Top Five Occupational Diseases in Chicago

Top Five Occupational Diseases in Chicago

Most people know workers’ compensation applies to falls and other trauma injuries sustained at work. These benefits are available for occupational diseases, as well. These conditions occur over the course of more than one work shift. 

These claims are often complex, generally because workers do not report them straight away. Most employees immediately go to the doctor when they break their arms. However, they usually do not go to the doctor at the first sign of joint pain. So, workers’ compensation insurance companies often argue that the deadline passed before the worker filed a complaint.

A variation of the discovery rule protects victims in these situations. Generally, workers need not file claims until they know the full extent of their illness and connect that illness to their work environments. So, even in delayed claim situations, a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can obtain medical bills and lost wages benefits.

Hearing Loss

This condition is one of the most common occupational diseases in Illinois. Hearing loss affects about 45 million Americans, and about a fourth of these cases are work-related. If doctors properly identify the problem early enough, hearing loss is relatively easy to treat. Today’s hearing aids are incredibly advanced. These devices only amplify sound; they do not reverse damage. So, if the ear muscles are impaired, hearing loss is usually permanent and degenerative.

Brief exposure to noises as low as 80 decibels could cause hearing loss. That noise level is the equivalent of city traffic or a lawnmower.

Back/Joint Pain

Certain occupational diseases are prominent in certain industries. Knee, back, ankle, and other pain is especially common among warehouse workers. These individuals spend much of their time kneeling, bending, reaching, and stooping. Over time, such activities wear on joints.

Frequently, warehouse workers have little or no sick time. So, when they feel joint pain, they try to power through it. As a result, their conditions deteriorate and become more difficult to treat. That is especially true with regard to back pain. If the damage is bad enough to require surgery, that is a major deal.


Frequently, cancer is a toxic exposure disease. Sometimes, the exposure is voluntary. Smoking is a good example. But in other cases, the exposure is involuntary. If that exposure happened on the job, workers’ compensation benefits might be available. Workers need not show fault or negligence to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. That is different from a civil claim against a factory or manufacturer.

These conditions often involve the aforementioned delayed reports. Cancer is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed serious illnesses. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

CTS is basically like joint pain for office workers. Excessive wrist use, typically due to typing, constricts the carpal tunnel. A bundle of nerves passes through this opening. So, if the tunnel collapses, it pinches those nerves, causing intense pain.

Generally, CTS is not that serious. However, the doctor usually prescribes a couple of weeks of complete rest and a couple of weeks of light-duty. For families who live hand to mouth, a month of lost income could be financially crippling. That is why the wage replacement benefit is so important.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Monitor eyestrain is one of the fastest-growing occupational diseases. Frequently, CVS triggers a domino effect. The eyestrain affects vision and makes it hard to sleep at night. CVS is relatively easy to prevent. But many people are on tight deadlines and must stay at their screens for several hours at a time. That is usually long enough to impair vision, especially if the monitor’s brightness is set too high.

Connect With a Dedicated Lawyer

Occupational disease victims are entitled to significant benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.