Is Skin Cancer Covered Under Vermont Workers’ Compensation?
Cancer remains a common illness in the United States of America. According to the CDC, in 2020 (the latest year for which incidence data are available), there were more than 1.6 million new cancer cases in the United States. In that year, over 600,000 people died of cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer people develop in the United States. Anyone who spends 15 minutes in the sun without protection can develop skin cancer. If your job entails spending a lot of time outdoors in the sun, you are at a high risk of developing skin cancer.
If you spend a lot of time working outside in the sun and develop skin cancer, one crucial question that may come up is whether skin cancer is covered under workers’ compensation. So, is skin cancer covered under Vermont workers’ compensation? In Vermont, workers’ compensation generally covers work-related injuries and illnesses. An illness or injury is work-related if it results from employment-related events or exposures. If you can prove that your skin cancer is work-related, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, the truth is that claiming your skin cancer is work-related can be challenging. This is because you can suffer sun exposure anytime, including during your time away from work. That said, if skin cancer is common in your industry, you may be able to successfully claim that your cancer is work-related.
Industries at a Higher Risk for Skin Cancer
Any worker who is exposed to the sun is at risk of developing skin cancer. However, some workers are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer than others. Some of the industries at a higher risk for skin cancer include the following;
- Construction workers
- Agricultural workers
- Commercial truck drivers
- Oil rig workers
- Outdoor store workers
Symptoms of Skin Cancer
Skin cells usually grow old and are replaced by new cells. Skin cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in your skin tissues. Exposure to UV light can interfere with the process of cell formation. UV light can cause skin cells to grow more rapidly. While these cells can be non-cancerous, they can also be cancerous.
Skin cancer symptoms vary depending on the type of cancer. For example, basal cell carcinoma, which often develops on the face or neck, may appear as a flat, pink- or brown-colored scar-like wound, a sore that heals and recurs, or a pearly or waxy lump. Other symptoms of skin cancer include;
- A scaly, rough lesion that might bleed, itch, and become crusty
- Sores that appear crusty, have a depression in the middle or bleed regularly
Establishing Skin Cancer as an Occupational Disease
After suffering skin cancer, the following are some of the things you might need to prove to recover workers’ compensation benefits;
- Work conditions directly caused the cancer
- The cancer did not occur due to substantial exposure you suffered outside employment
To successfully claim cancer as a work-related illness, you may need an expert’s opinion to affirm that the skin cancer most likely developed from occupational UV exposure.
Legal Help Is Available
For help determining whether an injury or illness is work-related and thus covered by workers’ compensation, contact our qualified Vermont workers’ compensation attorneys at Sluka Law PLC.