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What is an occupational disease?

Worker’s compensation claims in New Jersey may arise for a work-related injury or occupational disease. For claims involving an employee developing a job-related occupation disease, the employee may not become aware that she has the disease until much later. The employee may have developed the disease over a long period of time or even after they have left the job where she was exposed.

Occupational diseases refer to any disease contracted primary do to exposure arising from work-related activities. New Jersey law defines them as all disease that arise due to the course of employment and are characteristic of or peculiar to a certain trade, occupation, process or place of an employment. Similarly, New Jersey law presumes that an employee’s disease is an occupational disease if before the date of disability, the employee worked in an industry in which the disease is a hazard. The work environment most likely has risk factors of exposure to disease-causing illnesses. Certain diseases are specifically recognized as occupational diseases. For the diseases listed as occupational disease, the illness must the following criteria: 1) the employment exposed the employee to the disease; 2) the disease is related to the employee’s job or work industry ; and 3) the disease occurs substantially more in the employee’s job or work industry than in the general population.

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