An occupational disease is any chronic ailment that occurs as a result of conditions at work or because of an occupational activity. Occupational diseases are one of the most devastating effects of exposure to dangerous chemicals, materials and other harmful substances at work, often resulting in long-term injury or life-threatening illness that extends long after a worker’s initial exposure. If you have suffered from an occupational disease because of conditions at work, contact our qualified occupational disease attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak to explore your compensation options.
Examples of Occupational Diseases in Georgia
One of the most common culprits of serious occupational diseases is asbestos, microscopic fibers that, when breathed in or swallowed, have been known to cause serious conditions like mesothelioma or asbestosis. Some common examples of occupational diseases in Georgia include the following;
- Lung cancer
Mesothelioma in particular is a deadly occupational disease that is difficult to diagnose because symptoms of the disease often mimic other conditions. Because mesothelioma can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to produce symptoms that allow a definitive diagnosis to be made, life expectancy is severely limited once the condition is actually diagnosed.
Long-Term Effects of Occupational Diseases
The term occupational disease itself describes a chronic condition that typically results in serious long-term effects and possibly even death. In addition to causing physical pain and disability, some occupational diseases prevent employees from returning to work, subjecting them to devastating loss of income on top of costly medical bills. In some cases, victims of occupational diseases may be unable to perform everyday tasks, care for themselves, or even enjoy life as they normally would. Fortunately, workers’ compensation laws were established in Georgia and across the U.S. to protect the rights of workers who are injured or become ill on the job.
Pursuing Compensation for Occupational Diseases in Atlanta
According to OCGA Section 34-9-280(2), “Occupational disease” means those diseases which arise out of and in the course of the particular trade, occupation, process, or employment in which the employee is exposed to such disease, provided the employee or the employee’s dependents first prove to the satisfaction of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation all of the following:
- A direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the disease
- That the disease followed as a natural incident of exposure by reason of the employment;
- That the disease is not of a character to which the employee may have had substantial exposure outside of the employment;
- That the disease is not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed;
- That the disease must appear to have had its origin in a risk connected with the employment and to have flowed from that source as a natural consequence.
An occupational disease is usually identified when it appears to be more prevalent in a certain body of workers than in the general population, or in other worker populations. For example, asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was commonly used in cement, insulation and fabric. Although asbestos use has been dramatically reduced in the past few decades, more than 75 different industries in America have been known to expose workers to dangerous asbestos, possibly putting them at risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestosis. If you have suffered from an occupational disease like mesothelioma or asbestosis, you may have grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim for medical benefits.
Georgia Occupational Disease Attorneys Can Help
According to national statistics, of the 6,331 work-related fatalities that occurred each year in the United States between 1992 and 1997, 596 were caused by exposure to harmful substances or environments. If you or a loved one has suffered from an occupational disease caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals, materials or substances, contact our qualified occupational disease lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak as soon as possible. Our law firm is located in Atlanta, and our attorneys have years of experience helping victims of occupational diseases in Georgia pursue the financial compensation they deserve. With the help of our occupational disease lawyers, victims of mesothelioma and other occupational diseases in Marietta can protect their legal rights and seek fair and timely reimbursement for their injuries.