Workers’ compensation covers job-related trauma injuries and occupational diseases. Trauma injuries include things like falls, electrical or chemical burns, and motor vehicle accidents. Some of the more common occupational diseases are listed below. These conditions occur over the course of more than one work shift.
Originally, workers’ compensation was a legitimate alternative to a negligence claim. Injured workers could only recover money for economic losses, but they did not have to prove fault to obtain this compensation. Over the years, however, the amount of available compensation has decreased and processing delays have increased. A St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney helps ensure that victims quickly get a fair-sized piece of a shrinking financial pie.
Job-related hearing loss is the leading occupational disease in Missouri. Prolonged exposure to sounds as low as 80 decibels, which is basically the noise level at a school playground, could cause permanent hearing loss.
If it is caught early enough, hearing loss is rather easy to treat. But if the eardrum is damaged, risky surgery is the only alternative. Not everyone is a candidate for this procedure, and there are no guarantees of success.
Workers’ compensation pays all reasonably necessary medical bills in both these cases, whether the solution is a hearing aid or radical surgery.
Demolition and renovation workers are often exposed to asbestos. This substance, which was widely used in buildings before 1980, is extremely toxic. One microscopic fiber can cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer, and other serious illnesses.
Frequently, the incubation period for these conditions is twenty or thirty years or even longer. By the time symptoms appear, the workers’ compensation claim deadline is long passed. But a variation of the discovery rule protects these victims. Injured workers need not file claims until they know the full extent of their illness and they connect that illness with a work-related condition.
Many jobs involve repetitive bending, stretching, kneeling, and stooping. These activities place considerable strain on knees, elbows, ankles, backs, and other areas of the body.
Commonly, people do not just kneel and bend at work. They also do these things in their everyday lives. So, a pre-existing or co-existing condition could be involved. These victims are usually entitled to maximum compensation. An attorney must simply establish that the job injury aggravated the outside condition, and not vice versa.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Blue collar workers are not the only workers who risk injury. In fact, trauma injuries, such as falls, are more common among white-collar professionals. The same is true of occupational diseases, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Constant typing could cause the carpal tunnel in the wrist to collapse and pinch nerves. CTS causes pain and eventually paralysis.
Rest is usually the best treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. A few weeks without a paycheck, or even a few days without a check, could be devastating for many families. Fortunately, workers’ compensation includes a wage replacement benefit. Most victims receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages for the duration of their temporary disabilities.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Constantly typing usually also means constantly looking at a computer screen. The blue light that these screens emit could cause vision problems. Frequent breaks, which are only available in a few cases, might not be sufficient. As is the case with CTS, time off might be the only effective remedy. Once these employees return to work, they might need accommodations, such as special eyeglasses, so they can continue to do their jobs.
Occupational disease victims usually have legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Louis, contact Schultz & Myers, Personal Injury Lawyers. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.