It started with a little shortness of breath. But now you always feel that you’re overcome with weakness, battling a harsh cough and fighting off chest pain. It may all be because you picked up one of the deadliest diseases in the world at work. But without taking the proper steps, it’s not likely you’ll get the help you need from workers’ compensation.
Policies never provide coverage for 95% of ultimately-fatal occupational diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This massive shortcoming is typically due to the difficulty of linking the consequences of long-term exposure to your occupation. The answer to your compensation questions may rest with your physician, who could probably use a hand for orientation.
If you suspect that you’re hurting because of an obstructive lung disease, it may be up to you to set your physician on the proper course. 63% of adults with COPD are undiagnosed, often because physicians focus solely on the symptoms and not on underlying causes. Fill them in on the vapors, fumes and dust that are commonplace at your work.
Once your doctor has the right diagnosis, make sure they’re approaching your medical charts from a workers’ compensation angle, to provide a frame of reference for your application for benefits. Reporting your disease through the lens of pollutants that inhabit your place of employment could give you a leg up in your claim.
Making your way into the limited few that get their occupational disease covered by workers’ comp can be a long and narrow road. Working with your doctor to get the results you need could make all the difference.