Occupational Disease Claims, What Are They? Are They Covered As Work Injuries?

May 31, 2023 | Claims Process

Occupational Disease Claims, what are they? Are they covered as a work injury? – There are 2 types of injuries under Workers’ Compensation in Colorado, the first ones are accidents and the other ones are called occupational diseases.

What is an occupational disease?

An occupational disease is a problem, condition, or injury that you have as a result of your employment, but not because something specific happened, like a trip and fall. Typically, they tend to be things that happen over time without you necessarily knowing about them.

A classic example of an occupational disease is mold in the building, causing respiratory issues. Another example would be if you have been doing heavy lifting your entire life, and over time it gets harder and harder, and pretty soon you’re not even able to recuperate after the weekend. You’re hurting because you’ve been doing a lifetime of heavy lifting.

A lot of times people don’t understand that an occupational disease is also covered under Workers’ Compensation. It doesn’t just have to be an accident, it can also include the wear and tear on your body or something that happened but you’re not sure when. For example, when you do not know when you were exposed to mold or a virus, but you were, and therefore it’s covered.

How to report this type of Work Comp claim?

It can be tricky, for example, when is your date of injury? The day you first lifted a heavy box? Or the thousandth time you did it five years into the job?

Typically, what we use for the date of injury, is the date you first went to a doctor because you were hurting, or, for example, having trouble breathing. The date of injury will be the date when you first saw medical care for this condition.

Why are they asking about my off-the-clock activities?

If you have an occupational disease claim you need to be prepared to disclose what you’re doing off the clock because the insurance company will want to know it. They will try to find out if you might have gotten the condition by doing an activity off the job in your spare time.

Occupational diseases can be apportioned. Apportionment means that employers can try to say that not all of your condition was due to the exposure at work, meaning that they could say that 25% of your condition is due to the job, but the other 75% is due to an activity in your spare time.

That’s why it’s really important to have an experienced attorney who knows how to put into context and proper perspective the differences between doing what you do at work versus what you do in your own spare time. 

We’re here to help

If you or your loved ones have occupational disease claims or have been injured on the job in Colorado, we can help you. Call or text us at 970-356-98-98, all of our consultations are free and confidential.

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