office today to request a free case review.