If an occupational disease is diagnosed, the employee is entitled to statutory accident insurance benefits. However, some conditions must be fulfilled so that a case of illness is indeed recognized and compensated. Often the trade association is responsible for this.
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Occupational disease must be recognized
Many occupational groups are particularly at risk of being burdened by a particular disease. Therefore, such a work-related illness is treated like an accident at work: the medical rehabilitation and the financial compensation of the patients is a case for the statutory accident insurance. In 1997, the Federal Government adopted the Occupational Diseases Ordinance (BKV). It contains a list of occupational diseases that are recognized as such. According to medical findings, they are caused by factors that are increasingly exposed to certain professional groups. For example, skin diseases caused by certain chemical substances or spinal diseases can occur due to the lifting of heavy loads. The BKV is accompanied by a list of diseases that are recognized in this context. If the disease is not on this list, it probably will not be confirmed to the person concerned as an occupational disease. This also applies if the illness is related to his professional activity. For example, mental illness is not on the list.
Employers' liability insurance makes assessment
The Landessozialgericht Baden-Württemberg dealt with a case of an engineer, who wanted to reduce his deafness as noise deafness to working in a large office and therefore wanted to have recognized as an occupational disease. However, the competent professional association, which decides as a carrier of the statutory accident insurance usually on such cases, rejected the recognition. Noise deafness is on the list of occupational diseases, but the noise exposure in the office has been measured and a medical opinion has shown that this burden is not sufficient as the cause of the disease. The court stated that the professional activity must actually be the cause of the damage to health and dismissed the action brought by the engineer in the second instance (Case L 6 U 4089/15). The professional association was thus right. Accordingly, in addition to the basic recognition of the disease as an occupational disease must also be provable that it was triggered by the activity of the person concerned.
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