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Workplace illnesses may be covered by workers' compensation

The typical workers' compensation award among workers in New York City is usually seen as a traumatic impact event. A worker gets in a vehicular accident, someone falls from a ladder or a runaway forklift crushes a worker -- to name a few examples. However, modern workers' compensation statutes may also cover some disabling workplace illnesses. These cases are not typical, and they may require extra attention in documenting and proving the work-related causation that is at play. 

For example, a workplace that is crowded and has poor ventilation may facilitate the spread of infection. Such illnesses will not become workers' compensation issues unless an unusually gruesome strain of a highly disabling infection is involved. Other types of illnesses and conditions that are common at work include the contraction of back problems.

Not strictly an illness, this category contains many of the types of injuries that can be caused by trauma at work. These include torn tendons, herniated discs and severe strains and sprains caused by heavy lifting or bending awkwardly. Where back pain develops but no distinct event occurs at work, such as a lifting accident, it may be difficult to pinpoint the cause of the back condition. If the worker believes that the back pain is work-related, he or she will be best served by consulting with an experienced workers' compensation attorney at the earliest moment.

This will help determine the nature of the claim, if any, and will define the approach that the worker must take to protect his or her rights. Some other types of workplace illnesses and conditions that may have work origins are headaches, respiratory difficulties, asbestos poisoning and other types of lung diseases and conditions caused by ingesting poisonous substances over a long period of time. These conditions are commonly seen in New York City workers who are engaged in jobs where the work environment carries certain risks associated with chemicals and poisonous substances or byproducts.  

Source: health24.com, "5 health conditions you can pick up at the office", Aug. 7, 2017

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