In previous posts, we’ve been discussing the “by accident” requirement. As we’ve said, the by accident requirement generally excludes coverage for injuries which occur gradually and injuries which occur as part of the ordinary course of work and not as part of a separate event deemed an accident.
We’ve already mentioned back injuries and hernias as one important exception to the by accident requirement. The other major exception is for occupational diseases. As we noted, an occupational disease is a disease arising from causes and conditions characteristic of a specific occupation or employment. Such injuries typically occur regularly or frequently over time.
The compensability of specific occupational diseases is determined by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act enumerates 29 different diseases, many of which are forms of chemical poisoning. The list also includes some things like blisters due to use of tools or appliances, loss of hearing caused by harmful noise in the employment, and infection or adverse reaction due to smallpox vaccination. One common characteristic of these conditions is that the public does not have equal exposure to these conditions outside certain types of employment.
In filing a claim based on an occupational disease, it is important for a worker to have his or her condition fully documented to establish the existence of the condition and its compensability. This is especially important for hearing loss, the compensability of which is determined by a number of rules detailed in state law.
Getting a workplace injury covered by workers’ compensation benefits is important for workers who have been seriously injured or adversely affected in the course of employment. Working with an experienced legal advocate can help ensure that an injured worker puts together the best possible claim and effectively deals with any hurdles that come up in the claims process.