Like an injury by accident, an occupational disease must arise out of and in the course of employment in order to be covered by workers' compensation in Virginia.
In order to determine whether or not an occupational disease will be covered under Virginia workers' compensation the following must be present:
(1) a direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the occupational disease;
(2) did the disease follow as a natural incident of the work as a result of workplace exposure;
(3) can it be proved that work caused the disease:
(4) proof that the injured worker would not have had substntial exposure to the disease outside of employment;
(5) the exposure to the cause of the disease was related to the type of work done by the worker;
(6) the disease was caused by a risk related to the employmenteven if it was unforseen.
While this looks like a rigorous test that would be hard to prove it can be boiled down to the fact that the injured worker must prove that he suffers the occupational disease as a result of the work he performed.
While these cases often require more medical proof and expert opinion than a case involving injury by accident, deserving claimant's are able to meet the burden of proof at the hearing and secure benefits.