Understanding Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Diseases in Maryland

Understanding Workers' Compensation for Occupational Diseases in MarylandWorkers’ compensation provides medical treatment and wage replacement for employees who suffer injuries or illnesses arising from their employment. While many people associate workers’ compensation with immediate physical injuries caused by accidents in the workplace, it also covers occupational diseases. In Maryland, workers who develop illnesses due to workplace conditions are entitled to compensation benefits.

Occupational diseases are health conditions that result from exposure to hazards or harmful substances in the workplace environment. Unlike sudden injuries, these diseases often develop gradually over time due to repeated exposure to certain chemicals, toxins, or environmental factors present in the workplace. Examples of occupational diseases include respiratory conditions caused by exposure to asbestos, lung diseases from inhaling toxic fumes, repetitive stress injuries, and hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud noises.

In Maryland, workers who suffer from occupational diseases are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they meet certain criteria. To qualify for benefits, employees must demonstrate that their illness arose out of and in the course of their employment. This means that the disease must be directly related to conditions or exposures encountered while performing job duties. Additionally, workers must provide medical evidence linking their illness to workplace factors, such as exposure to hazardous substances or repetitive motions inherent to their job tasks.

Common occupational diseases

Occupational diseases can manifest in various forms, affecting workers across different industries and professions. In Maryland, some of the most common occupational illnesses include:

  • Respiratory conditions: Workers exposed to airborne contaminants, such as dust, asbestos fibers, or chemical fumes, may develop respiratory disorders like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or occupational lung diseases.
  • Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs): Employees engaged in repetitive tasks, such as typing, assembly line work, or heavy lifting, may experience RSIs like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or bursitis.
  • Hearing loss: Workers exposed to high levels of noise in industrial settings, construction sites, or manufacturing facilities may suffer from noise-induced hearing loss over time.
  • Dermatological disorders: Employees exposed to irritants, allergens, or hazardous substances may develop skin conditions such as contact dermatitis, eczema, or chemical burns.
  • Occupational cancers: Certain occupations involving exposure to carcinogens, such as asbestos, benzene, or radiation, increase the risk of developing cancer, including mesothelioma, leukemia, and lung cancer.

Why you need a Maryland workers’ compensation attorney

Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for occupational diseases can be challenging due to various factors. One common challenge is establishing a causal relationship between the illness and workplace exposures, especially in cases where symptoms appear gradually over time due to exposure, the working conditions, or other reasons. Additionally, employers and insurance carriers may dispute claims, arguing that the disease is unrelated to work or that the worker’s condition is pre-existing.

Another challenge is navigating the claims process, which often involves extensive paperwork, medical documentation, and proceedings before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Many injured workers may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the bureaucratic hurdles involved in pursuing their claims, leading them to drop their efforts or accept inadequate settlements. Rest assured that a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer can help.

Given the complexities and potential obstacles involved in workers’ compensation claims for occupational diseases, seeking legal representation is highly advisable when you suffer an on-the-job illness. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can provide invaluable assistance throughout the claims process, from initial filing to appeals, if necessary.

At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., our workers’ compensation attorneys have a deep understanding of Maryland’s workers’ compensation laws and regulations, as well as the procedural requirements and deadlines associated with filing claims. We can help you gather relevant evidence, obtain medical opinions from qualified experts, and build a compelling case to support your claims for benefits.

Moreover, we can advocate on your behalf during negotiations with insurance carriers or representation at hearings before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. We can challenge denials, appeal unfavorable decisions, and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the legal proceedings.

The Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. are here to help when you become injured or ill on the job. We work to ensure your workers’ compensation application is filled out on time and properly, and vigorously represent you during any appeals. If you’re ready to get started on your workers’ compensation claim, call our offices or fill out our contact form today. We serve clients from a variety of offices throughout Maryland.