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Understanding occupational diseases

Workers in New York should be aware of occupational diseases and how they play a role in workers' compensation claims. Individuals should understand how incidents can occur and what actions the injured victim should take if exposed.

According to the World Health Organization, diseases related to work can have numerous causes, and include risk factors associated with certain work environments. The WHO reports that incidents can occur from carcinogens, airborne pathogens, noise, ergonomic issues and injuries contracted primarily from working conditions. Some of the goals of the World Health Organization are to improve diagnostic abilities by healthcare providers and improve their reporting capabilities.

The New York State Workers' Compensation Board defines occupational disease as one that results from a natural incident of certain occupations. Workers who are disabled due to a work-related disease have a limited amount of time to file a claim. The time limit is two years after the victim determined the disease was caused by the work environment or two years from the worker's disability date, whichever comes later.

The time limit is different for workers who suffered hearing loss from a work-related harmful noise. The person must wait three months before filing a claim, and this time period can be after either the removal of the employee or voluntary leave due to exposure to the noise. The same two-year limit applies, although there are instances in which filing beyond two years is still valid. A judge must make the specific call about disablement dates and access to benefits. 

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Success Stories

  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
  • The estate of a 64 year old woman received a settlement of $425,000.00 after she was struck and killed by a speeding tractor trailer while crossing the street at the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Port Richmond Avenue.
  • A $1,200,000.00 settlement was reached on behalf of a 54 year old man from Staten Island, New York, who, while in the course of his employment as a bus driver, was rear-ended on the Garden State Parkway and caused to suffer injuries to his back and neck as well as a fractured rib and fractured pelvis.
  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
  • The administrator of the estate of a 69 year old man who suffered stage four pressure sores while a patient at a Queens nursing home settled the case for $400,000.00 after the man died.
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Phone: 347-201-4447
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