The prospect of retirement brings a slew of decisions to make about finances, lifestyle and family. One that is often overlooked is health and it shouldn’t be. The years of wear and tear from work or even exposure to toxins in the workplace can make a huge difference in the quality and enjoyment of retirement.

That is why retirement planning should include consideration and examination of potential health issues that you may face, especially those which may be caused by work. This is especially true if you are considering filing a claim for workers’ compensation for any of these conditions.

The first consideration is that there is a statute of limitations of two years for any injury caused by an accident of two years from the date of the last benefit already paid or if none, the date of accident. In the case of an occupational disease, which can include anything from repetitive stress and strain on a part of your body to an exposure, the limitation is two years from the date that you know the nature of your condition and its relation to the work.
    
The first step to take if you suspect you may have a work related medical condition is to see a doctor. Some examples of things you should discuss with the doctor include:

  1. If you suffer a difficulty in hearing
  2. Any problems breathing (such as shortness of breath, wheezing or constant cough)
  3. Any areas of your body which suffer chronic pain such as your knees, your back or your hands

These may be signs of such work related conditions as an occupationally caused hearing loss, an inhaled exposure to toxic materials or repetitive stress. In the case of hearing loss, a simple audiogram will tell the story. In the case of breathing problems it is recommended that a chest x-ray and pulmonary function testing take place. In the case of chronic pain, any areas of your body should be checked, x-rayed and possibly subject to an MRI.
    
When seeing the doctor, you should provide the doctor with as much information as you can about the work that you perform, the kinds of materials or situations that you handle, the diseases or toxins you may have been exposed to and the kinds of physical activity that cause stress on the body.
    
If you and your doctor discover that any of these conditions may be related to your work, you have the right to file a claim in the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation. You may be able to obtain payment for medical treatment or compensation for your disabilities.
        
The last thing you can do to protect your rights is to contact the attorneys at Stark & Stark either by phone or contact us to arrange a free consultation.