Can You Get Workers Compensation for Lyme Disease?
In California, an employee may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they can prove that they contracted Lyme disease while on the job.
California’s workers’ compensation system is designed to provide financial assistance to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. So, if an employee can prove that they contracted Lyme disease while on the job, they may be entitled to benefits such as medical treatment, temporary or permanent disability benefits, and death benefits.
The employee does not have to prove that their employer was at fault or failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the illness. However, it’s important to note that meeting the ‘burden of proof’ to show that the Lyme Disease was contracted at work is not easy. So it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney who can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of receiving the benefits for Lyme disease.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. It is the most common tick-borne infection in the United States and Europe.
Symptoms of Lyme disease typically appear within a few days to a few weeks after the tick bite. The early symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, and a unique skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, the Lyme disease infection can spread to other parts of the body, leading to more serious symptoms such as joint pain and swelling, facial paralysis, and heart problems.
Treatment for Lyme disease typically involves a course of antibiotics, which can be effective if given early in the course of the infection. If Lyme disease is not treated early, it may lead to chronic health problems, including arthritis and neurological symptoms.
It’s important to note that there is no vaccine to prevent Lyme disease – so it’s important for outside workers to take precautions, particularly in wooded or grassy areas where ticks are most prevalent.
What Jobs are Most Likely to Get Lyme Disease in the Workplace?
Certain professions are at a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease in the workplace due to their increased exposure to ticks in outdoor environments. These include:
- Landscapers and groundskeepers: These workers are often in contact with tall grass, bushes, and other areas where ticks may be present.
- Park rangers and wildlife biologists: These workers spend a lot of time in wooded or grassy areas where ticks are prevalent.
- Construction workers and surveyors: These workers may be exposed to ticks on job sites that are in wooded or grassy areas.
- Farmers and ranchers: These workers spend a lot of time in fields and pastures where ticks may be present.
- Police in Sheriffs in Rural Areas: Law enforcement who are required to patrol or conduct investigations or search-and-rescue duties in wooded or grassy areas are also at risk of contracting Lyme disease.
- Veterinarians: Vets who work with animals that spend time outside have a higher risk of contracting the disease as well
It’s important for workers in these professions to take precautions to prevent tick bites, such as wearing protective clothing, using tick repellent, and performing tick checks after spending time outdoors. Employers should also educate their employees about the risk of tick-borne illnesses, provide them with protective gear, and encourage them to report any tick bites or symptoms of Lyme disease.
Does an Employer Have a Duty to Protect Workers from Lyme Disease?
An employer has a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for its employees, which includes protecting them from the risks of Lyme disease. This means that they must take reasonable measures to prevent exposure to the disease and to inform their employees of the risks associated with their work.
In California, employers are required to provide their employees with a safe working environment and to comply with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations. This includes providing information and training on the hazards of Lyme disease and measures to prevent exposure, such as the use of personal protective equipment and tick repellent, encouraging employees to report any tick bites or symptoms of Lyme disease, and promptly removing any ticks found on the employees or the work site.
What to do If You’re Bit by a Tick at Work
If you are bitten by a tick at work, you should follow these steps:
- Carefully remove the tick with tweezers or a tick removal tool and clean the area with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. (Save the tick in a sealed plastic bag if possible).
- If you are unable to remove the tick, or if the tick is embedded deep in the skin, seek medical attention immediately.
- If you are able to remove the tick, seek medical attention as soon as possible and ask your healthcare provider about testing or prophylactic (preventive) treatment.
- ☆ ☆ Report the tick bite to your employer and file a report, so they can take appropriate action to prevent tick-borne illnesses – and so that there is a record or ‘proof’ of the incident. ☆ ☆
- Monitor the bite site for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or warmth. If you develop a fever or any other symptoms, return to your healthcare provider immediately.
Collecting Workers Compensation for Lyme Disease
It’s important to note that proving Lyme disease occurred at work can be very difficult, so it’s best to consult with a specialized workers compensation attorney to understand the specific legal requirements in California.
The attorney can provide proper documentation of your diagnosis, treatment, and any related medical expenses, as well as documentation of any lost wages or income if you are unable to work while recovering from Lyme disease. A skilled workers compensation attorney can also take every step to ensure that your comp claim is processed rapidly, can fight any attempts at denial by the insurance company, and can ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled – so that you can focus on your rest and recovery.
Workers Compensation for Lyme Disease | Long Beach Attorneys
Having an experienced attorney can help an employee get better results in a workers’ compensation case for a difficult to prove situation like work-related Lyme Disease. The attorney will be familiar with the laws and regulations regarding ‘burden of proof,’ and gathering and presenting evidence to support the claim.
An attorney may also be able to negotiate with the employer and the employer’s insurance carrier for a settlement, which can be beneficial for employees who are suffered from chronic or debilitating Lyme Disease and who have a long-term disability. An attorney can also help employees in case the employer and insurance company deny the claim, as well as appeal a decision if the claim is rejected.
If you are suffering from Lyme Disease that was caused by a tick bite while you were working, consult with the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Cantrell Green in Long Beach, CA. We will help you understand your rights and options – and be by your side every step of the way to ensure you receive the maximum workers’ compensation benefits for which you qualify.
Workers Comp Attorneys for Lyme Disease: 800-964-8047
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