While most people intuitively understand what a workplace injury is, many people do not understand what constitutes an occupational disease. Without delving into the intricacies of the exact legal definition, an injury is basically a sudden, tangible event at a specific time and place. An occupational disease, on the other hand, is best thought of as a repetitive stress injury, which only occurs from exposure over some period of time.
What is an Occupational Disease
An occupational disease occurs when a worker is repeatedly exposed to some form of injurious action or item in the workplace. There are several elements you must establish to successfully prove an occupational disease claim in Washington State. While this is not a comprehensive guide, basically a worker must establish that the repeated exposure which caused the condition arose naturally out of the distinctive conditions of the worker's duties.
This summary is intended only as a basic guide to provide a simple understanding of occupational diseases, and is not intended to provide legal advice. Reading this summary cannot replace a consultation with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. In fact, because an occupational disease is a much more discreet than an industrial injury, it is often necessary to seek the assistance of an attorney to get your occupational disease claim accepted. If you believe you have an occupational disease, I recommend you speak with an experienced attorney who can review the specific facts of your case with you.
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