One of the most pervasive and common misconceptions about workers’ compensation benefits is that they are only available to those who suffer a workplace injury. Quite a few people mistakenly believe that only accidents on the job give workers the right to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits.

However, Pennsylvania’s worker compensation program also extends coverage to workers who develop work-related illnesses, as required by federal laws. Workplace-acquired illnesses can range from mesothelioma in industrial workers who were exposed to asbestos to other forms of cancer and severe illnesses that result from environmental toxins or pathogen exposure on the job.

Work-acquired illnesses come from many sources.

Someone else’s bodily fluids could expose you to a virus, prion or bacteria that could result in severe illness. Uncontrolled exposure to environmental pollution ranging from inhaled particulates to heavy metal exposure could also leave you vulnerable to serious illnesses in the future. 

The protections extended through the workers’ compensation program will include full coverage for the medical costs associated with your care. Unlike the insurance you obtained from your employer or on your own behalf, workers’ compensation health insurance does not have coinsurance, co-pay or deductibles to worry about. Workers’ compensation can also provide you with disability benefits that offset a portion of your wages for the entire time you are unable to work because of your illness.

You have protection for your medical costs and lost wages.

Whether you develop cancer because of environmental contamination at your workplace or acquired a serious illness through your exposure to some toxin or pathogen, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim