When your job makes you sick, you may qualify for benefits from Ohio Workers’ Compensation (OWC). The state disability program makes qualifying with an occupational disease difficult, though. Preparing the workers’ comp application with the help of a Ohio silicosis lawyer who has represented many other people who grew too ill to continue working can improve the chances for receiving payments to replace lost wages and to support medical treatments and ongoing therapy.


Qualifying Conditions

OWC maintains a schedule of occupational diseases that, when accurately diagnosed and clearly linked to on-the-job exposures and activities, can qualify a person to receive workers’ comp benefits. That list includes

  • Poisoning by lead, mercury, phosphorous, arsenic, benzol and its derivatives, gasoline, benzine, naphtha, volatile petroleum products, carbon disulfide, wood alcohol, carbon dioxide, brass, zinc, manganese dioxide, radium, potassium cyanide, or sulfur dioxide
  • Asbestosis (i.e., lung disease, but not mesothelioma, from breathing in asbestosis)
  • Berylliosis (i.e., lung disease from breathing in beryllium)
  • Silicosis (i.e., lung disease from breathing in silica/sand)
  • Anthrax, which can be contracted from cattle or soil
  • Glanders, which is a livestock disease, particularly in horses, that can pass to humans
  • Tenosynovitis and prepatellar bursitis (i.e., inflammation of fluid-filled sacs around joints)
  • Chrome ulceration of the skin or nasal passages
  • Skin cancers caused by contact with or exposure to toxic and caustic substances such as carbon, pitch, tar, or tarry compounds
  • Eye cancers caused by contact with or exposure to toxic and caustic substances
  • Lung diseases caused by contact with or exposure to toxic and caustic substances
  • Infections caused by oils, cutting compounds or lubricants, dust, liquids, fumes, gases, or vapors

Generally, OWC will not consider a single exposure or isolated assignment sufficient to haves caused a disease that keeps an Ohio employee out of work for an extended period. Exceptions can be made for massive exposures like the kind that can occur during an industrial accident.

In addition to the scheduled conditions, the OWC will consider awarding workers’ comp benefits to firefighters who develop lung cancer or respiratory illnesses, police officers who get diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, and anyone who has evidence of long-term exposures to the following:

  • Extreme cold
  • Extreme heat
  • Sudden changes from low temperatures to high temperatures
  • Loud noises
  • High-frequency noises
  • High atmospheric pressure
  • Steady vibrations
  • Radiation
  • Infectious organisms

A final set of conditions that may qualify for workers’ comp benefits are repetitive motion disorders. Carpal tunnel syndrome from contorting one’s hands is probably the best-known repetitive motion disorder, but a disabling condition due to constant bending, lifting and twisting can develop in any muscle group, tendon, ligament or joint.

Consulting with both an experienced occupational health physician and a knowledgeable Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer when questions exist about whether a condition will qualify is always a good idea. Acting quickly in preparing a workers’ comp application is also necessary.


Statute of Limitations

The OWC enforces a 2-year statute of limitations for filing workers’ compensation applications. The clock usually starts when symptoms force the applicant to stop working or when a diagnosis is confirmed. In the few instances when an extension of deadline for submitting a claim is granted, it only lengthens the statute of limitations by 6 months.

The application should go to OWC with as much medical evidence, personal work history, wage information, and therapy details as possible. Collaborating with an Ohio workers compensation lawyer or silicosis lawyer will help ensure that the initial application packet is as complete as possible. Partnering with a legal representative early in the process also offers the applicant a ready ally should it become necessary to appeal a denial of workers’ compensation benefits.

A free consultation with a workers comp attorney in Cleveland can be requested by filling out this online form. Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman lawyers can also be reached by phone at (800) 678-3318.