When people think of workers’ compensation benefits, they typically imagine benefits received for work-related injuries. Under New Jersey law, however, employers need to provide benefits for employees who suffer work-related illnesses as well. Establishing that an illness is work-related can be challenging, and it often requires the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. If you believe that you are suffering from an illness contracted in your workplace, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney regarding what you must prove to present a successful claim. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our seasoned New Jersey workplace illness lawyers will assertively advocate on your behalf to help you seek any benefits that you may be able to recover, allowing you to focus on regaining your health.Common Causes of Work-Related Illnesses
Many employees sustain illnesses due to exposure to harmful substances, like asbestos or silica. People can also sustain illnesses due to toxic mold or other dangerous conditions in the building in which they work. Health care workers often contract illnesses at work as well if they have contact with the bodily fluids of infected patients. Work-related illnesses are not limited to physical illnesses and can include psychological illnesses that are caused by stressful work environments, trauma, or a physical injury.Establishing that an Illness is Work-Related
Often, in workers’ compensation claims seeking benefits for illnesses contracted in the workplace, the biggest hurdle to recovering benefits is establishing the work-related nature of the illness. Many workplace illnesses only occur after prolonged exposure to a harmful condition. It can be difficult, therefore, to establish how and when a work environment caused an employee’s illness without the assistance of a knowledgeable workplace illness attorney in New Jersey. Additionally, when the cause of an illness is not easily discernible, an employer may deny that the employee sustained the illness in the workplace. It may argue that the illness was instead caused by a pre-existing condition or factors encountered outside the workplace. Thus, the employee’s medical records and an examination by an independent physician are often critical to demonstrate that an employee’s illness is work-related.Benefits Awarded for Work-Related Illnesses
Once it is proven that an employee’s illness is work-related, the employee may be awarded medical benefits in the form of any reasonable medical treatment that is necessary to treat his or her illness. There is no clear definition of what is considered a reasonable or necessary treatment in the realm of workers’ compensation claims, but if a dispute arises, a workers’ compensation judge may be asked to make a determination on whether a requested treatment is required. Generally, however, reasonable and necessary treatment may include hospitalization, prescription medication, surgeries, therapy, and adaptive devices.
Our New Jersey workplace illness attorneys also can help employees suffering from work-related illnesses pursue income benefits. If an employee cannot work for more than seven days because of an illness, he or she may be awarded temporary total disability benefits. The employee will receive 70% of his or her average weekly wage within a defined range. In most cases, temporary benefits are paid until the employee resumes work or until it is determined that additional treatment will have no effect on the employee’s illness. If the employee remains unable to work at full capacity at that point, he or she may be deemed permanently disabled. A permanent disability may be partial, in that it diminishes the employee’s ability to work but does not prevent the employee from working altogether, or total, in that the employee is completely unable to work. Employees who are permanently disabled are eligible for permanent disability benefits.Discuss Your Work-Related Illness with a Capable New Jersey Attorney
If you are suffering from an illness that you sustained due to conditions that you encountered in the workplace, you should discuss your case with an attorney. The workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are adept at helping people suffering from work-related illnesses pursue any recoverable benefits. We regularly assist sick workers in communities throughout New Jersey, including people in Burlington, Atlantic, Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Mercer, Ocean, Somerset, Monmouth, Passaic, and Union Counties. You can contact us via our online form or at (800) 999-0897 to set up a conference with a workplace illness lawyer in New Jersey.