The question is straightforward, but the answer can sometimes be complicated. To start with, an occupational disease is an illness that develops from repeated exposure to toxic substances or harmful conditions.

If you’re working in Columbus and your job involves repeated exposure to dust, gases, chemicals or fumes that over time cause a harmful effect, you might well be able to successfully file an occupational disease claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

As you might expect, the process is complicated. First, you have to demonstrate that there is a causal relationship between the exposure and the illness. That is, that your repeated exposure to toxic substances or harmful conditions did, in fact, cause your illness. You also need to have your medical condition confirmed by a doctor, the BWC says.

Occupational diseases can be triggered by more than repeated exposure to toxic substances, however. They can also be caused by exposure to dust, physical vibrations, constant pressure, radioactive rays and radiation, infections, extreme changes in temperatures and exposure to extreme noise, among others.

A worker suffering from an illness or disease caused by his or her occupation must file a workers’ comp claim within two years after any disability due to the disease began. The harsh reality is that a failure to file a claim in a timely manner can result in a denial of benefits that include medical care and wage replacement.

That’s why it’s so important for workers to have the assistance of a Columbus attorney experienced in all the elements of filing and appealing an occupational disease claim. Time, legal knowledge and workers’ comp system experience are all critical components of a successful claim.