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What’s a work-related injury or illness in Pennsylvania?

Work-related injuries or illnesses are defined by Pennsylvania state lawmakers as being any medical condition that is either caused by or worsens during the course of an individual’s employment.

Many workers mistakingly believe that either their illness or injury must have occurred while they were on their employer’s own property in order to stake a claim for workers’ compensation. This isn’t the case, though. You can file such a claim no matter where your illness or injury occurs, provided that you were in the midst of carrying out work on your employer’s behalf at the time it happened.

The Workers’ Compensation Act currently describes injuries quite broadly. Any disabling repetitive stress injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome may be compensated for. So too may a work-related injury that later becomes disabling such as a back injury.

Any spontaneous incident such as a fall is also covered. In fact, it’s one of the most common types of injuries that occurs in the workplace.

Pre-existing illnesses such as asthma that become worse during the time you’re on the job may be labeled as an occupational illness. Other types of work-related diseases that workers in Pennsylvania are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim for vary depending on an individual’s occupation.

For firefighters, who’ve been employed in that capacity for at least four years, they’re eligible to file a claim for any lung or heart conditions they may develop. Health care workers who are exposed to bloodborne illnesses including hepatitis or other contagious ones like tuberculosis may also qualify to file workers’ compensation claims for any diseases they contract from patients.

Miners who develop either silicosis or pneumoconiosis after having been exposed to coal dust may also be able to file workers’ compensation claims. The same logic applies in the case of those working in professions where they either are regularly exposed to or otherwise have contact with chemicals including mercury, lead or arsenic.

If you’ve developed an illness that you believe can be attributed to either your profession or specific place of work, then a Dauphin attorney can advise you of your right to file a workers’ compensation claim in your case.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, “What is work related injury and occupational disease,” accessed May 15, 2018

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