There are two categories of workers’ compensation claims: 1) claims filed because of injuries sustained in workplace accidents, and 2) claims for occupational diseases. The New York Workers’ Compensation Board defines an occupational disease as a disease that “arises from the conditions to which a specific type of worker is exposed.”
In order for the worker to receive benefits, the disease must have been produced as a natural result of a particular occupation, such as baker’s lung from being a baker, asbestosis from removing asbestos, or occupational hearing loss from constant drilling – those types of things. Of course, these are only examples. There are dozens of occupational diseases not listed.
CAN I RECEIVE THE SAME BENEFITS?
If a worker becomes disabled because of a work-related occupational disease, he or she is entitled to the same benefits as a worker who was injured in a job-related accident. The time limit for filing an occupational disease claim is the later of the two following dates:
- Two years from the date the worker became disabled, OR
- Two years from when the worker found out the disease was occupational or should have known it was a result of their employment.
“What if I didn’t lose any time from work? Does that mean I won’t be eligible for benefits?” If you have become ill because of an occupational disease, and you have not lost time from work, that doesn’t mean you aren’t disabled. If there is any question about your disability and occupational disease, a workers’ compensation law judge will have to review the facts of your case to determine if you’re eligible for benefits.
DIFFERENT LIMITS FOR OCCUPATIONAL HEARING LOSS
If a worker suffers from occupational hearing loss, different waiting periods apply. If you have experienced occupational hearing loss or loss of hearing, you have a choice between these two options: 1) you can file a claim three months from the date you were removed from the harmful noise at your job, or 2) you can file a claim three months after you leave your job, where you were exposed to the harmful noise.
Whether you choose option 1 or 2 above, the last day of the three-month period is considered to be the day your disability began. You may file a workers’ compensation claim for hearing loss after the two-year deadline as long as you do it within 90 days of learning the hearing loss was related to your employment.