Imagine finding out that you have developed cancer or leukemia. When you try to figure out how you contracted the illness, you come to the conclusion that something at your work increased your risk of developing the medical condition. Now you have expenses for treatments and medications that are only growing because of your inability to return to work. What can you do?
When an employee contracts an illness because of working conditions, that employee can seek workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are intended to help injured or ill workers with related costs until they can return to work. But sometimes getting these benefits can prove to be a challenge.
When workers and their family members try to attain workers' compensation benefits, an investigation is opened to determine whether the illness or injury was work-related. Often investigators will see whether there are any health risks or safety violations in the work environment that the employer should have been aware of.
Sometimes the company or business can make things more difficult by refusing to publicize pertinent information. In some instances, an internal investigation can come to the conclusion that there is no evidence linking the illness or injury to the work environment but not given any supporting data.
This can be especially frustrating for an injured or ill worker trying to get workers' compensation benefits. Even if a worker does get these benefits, the employer can still appeal the decision if it believes that the injury or illness was not work-related.
There can be a lot of frustration surrounding a situation like this. Being forced to deal with a serious illness like cancer can affect an individual for the rest of his or her life. If you have been injured in a work-related accident or believe your medical condition was brought on by your work environment, it can be beneficial to speak with someone who understands workers' compensation. Money can't restore you to your previous health, but it can help relieve some of the financial stress you could be facing and allow you to focus on recovering.
Source: CNN International online, "Study: No health risks at Samsung semiconductor factories," Jiyeon Lee, 14 July 2011