The Workers’ Compensation system in South Carolina provides compensation to employees who have been injured or become ill in the course of their job. In order for a workers’ comp claim to be successful, it needs to be shown that the employee was harmed while on the job.
While this may be relatively easy when it comes to an acute injury, it becomes more challenging with respect to an occupational disease. After all, an injured employee who falls and breaks a wrist at work can clearly detail the time, location, and circumstances that surrounded the injury. Illnesses and diseases, on the other hand, take time to develop and it may be hard to show that one developed as the result of workplace conditions.
With that in mind, here’s what’s needed to get workers’ compensation for an occupational disease in South Carolina.
Occupational Disease: Definition and Examples
First, let’s look at exactly what occupational disease is. By definition, an occupational disease is one that arises due to working conditions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the following common types of occupational illnesses:
· Skin diseases or disorders like eczema, rash, and friction blisters
· Respiratory conditions like asbestosis, mesothelioma, and chronic obstructive bronchitis
· Poisoning by metals, gases, organic solvents, and other toxic substances
· Musculoskeletal disorders like hernias, sprains, and repetitive strain injuries
· Hearing loss
Workers in certain jobs are more likely to develop an occupational illness than in others. This includes miners, welders, drillers, and workers in power plants, processing plants, textile factories, commercial construction, and shipyards. The nature of the work means these employees are more likely to be around workplace and environmental stimuli and substances that lead to occupational disease.
What it Takes for a Successful Occupational Disease Claim
Certain occupational diseases have been established over the years as being connected to particular occupations. For example, asbestosis and mesothelioma are linked to several types of industrial jobs. This makes it easier to show the connection between the working conditions and the development of the disease itself when it comes time to file a workers’ comp claim.
For occupational diseases that aren’t well known to relate to particular jobs, it requires more work to show the connection. The worker needs to document their working conditions and demonstrate their exposure to certain chemicals, repetitive movements, or environmental factors they believe led to the occupational disease. They should also get a diagnosis and the opinion of a medical professional stating that the working conditions were the direct factors in the development of the disease. The worker will have a stronger case if they are not the only person in the same role with the disease, but there’s still a chance they can have a successful workers’ comp claim even if they are.
Call the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group
In South Carolina, you have two years to file a claim for workers’ comp. For occupational diseases, the clock starts running when you discover (or should have reasonably discovered) that you have the occupation-related condition. For help with your claim, speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney at The Carolina Law Group. They can help you understand how to build a solid case and help you get the compensation you’re entitled to under the law. Call one of the numbers below to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your situation.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in upstate South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.757.5555). Call today.
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