It’s a very common question in the field of workers’ compensation: Can you file a claim if you develop cancer as a result of your job? The short answer is yes. Cancer can be a work-related disease and you could be eligible for disability benefits. However, there are some things that you will need to know before you file your claim.
Defining Work-Related Cancer
Cancer can have several different work-related causes. One example may be asbestos exposure that leads to mesothelioma if you are forced to work for years in an outdated office building or you have a construction job that puts you in direct contact with hazardous, old building materials. Or, maybe you work as a firefighter or in a place where smoking is allowed (a casino, perhaps) and you develop lung cancer after inhaling second-hand smoke. These instances would be defined as work-related cancer. So how do you file a workers’ compensation claim if this happens to you?
Proving Illness Happened on the Job
The challenge with claiming cancer as a job-related illness is that it is generally a slowly developing disease and not a work-related accident like most other workers’ comp situations. It is treated similarly as a long-term injury such as repetitive stress disorder, carpal tunnel, etc. Yet, because cancer is a very serious and deadly disease, it is also much more expensive for an employer or insurer to pay for medical bills or death benefits. Therefore, it will be highly scrutinized by claims adjusters.
A reputable doctor must provide his or her opinion and reasonable proof that the patient was at an increased risk of developing a major disease such as cancer. This risk must show that your job was a direct factor and put you at a greater risk than those in the general population not exposed to the same work environment as you.
Get the Legal Help You Need
The important thing to remember if you are filing a claim because of job-related cancer or other major illness is that you must file correctly. All your paperwork and documentation needs to be in order, including your medical information. The claim needs to be filed in a certain way per California workers’ compensation laws, and you can expect that your employer and their insurer will be ready to fight the claim.
It is absolutely crucial that you have professional help on your side to get the claim filed properly and to get the benefits you deserve. Thomas F. Martin is an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases. It is this kind of expertise that you need to get the worker’s comp benefits that you deserve. If you or a family member has developed or died from cancer as a result of specific work conditions, you are eligible for benefits. Contact the Law Office of Thomas F. Martin today.