Can I Get Workers’ Comp for Asthma?
September 11, 2019
Work-related asthma is fairly common, as workers in many industries from healthcare to construction may be exposed to workplace irritants that cause the condition. In Pennsylvania, most workers are entitled to workers’ compensation for occupational illnesses under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act).
However, due to the number of possible triggers for asthma, it can be difficult to prove that the condition was caused by workplace exposure and not by other environmental pollutants. Therefore, a common question our Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers get asked is, “Can I get workers’ comp for asthma?”
Workers’ Compensation for Occupational Asthma
Generally, the answer is yes; workers with asthma may be eligible for workers’ compensation. There are many types of workers who may suffer from occupational asthma including those in transportation and warehousing, retail, and agriculture. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) data, approximately 1.9 million workers in the healthcare and social assistance industry had asthma between 2011 and 2016.
Under the Act, Pennsylvania employees are entitled to compensation for not only physical workplace injuries, but also work-related occupational illnesses. Certain occupational illnesses are specifically recognized in the Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act, such as silicosis, asbestosis, and poisoning by various toxic substances. However, employees may still be able to receive compensation even if their disease is not specifically listed.
To be compensable, an employee’s health condition must be occupationally related. Employees can prove this by showing that:
- They were exposed to the irritants due to their employment
- The illness is causally related to the employee’s industry or occupation
- The number of workers affected is substantially greater in that industry or occupation than in the general population
Pennsylvania workers may also be eligible for benefits if their pre-existing asthma was exacerbated by workplace triggers. Pre-existing conditions are compensable under the Act as long as they were aggravated by the employee’s work activities or environment.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation
Employers and their workers’ compensation insurance companies may argue that a worker’s asthma was caused by non-work-related factors, such as tobacco smoke or environmental allergens or irritants. It can therefore be challenging to prove that a worker’s asthma was indeed caused by workplace triggers. Workers who believe that their asthma may have been caused or exacerbated by their work should contact a local attorney as soon as possible for assistance with their claim.
Occupational illnesses may develop or worsen over time. It is important that workers notify their employers as soon as they have received a diagnosis. Under the current law, the illness must have occurred within 300 weeks of the employee’s last workplace exposure to be compensable. Those suffering from occupational asthma may be entitled to various types of benefits including medical expense compensation and disability, depending on the circumstances of their case.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Philadelphia for Help Obtaining Benefits for Occupational Asthma
If you believe your asthma was caused or worsened by your work duties or environment, contact a workers’ comp lawyer in Philadelphia to discuss a possible claim. At Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C., our experienced attorneys can evaluate your case and explain your legal rights and options. We represent clients in Philadelphia and throughout the state in workers’ compensation claims for all types of workplace injuries and illnesses. Complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW today to schedule a free consultation.
We proudly represent workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.