Occupational diseases are not uncommon in Florida, as they can affect workers in various industries, such as healthcare, construction, and manufacturing.
According to the Florida Department of Health, there were over 6,000 cases of occupational diseases reported in the state in 2019. This includes conditions such as respiratory diseases, skin disorders, and hearing loss.
Can You Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Occupational Diseases?
In Florida, workers’ compensation benefits are available for employees who suffer from an occupational disease due to their job. The state’s workers’ compensation system provides medical treatment, wage replacement, and other benefits to eligible workers who are injured or become ill due to their work-related activities.
To recover workers’ compensation benefits for an occupational disease, you must report the illness to your employer immediately and file a workers’ compensation claim. It’s important to seek legal guidance from an attorney who can help you navigate the complex workers’ compensation system and ensure your rights are protected.
Common Types of Occupational Diseases in Florida Workplaces
Depending on the industry and occupation, several types of occupational diseases are common in Florida.
Some of the most prevalent occupational diseases in Florida include:
- Respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and silicosis, which can affect workers in construction, mining, and manufacturing.
- Skin disorders, such as contact dermatitis and skin cancer, can affect healthcare, agriculture, and construction workers.
- Hearing loss can affect workers in manufacturing, construction, and other industries with high noise levels.
- Musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries, can affect workers in various industries, including healthcare and manual labor.
- Infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and tuberculosis, can affect healthcare workers, first responders, and others exposed to infected individuals.
- Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can affect workers in high-stress environments such as healthcare, law enforcement, and emergency services.
- Infectious diseases related to mosquito and tick bites, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, can affect outdoor workers such as landscapers, park rangers, and construction workers.
- Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can affect outdoor workers in Florida’s hot and humid climate.
- Cancer, which can be caused by exposure to carcinogenic substances such as asbestos, benzene, and radon, can affect workers in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, and healthcare.
It’s important for workers to be aware of the risks associated with their job and to take necessary precautions to protect themselves from occupational diseases.
How to File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits for an Occupational Disease
If you have been diagnosed with an occupational disease, taking immediate action to protect your rights and file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is important. Here are the steps to follow to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for occupational disease in Florida:
Report the Illness to Your Employer
Notify your employer as soon as possible after receiving a diagnosis of an occupational disease. Provide details about the disease and how it relates to your job duties.
Seek Medical Attention
Get medical treatment for your occupational disease from a qualified healthcare provider. Follow all treatment recommendations and keep copies of all medical records related to your illness.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Submit a workers’ compensation claim with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) within 30 days of diagnosis. You can do this online or by filing a paper form.
Attend all Necessary Hearings and Appointments
Attend all hearings and appointments related to your workers’ compensation claim, including medical exams and hearings, before the DWC.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Consider contacting an attorney who can help you navigate the workers’ compensation system, ensure your rights are protected, and help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
It’s important to act quickly and follow all necessary steps to ensure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to for your occupational disease.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Offered for Occupational Diseases
In Florida, workers’ compensation benefits for occupational diseases include medical benefits, wage replacement, and disability benefits. Here are the types of workers’ compensation benefits that may be available for occupational diseases in Florida:
Workers’ compensation provides medical benefits to cover the cost of medical treatment related to your occupational disease. This can include doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medication, and other medical services deemed necessary by a qualified healthcare provider.
Wage Replacement Benefits
You may be entitled to wage replacement benefits if you cannot work due to your occupational disease. This can include temporary total disability benefits, which provide a portion of your lost wages while you are unable to work, or permanent total disability benefits, which provide ongoing wage replacement if you are permanently unable to work.
Some workers are entitled to impairment benefits if their occupational disease results in a permanent impairment. These benefits are designed to compensate for any permanent physical or mental impairment caused by the occupational disease.
If an occupational disease results in the death of a worker, the worker’s dependents may be entitled to death benefits. This can include payment for funeral expenses and ongoing wage replacement benefits for eligible dependents.
The amount of workers’ compensation benefits you may receive for occupational disease in Florida depends on several factors, including the severity of your illness, the extent of your disability, and your average weekly wage before becoming ill.
Maximum Benefits for Occupational Diseases in Florida
In Florida, the maximum benefits offered for occupational diseases depend on the type and severity of the illness and the worker’s average weekly wage before becoming ill.
The Florida workers’ compensation system caps the weekly benefits at a certain percentage of the statewide average weekly wage. For example, as of 2023, the maximum weekly benefit for temporary total disability is $971, while the maximum for permanent total disability is $971.
The maximum amount of benefits that can be received for an occupational disease in Florida varies based on the specific circumstances of the case, including the worker’s age, the severity of the illness, and other factors. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your specific benefits and ensure that you receive the maximum benefits available for your occupational disease.
Contact Sternberg | Forsythe, PA, for Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have been diagnosed with an occupational disease, taking immediate action to protect your rights and file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is important. Sternberg | Forsythe, PA, is dedicated to helping individuals who have been injured on the job, and their team of experienced attorneys is committed to providing personalized attention and guidance throughout the entire process.
They understand the complexities of the workers’ compensation system and are dedicated to ensuring their clients receive the benefits and compensation they are entitled to. Contact Sternberg | Forsythe, PA, to schedule a consultation and get the help you need with your workers’ compensation claim.