Occupational Disease Lawyers
The workers’ compensation system provides compensation to workers who suffer occupational diseases, which are medical conditions caused by repetitive motion or repetitive exposure at work. If you have an occupational disease, the attorneys at Robinson & Kole can help you navigate the complex system for receiving L&I benefits. From our Bellingham office, our occupational disease lawyers help clients throughout the State of Washington. For our Spanish-speaking clients, our bilingual team members make it easy to work with us.
Robinson & Kole has been devoted to helping clients recover compensation for workplace diseases and injuries for more than 40 years. All five of our lawyers are successful trial attorneys with extensive courtroom experience, who have the knowledge and skills to guide you through the L&I claim process. Our attorneys work together on case strategy and problem solving, so you benefit from the collective experience of our legal team that represents more than 100 years of handling workers’ compensation claims.
Occupational Disease Claims in Washington State
In the context of Washington State workers’ compensation, an occupational disease is a medical condition related to employment that develops over time, rather than by an accident or traumatic event like an on-the-job injury. Complex legal criteria apply to an occupational disease determination. Representation by an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is crucial for receiving the full benefits provided in the law. If you attempt to make an occupational disease claim without legal counsel, you run a substantial risk of having your claim disputed or denied.
An occupational disease is a medical condition that “arises naturally and proximately” out of employment. The condition may result from repetitive motion or repetitive exposure to a substance or condition. It may be a new medical issue or may involve worsening of a preexisting condition. A physician’s opinion, supported by objective medical findings, is required to support an occupational disease claim for L&I.
Examples of occupational diseases include conditions from repetitive motions at a job, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and joint, shoulder, or back problems. Respiratory disease, cancer, and hearing and vision loss are also examples of occupational diseases when they are caused by the work environment.
Criteria for an Occupational Disease
To succeed in an occupational disease claim, the worker must demonstrate that the condition arose out of employment, rather than as the result of everyday conditions or characteristics that apply to any job. The medical condition must be caused by or aggravated by distinctive conditions of the worker’s employment, such as continuous and specific activity necessary to doing the job or exposure to a substance or condition that is inherently part of the job. Proving that the medical condition arose naturally and proximately out of employment can be one of the primary challenges in making a claim for an occupational disease.
An occupational disease has no specific date of injury, because it arises over time. The date associated with an occupational disease is the date of manifestation, which can be difficult to determine, but can have a significant impact on the amount of your L&I benefits. When you get help from our occupational disease lawyers, your attorney makes certain that all relevant factors are taken into account in determining the date of manifestation.
The statute of limitations for filing an occupational disease claim is two years. However, in most cases, the two-year period does not begin until a physician or nurse practitioner provides written notice to the worker of the existence of the disease, along with notice that a claim for L&I benefits may be filed. If you receive this type of notice from a medical professional, you should talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer at the soonest opportunity.
Many occupational disease claims are denied by L&I because the claimant does not demonstrate the necessary legal criteria. The best way to ensure that your occupational disease claim meets the established criteria and follows the proper process is to get assistance from a legal professional. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Robinson & Kole have more than four decades of experience assisting workers with occupational disease claims. Our attorneys know and understand the legal criteria and the process for establishing the basis of an occupational disease claim. Your lawyer will answer all your questions, address all your concerns, and guide you through the entire process, every step of the way.
Occupational Disease Benefits
L&I benefits for an occupational disease are the same as the benefits for a work injury. They include:
- Medical treatment
- Wage replacement benefits (time loss compensation)
- Retraining during recovery
- Permanent partial disability award
- Lifetime disability pension
- Death benefits
If you have an occupational disease, your benefits depend on the specific circumstances of the medical condition and your ability to return to work. Our lawyers at Robinson & Kole have the experience, knowledge, and skills to advocate aggressively on your behalf. Our goal is always to help you obtain the best outcome based on your needs.
Free Consultation with a Washington Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
From our office in Bellingham, our Robinson & Kole workers’ compensation attorneys help clients throughout the State of Washington. If you have an L&I claim for an occupational disease, your claim for benefits was denied, or your employer or L&I disputes your claim, we welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or using our online contact form. Se habla Español.