Long work hours, job duties that involve harmful substances, and hazardous work environments can result in various health risks, including occupational illnesses. This is where workers’ comp comes in.

Workers’ compensation offers financial benefits to people harmed on the job. Most people associate work comp claims with workplace accidents that result in obvious physical injuries, such as broken bones or lacerations. However, workers’ compensation in Nebraska also covers illnesses and diseases caused by work. 

If you are suffering from the effects of an occupational disease, do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. The skilled and compassionate legal team at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can help ensure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Call us 24/7 at (402) 241-5020 to schedule a free case consultation. 

What Is an Occupational Disease?

An occupational disease is any illness or condition associated with a particular occupation or industry. Occupational illnesses often result from exposure to chemicals, toxins, asbestos, and other hazardous substances. Other common occupational illnesses, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are caused by repetitive motions. 

Occupational diseases are typically preventable and result from poor working conditions. Employers are legally obligated to ensure their employees have a safe working environment.

Examples of Nebraska Occupational Diseases

Employees in Nebraska have a right to expect a safe and healthy work environment. Sadly, many people work in environments that expose them to harmful substances or unsafe conditions that can lead to various types of common occupational diseases. 

Work-related injuries and illnesses occur all too frequently. In 2022, US employers reported 2.8 million injury and illness cases. Occupational illnesses can range from mild to severe and even be fatal in some situations. 

Respiratory illnesses

Occupational respiratory diseases are caused by workers breathing dangerous materials into their lungs. A person may have problems breathing long after exposure to the hazardous material ends. 

Workers in industries such as mining, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing are at a higher risk of developing respiratory diseases. This is because of exposure to asbestos, silica, coal dust, pesticides, and other harmful substances. 

Work-related respiratory illnesses include:

  • Asbestosis
  • Silicosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Asthma
  • Black lung disease
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis

Skin diseases

Occupational skin diseases account for about 50 percent of all work-related illnesses. Dermatitis, chemical burns, and skin cancer are some of the most common types of occupational skin diseases. 

Occupations that commonly result in workers suffering from skin diseases include:

  • Hairdressers
  • Scientists
  • Lab technicians
  • Healthcare workers
  • Janitorial workers
  • Painters
  • Agricultural workers
  • Construction workers

Infectious diseases

Occupational infectious diseases occur when employees are exposed to infectious workplace agents. Viruses, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms often cause occupational infectious diseases. 

Individuals who work in the healthcare industry, in laboratories, and with animals are at a higher risk of contracting an occupational infectious disease. Contractible diseases include hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and COVID-19. 

Do you work for an employer who fails to provide you with proper protective equipment or to follow other safety protocols? You and your coworkers may be at a higher risk of contracting an infectious disease. 

Hearing loss

Occupational hearing loss can occur due to a one-time traumatic event, such as a blow to the head or from being subjected to a loud explosion. 

Hearing loss can also happen because of prolonged exposure to loud noises such as machinery, jackhammers, or other instruments. 

Indications that your workplace is too loud include:

  • Having to shout to hear your coworkers even though they are just a short distance from you
  • Consistently hearing humming, buzzing, or ringing in your ears after work
  • Having temporary hearing loss following a work shift

Repetitive strain injuries

Many jobs require workers to perform the same movement repeatedly every day. Performing the same motions every shift can result in a repetitive stress injury (RSI).

An RSI, also called a continuous motion injury, is caused by repetitive stress and strain on your muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and other body parts. 

Workers in almost any industry can develop a repetitive stress injury. Some of the many work duties that can lead to RSIs include:

  • Lifting hospital patients
  • Typing and using a mouse on a computer
  • Operating machinery and power tools
  • Reaching up to grab an item 
  • Standing or sitting in the same position
  • Digging and landscaping

Mental health issues

Some work environments can have a negative effect on one’s mental health. Poor work conditions can result in workers suffering from anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, depression, and other mental health issues. 

Workers who were involved in or witnessed a catastrophic event at a job site may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 


On-the-job exposure to various substances and environments has been linked to an increased risk of developing many forms of cancer. Carcinogenic agents people may encounter at work include asbestos, radiation, benzene, and second-hand smoke. 

Some cancers commonly associated with occupational exposure include:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Skin cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer

How a Nebraska Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help If You Are Suffering From an Occupational Disease

If you are suffering from a work-related occupational illness, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, before you can receive compensation, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim – a complicated process. 

Consider some of the benefits of hiring a Nebraska personal injury lawyer to handle your workers’ comp claim. You can:

  • Receive needed medical care: Our legal team will work hard to ensure you receive the medical care you need to treat your occupational illness.
  • Ensure a thorough investigation: We, as your attorneys, will use our knowledge, experience, and resources to conduct a thorough investigation into the causes of your illness. 
  • Protect your legal rights: Your employer and their insurance company may try to deny your claim and place the blame on you for your illness, but you can take steps to protect yourself. Attorneys knowledgeable in Nebraska workers’ comp law can protect your right to compensation. 
  • Gather evidence: We will gather medical records, incident reports, witness statements from coworkers, testimony from medical experts, and other evidence to build a solid case on your behalf. 
  • Assess the value of your claim: You may not be aware of the damages that you qualify to receive or of the full value of your claim, but a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you seek the maximum compensation you deserve. 
  • Handle all communication: While you focus on your recovery, your personal injury attorney can handle all correspondence and communication with insurance companies, the defendant, doctors, and other parties.
  • Negotiate a settlement: Your attorney will know what your case is truly worth and can handle all settlement negotiations with the insurance company to ensure a fair agreement. 
  • Litigate your case: The majority of occupational disease workers’ compensation cases are settled out of court. However, if necessary, your workers’ comp lawyer can pursue your case in hearings, courts, and appeals. 

Get Help With Your Workers’ Comp Occupational Disease Claim Today

Have you or a loved one suffered from an occupational disease or illness? If so, our law firm is here to help you navigate the claims process and protect your rights every step of the way. 

An essential step in receiving benefits for a job-related disease is linking your illness to a hazardous condition in your workplace. To do so, the skilled lawyers at our law firm can conduct a thorough investigation into your workers’ comp case. When we take on your case, we will gather the evidence needed to build a solid case for you. 

Protect your legal right to compensation by contacting an occupational disease lawyer today. Contact Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf, & Lathrop today to schedule a free case review. Call us 24/7 at (402) 241-5020. Our workers’ comp attorneys serve Omaha, Sarpy County, and all of Nebraska and Iowa.

by Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop
Last updated on - Originally published on

Posted in: Job-related Injuries