When most people think of workers’ compensation, the first thing that comes to mind is a workplace accident. While on-the-job injuries make up a large portion of workers’ comp claims, the system is also designed to help people who have suffered an occupational illness or disease.

The illness or disease must be work-related

There must be a link between an illness and the job in order to receive workers’ comp benefits. For example, a cancer diagnosis on its own may not be enough to show that the disease was work-related. However, if a logger is diagnosed with lung cancer and was repeatedly exposed to diesel exhaust at work, a known cancer risk, the logger may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Healthcare workers are especially high-risk

Nurses and other healthcare workers are at an especially high-risk of coming down with a work-related disease or illness. Exposure to blood, saliva and other biological hazards can lead to serious illnesses or disease. Chemicals used in hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities also put healthcare workers at risk.

Pursuing A Fair Settlement

You don’t need to shrug off a job-related illness or disease as “bad luck.” You have rights under the workers’ comp system, and a fair settlement can help with some of your medical and financial needs. The best way to get a fair settlement is to seek medical help, apply for benefits and discuss your situation with an attorney so that you understand all your available options.

If you believe that you are suffering from a work-related disease or illness, you should notify your employer as soon as possible and begin the workers’ compensation application process. Backing up your claim with medical evidence from a doctor or a healthcare provider can help strengthen your claim.