Some occupations place employees at risk of contracting certain illnesses due to the nature of their work. The job duties in these occupations expose workers to conditions or materials that put them at a greater risk of specific illnesses than the public at large. When they are determined to be work-related, these illnesses may be classified as occupational diseases.
Occupational Diseases Develop Over Time
Occupational diseases differ from more common workplace injuries in that they typically require repeated or continual exposure before any symptoms appear. Consequently, you may not know right away that you’ve contracted a disease for which you are eligible for compensation. That’s an important consideration because, per Georgia law, occupational disease is covered by workers’ compensation under certain provisions, which include a statute of limitations.
According to Georgia Code § 34-9-281:
(b) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, an employer shall be liable for compensation under this article only where:
(1) The disease arose out of and in the course of the employment in which the employee was engaged under such employer, was contracted while the employee was so engaged, and has resulted from a hazard characteristic of the employment in excess of the hazards of such disease attending employment in general; and
(2) The claim for disablement is filed within one year after the date the employee knew or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the disablement and its relationship to the employment; but in no event shall the claim for disablement be filed in excess of seven years after the last injurious exposure to the hazard of such disease in such employment; provided, however, that an employee with asbestosis or mesothelioma related to exposure to asbestos shall have one year from the date of first disablement after diagnosis of such disease to file a claim for disablement. In cases of death where the cause of action was not barred during the employee’s life, the claim must be filed within one year of the date of death.
Know If You’re Covered, Consult an Experienced Lawyer
If you are suffering from an occupational disease, or are unsure whether your illness may be classified as such, we can help. At the Fry Law Firm, you will find an experienced legal team dedicated to fighting for your rights in Atlanta, GA. Dealing with a debilitating illness and lost wages is hardship enough. Don’t risk losing your opportunity for compensation by going it alone. Let us do the work of getting a just outcome for you. We have years of litigation experience in cases like yours. In the Atlanta area, contact us today for a free consultation.