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Illinois workers' compensation: Occupational diseases

Every day, millions of Illinois residents get up, go to work and hope they make it through their shifts without incident. Unfortunately, some end up getting hurt or sick while on-the-job or as a result of their job. When an employee is injured on the job, filing for workers' compensation benefits seems to be a no brainer, but few people tend to think about applying for these benefits if they get sick. Certain occupational diseases are covered under workers' compensation.

Every state determines what it deems an occupational disease. In Illinois, an occupational disease is defined as any illness that can be directly linked to one's employment or hazardous conditions in the workplace. Generally speaking, it cannot be an illness one can easily get outside of work -- such as a cold or the flu.

Occupational diseases tend to happen slowly over time. As this is the case, the time frame for filing worker's compensation benefits for such injuries is different than filing for relief following a workplace accident. Claims may be filed when symptoms first appear, even if it is years after exposure. However, once symptoms are noted, the clock starts ticking, and one only has so much time to file a workers' comp claim. Waiting too long will result in claims being denied.

Sadly, workers' comp insurance providers will do what they can to pay out as little as possible or deny claims. Illinois residents who are not sure if their illnesses are considered occupational diseases and qualify for workers' compensation benefits can turn to legal counsel for guidance. If one's illness meets the state's definition of an occupational disease, assistance seeking maximum relief can be provided.

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