When you think of workers' compensation claims, you might think first of sudden and unplanned accidents. Falls, slips, explosions and fires are all the type of things most people think of when they consider the possibility of being injured on the job. However, there is another type of injury that is covered under workers' compensation: injuries or illnesses that develop over time.
When possibly covered injuries and illnesses develop over time, they present unique challenges to employees and claims for compensation. Some examples of issues that could develop over time that are work-related and thus may be covered under workers' compensation include a lung condition that comes from working with chemicals or in poorly ventilated environments or carpel tunnel from long hours of computer work through the years. Debilitating back issues from working in environments without proper ergonomics might also be an example of this time of injury.
A first step when faced with injury or illness that could be caused by work-related things is to seek medical assistance. Most companies have processes for reporting these issues, and many require individuals to at least be evaluated by a company-approved doctor. However, in most cases, you can seek medical assistance and opinion from a doctor of your own choice as well.
One of the challenges of such injuries or illnesses is proving that they are related to an occupation and are not just natural wear and tear on a person's body. Workers' compensation policies may also attempt to deny compensation claims by stating issues were caused by preexisting conditions, previous injuries or activities that occurred outside of work. In such cases, third-party advocacy might offer some assistance in seeking payment on a workers' compensation claim.