An injured worker must prove that his or her work was the prevailing factor in causing the occupational illness and the resulting disability.
An occupational disease is a health condition or illness caused by exposure at the workplace. In order to receive workers' compensation benefits for an occupational illness, the worker must prove that his or her work was the prevailing factor in causing the occupational illness and the resulting disability.
Common Types of Occupational Illnesses
Common types of occupational illnesses covered by Missouri workers' compensation law include:
- Repetitive stress injuries, which are caused by repetitive and prolonged motion of a certain set of muscles. Examples are trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Radiation disability resulting from exposure to radiation at the workplace.
- Hearing loss because of industrial noise.
This list of occupational illnesses covered under workers compensation system is far from exhaustive. If you suspect that the medical condition you are suffering from is an occupational illness, follow these steps:
- Notify your employer about the occupational illness.
- Get medical attention for your illness.
- Consult a Missouri workers' compensation lawyer to sort out any legal issues involved in the claim.
The Missouri workers' compensation system provides additional benefits for occupational illnesses caused by toxic exposure. It includes additional permanent total disability benefits and death benefits. Starting January 01, 2014, the Missouri workers compensation system provides additional weekly disability payments if the worker proves that he or she is permanently and totally disabled due to an occupational illness caused by toxic exposure at the workplace. The covered occupational illnesses are asbestosis, mesothelioma, coal worker's pneumoconiosis, berylliosis, obliterans, brochiolitis, silicosis, manganism, silicotuberculosis, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute myelogenous leukemia.
Workers who have suffered an occupational illness caused by toxic exposure that resulted in permanent total disability and filed a claim on or after January 1, 2014 may be entitled to the following benefits:
- The amount due to an injured worker during his or her life based on an award of permanent total disability and death. However, the permanent total disability and death benefits are paid only after the enhanced benefits have been exhausted.
- Enhanced workers' compensation benefit for occupational illness caused by toxic exposure except mesothelioma amounts to 200% of the state average weekly wage for 100 weeks, as of the date of diagnosis.
- Enhanced benefit for mesothelioma equates to 300% of the state average weekly wage for 212 weeks.
Benefits Paid In Behalf of Deceased Workers
If the worker dies before additional benefits have been paid, these benefits will be paid to the worker’s spouse or children. These benefits would be provided in addition to the death benefits under §287.240. In case the deceased worker has no surviving children or spouse, and the worker has not received full additional benefits, the remaining amount will be paid out to the employee’s estate in a single payment.
There are times when an injured worker's rightful benefits are denied. In such cases, it is extremely important to consult a Missouri workers' compensation attorney for legal help. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 for a free consultation.