Occupational Diseases and Workers’ Compensation: What Fort Myers Employees Should Understand

Workers in Fort Myers face various occupational hazards that can result in injuries and illnesses. While workplace accidents are often the focus of workers’ compensation claims, it’s essential for employees to understand that they may also be eligible for benefits if they develop occupational diseases due to their job. Here’s what Fort Myers employees should know about occupational diseases and workers’ compensation:

Understanding Occupational Diseases

Occupational diseases are illnesses or health conditions that result from exposure to workplace hazards over an extended period. These hazards can include exposure to toxic chemicals, repetitive motions, loud noise, ergonomic stressors, and more. Common occupational diseases include respiratory conditions like occupational asthma, repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, hearing loss, and various types of cancer.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage

In Florida, workers’ compensation laws provide benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, including occupational diseases. These benefits typically cover medical expenses related to the treatment of the disease, as well as a portion of lost wages if the employee is unable to work due to their condition. Workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of fault, meaning employees do not need to prove that their employer was negligent to receive compensation.

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you believe you have developed an occupational disease due to your job in Fort Myers, it’s essential to take the following steps to file a workers’ compensation claim:

  • Notify Your Employer: Report your occupational disease to your employer as soon as possible. In Florida, you have 30 days from the date you knew or should have known about your condition to notify your employer.
  • Seek Medical Treatment: Visit a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment of your occupational disease. Make sure to inform your healthcare provider that your condition is work-related.
  • File a Claim: Complete and submit a workers’ compensation claim form to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. Your employer should provide you with the necessary forms and instructions for filing a claim.
  • Follow Up: Keep detailed records of all medical treatment related to your occupational disease and any time missed from work due to your condition. Follow up with your employer and the workers’ compensation insurer to ensure your claim is processed promptly.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be complex, especially when dealing with occupational diseases. If you encounter challenges with your claim or have questions about your rights, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Fort Myers. An attorney can help you understand your legal options, gather evidence to support your claim, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.


Fort Myers employees should be aware of their rights regarding occupational diseases and workers’ compensation. If you believe you have developed a work-related illness, don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment and file a workers’ compensation claim to receive the benefits you are entitled to under Florida law. By understanding the process and seeking appropriate legal guidance, you can protect your health and financial well-being while navigating the complexities of occupational diseases and workers’ compensation.