New York Workers' Compensation: Occupational Diseases

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 26-Feb-2016

Have you experienced an illness or adverse medical condition that is directly related to your job? If so, you may have what the New York Workers’ Compensation Board refers to as an “occupational disease,” which is different than a work-related injury that is sustained during an accident.

Like accidental injuries, occupational diseases are generally covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This means that a sickened worker can receive cash benefits and medical care for an illnesses that’s directly related to their job.

In the case of an occupational disease, the worker’s claim is paid so long as the employer or their insurance carrier agrees that the worker’s illness is related to their job. If the insurance carrier or the employer disputes the worker’s claim, he or she will not receive any cash benefits until a workers’ compensation judge decides on the case.

If a worker has filed a claim and they are not receiving workers’ comp benefits because the claim is being disputed by their employer or the insurance carrier, the worker may apply for Social Security Disability benefits while they wait for a decision.

Note: If a worker receives SSDI benefits, they would be subtracted from their future workers’ compensation award.

Defining an Occupational Disease Under NY Law

Under New York’s workers’ compensation law, occupational diseases arise from the conditions that are specific to a worker’s job and their exposure. In effect, the disease must arise naturally as a result of a particular type of occupation, for example, baker’s asthma and rhinitis, one of the most common occupational respiratory disorders.

Some common occupational diseases, include:

  • Occupational lung diseases
  • Skin diseases, such as eczema and skin cancer
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lead poisoning
  • Chimney sweeps’ carcinoma
  • Coalworkers’ pneumoconiosis

If someone is diagnosed with an occupational disease and their claim is not disputed, they shall receive the same benefits as someone who suffered a work-related injury. However, they must file a claim within two years from the date of the disability, or two years from the date that the worker should have learned that their disease was occupational, whichever occurs later.

Contact a New York workers’ compensation lawyer from Katz, Leidman, Grossman, Wolfe & Freund to file a claim for compensation. All of our initial consultations are free.