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Can you receive workers' compensation for respiratory diseases?

As a construction worker, you may handle dangerous or toxic materials while on the job. Through no fault of your own, you may inhale or ingest their residue. Exposure to these hazardous substances can cause a variety of respiratory diseases. These conditions put your livelihood - and life - at risk. If you've developed a respiratory disease from your work, you may qualify for workers' compensation benefits.

The challenges of receiving benefits

Several barriers exist between employees and workers' compensation benefits. Employers and insurance companies may question whether you had a preexisting lung condition. And if you engaged in any behaviors - like smoking - that cause respiratory diseases, they may use this information against you, too. Furthermore, North Carolina law stipulates that workers have two years after their date of injury to make a claim. If your symptoms appeared over time, your filing timeline might face scrutiny. Yet, if your claim faces rejection, you can request a hearing through the state's Industrial Commission. At the hearing, you will present evidence of how your condition has affected your ability to work. If the commission does not approve your claim afterward, you have up to two years to appeal its decision.

Benefits are worth fighting for

The adverse impact of respiratory diseases makes pursuing workers' compensation benefits worthwhile. This coverage pays up to two-thirds of your wages while you recover, and compensates any medical treatment you may receive. Yet, your exposure may have resulted in permanent partial disability. If your condition keeps you from working altogether, you can file for Social Security Disability Insurance. The state may also encourage you to take part in a vocational rehabilitation program. This program will train you for a new career if your condition allows you to work, but not in your former position.

While you may worry that your workers' compensation claim will face denial, it's crucial to make one. By documenting your respiratory disease, you can receive the treatment and benefits you deserve.

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301 South McDowell Street
Suite 410
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-594-4317
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