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Are Occupational Diseases Covered By Florida Workers’ Compensation?

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When people think about workers’ compensation, they generally think of workplace accidents and other job-related injuries. However, many people do not realize that occupational diseases are also covered by workers’ compensation in Florida.

If you developed a job-related illness or occupational disease at work, consult with a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney to determine whether or not you can seek benefits for your job-related illness or disease.

What Are Occupational Diseases?

Under Fla. Stat. § 440.151, occupational disease is referred to as a disease developed due to conditions “characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation, process, or employment.”

A disease is not considered “occupational” if the general public is exposed to the illness. An illness can be considered occupational and job-related if a specific occupation, trade, or employment has a higher prevalence of the disease.

Often, an occupational disease is the result of a worker’s exposure to chemicals and toxic substances or repetitive motions at work. Examples of occupational diseases include:

  • Tendonitis
  • Hearing loss
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Rhinitis
  • Toxic inhalation injury
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

If you are not sure whether or not your illness meets the definition of an occupational disease, speak with an attorney to discuss your particular case.

What Occupational Diseases Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, employers are legally required to provide compensation to employees who develop illnesses or get injured in the scope and course of their employment.

Thus, in order to seek compensation for your occupational disease in Florida, you need to prove that the disease was the direct result of your employment. For this reason, you may need to present strong medical evidence to prove that your occupational disease is eligible for workers’ compensation.

Your attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to prove that your job was the major contributing cause to your illness or disease. Evidence that can help you prove that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits may include diagnostic exams, medical reports, and others.

What Diseases Are NOT Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

While most diseases that a worker develops in the scope and course of their employment are eligible for workers’ compensation, some are not covered. Your occupational disease may not be covered by workers’ compensation if any of the following is true:

  • You misrepresented or lied about your existing occupational disease, including not disclosing the fact that you were previously disabled or compensated for the disease.
  • You have a pre-existing illness or disease that is not related to your employment, and your job is not the major contributing cause of your aggravated occupational disease.

It may be confusing trying to figure out whether or not your disease qualifies for workers’ compensation in Florida. For this reason, it is a good idea to speak with a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your particular case and determine whether you can obtain benefits for your occupational disease. Contact our lawyer at Kobal Law for a case review. Call 813-873-2440.

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