The need for workers compensation in Philadelphia is often obvious. Tragic, sudden, and all-too-common workplace accidents can leave workers and employees in Pennsylvania immediately injured and in dire need of medical attention. For many of these Philadelphia workers, the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation system serves as a “safety net,” covering medical expenses and lost wages, helping them recover and remain financially protected as they do so. But many serious medical conditions, many of which can be proven to have been caused by workplace conditions and thus eligible for workers compensation insurance benefits in Philadelphia, are less obvious.
Acute Injury & Occupational Disease In Philadelphia Workers Comp Law
In medicine, injuries that are immediately caused by a work-related accident are considered “acute” injuries. “Acute” injuries may also be referred to as “traumatic” injuries by a workers comp lawyer. Common work-related accidents that result in acute injury include:
Common Workers Comp Acute Injuries In Philadelphia
- Falling off scaffolding in a Pennsylvania construction site accident
- Injured in the collapse of a building in Philadelphia
- Struck by heavy machinery, like trucks and backhoes, on worksite
- Hit by falling objects in a Philadelphia warehouse
- Slip, trip, and fall in Philadelphia industrial worksite
These are the types of injuries that most of us associate with workers comp claims in Pennsylvania. “Acute” injuries are sudden, terrifying, and can often result in permanent disability.
If you or a loved one sustained an acute injury in the course of your employment in Philadelphia, visit our article “Do I Have A Workers’ Comp Claim?” to find more valuable workers compensation information that may pertain to your case. For personalized attention, contact our Philadelphia workers compensation lawyers today.
Occupational Diseases In Philadelphia
In medical terminology, the opposite of an “acute” injury is a “chronic” condition. Chronic conditions persist long after their immediate cause is gone and can have lasting, and often devastating, effects on a Philadelphia employee’s health and livelihood. For the purposes of Philadelphia workers comp law, we consider these chronic conditions to be “occupational diseases.”
Common Forms Of Occupational Disease In Philadelphia
In the rest of this article, we’ll discuss the more common occupational diseases that the Philadelphia workers comp attorneys at Disability Law Advocates Group, P.C. have seen in our decades of legal experience.
According to the American Thoracic Society, occupational asthma is defined as
“a disease characterized by variable airflow limitation and / or airway hyper-responsiveness due to causes and conditions attributable to a particular occupational environment.”
In asthma, the air passages narrow, making it difficult to breathe properly. Symptoms often include shortness of breath, wheezing, and irritation in the nose. Occupational asthma is caused by certain airborne particulates that are present on a job site or workplace.
How Do I Know If I Have Occupational Asthma?
Recognizing occupational asthma quickly is important, because a full recovery becomes less likely the longer one is exposed to the substances causing it. So how do you know if you have occupational asthma? While a proper diagnosis from a medical professional is necessary, ask yourself these questions the next time you’re at work in Philadelphia:
- Have you noticed yourself coughing and wheezing, having difficulty breathing, or with a “tightness” in your chest, at work?
- Do these symptoms occur often?
- Does your difficulty breathing get worse near the end of your work day?
- Do you feel better when you’re not at work?
If you answered “yes” to some, or all, of these questions, you may be facing occupational asthma. Visit your preferred doctor immediately, describe your condition thoroughly, and tell them that you suspect it may be work-related. If a medical professional finds reason to believe that you are suffering from occupational asthma, Pennsylvania’s Workers Compensation Act was designed to protect you. Contact our workers comp attorneys to learn more about your options.
Occupational Skin Diseases
Do you work with chemicals in Philadelphia? If so, you are at a high risk for an occupational skin disease, like eczema. In fact, occupational skin diseases make up almost 50% of all cases of occupational illness, in Philadelphia and nationwide.
Dishwashers are also at high risk for occupational skin diseases because their hands are wet for extended periods of time. Other at-risk jobs include:
- Car repair
- Publishing / Printing Industry
How Do I Know If I Have An Occupational Skin Disease?
The most common form of occupational skin disease is called “contact dermatitis,” and appears as a rash wherever your skin has come into contact with a harmful substance. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you work in a hot and humid work environment?
- Do you handle potentially harmful substances?
- Does your skin become red, itchy, or “burn” when you are working?
- Do you also have symptoms of occupational asthma?
- Do these symptoms decrease in severity when you are at home?
If you said “yes” to most of these questions, seek immediate medical treatment. In the event that you receive a positive diagnosis, find an experienced workers compensation attorney in Philadelphia who can guide you through your choices.
Repetitive Strain Injuries
While technically considered “cumulative” injuries, repetitive strain (or stress) injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome are caused by performing repetitive motions and therefore develop over time. Construction workers operating equipment that vibrates are particularly at risk for repetitive strain injuries. Employees in Philadelphia who type on computers for long periods of time are also at risk.
How Do I Know If I Have A Repetitive Stress Injury?
Repetitive strain injuries can result in severe pain, and sometimes, the loss of a limb’s full use. Do you present the following symptoms of a repetitive stress injury?
- Do you feel numbness, tingling, or burning in your thumbs and fingers?
- Does this pain extend to your wrists?
- Do your hands feel weak?
If you suspect that you are suffering from a repetitive stress injury, visit a medical professional as soon as possible.
Where Are Occupational Diseases Most Common?
Because their employment often includes handling dangerous chemicals, Pennsylvania workers in manufacturing plants, oil refineries, the petroleum industry, and chemical processing plants see a higher incidence of occupational disease.
Other chronic occupational conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome and computer vision syndrome, are common among workers in the information technology industry.
Does Philadelphia Workers Comp Cover Occupational Disease?
Yes, it does. Workers in Philadelphia diagnosed with an occupational disease may be eligible to receive compensation for their medical treatment and lost wages. To successfully file a workers comp claim for an occupational disease, Pennsylvania workers must notify their employers of their condition within 120 days of becoming aware of it themselves.
Unfortunately, many Pennsylvania workers compensation insurance claims are denied. After a denial, injured employees have three years to file a Claim Petition and initiate the Appeal process. Unsure of your rights under Pennsylvania’s Workers Compensation Act? Contact the workers comp lawyers at Disability Law Advocates Group, P.C. to ensure your workers comp success!