How to Prove That an Illness is Work-Related
It isn’t always easy proving that an illness is work-related, even if you know for sure that it is. Some of the most common workplace injuries are slip and fall accidents, respiratory issues, and repetitive motion injuries or conditions. Not surprisingly, many employers are reluctant to admit fault, in an effort to avoid any financial obligation.
First, you should always notify your employer if you are injured or sick because of something in your workplace. However, keep in mind that you may have a limited number of days to report an accident or illness to your employer, and the laws can vary by state. In Iowa, for example you have 90 days to report the incident. Reporting it sooner rather than later also means the incident is fresh in your mind, and you are more likely to have an accurate recollection of events, any witnesses and anything else relevant.
Obtaining expert medical testimony is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of winning your case. Testimony from a medical professional is much more convincing and carries more weight; the testimony can also address the extent of your injury or illness and its long term effects. And if you require therapy, counseling or other long term treatment as a result of your injury, it’s important to keep all the relevant paperwork, receipts and anything else that can later help to substantiate your case.
It’s also important to get the testimony of other witnesses wherever possible, and to document the cause of your illness as thoroughly as possible. For example, if recurring knee problems were caused by tripping on an uneven surface, you should take photos of the environment, and talk to other employees who may have experienced the same issue. In a large workplace, the chances are high that someone else is suffering from the same illness or condition as you, and with the same cause. A well known example is mesothelioma; it’s common for many employees in the same workplace to have this condition because of prolonged asbestos exposure.
An Iowa workers comp attorney can help you to prove your case of an illness caused by work, and hiring an attorney with relevant experience may be your next step if you aren’t getting anywhere by yourself. Make sure you work with someone with workers’ comp experience in your state. An attorney can help you to gather the evidence that you need and can present your case in a more convincing way, by collecting medical evidence, records of previous accidents or illness, and talking to reliable witnesses. There may also be security footage at your workplace of the incident, or similar incidents that can help your case.