To some, Lyme disease may not seem like that big of a deal. This is largely in part to a lack of knowledge regarding how severe the physical and emotional toll Lyme disease can have on a person. When caught quickly, many people can expect to be treated successfully for Lyme disease. However, when a diagnosis is delayed, a person can suffer from debilitating side effects of the disease. But what happens if Lyme disease is contracted while working? Can a workers’ compensation claim be filed?
Lyme disease is contracted by the bite of a deer tick that is carrying bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. In some situations, symptoms from the bite can be delayed, taking up to 3 weeks before a person realizes they have been infected. This can make early identification of the disease difficult to detect.
Early Detection and Symptoms
Early detection is key to avoiding lasting symptoms from the disease. Once Lyme is diagnosed, usually a 2-3 week cycle of antibiotics is prescribed. Although the infection within the body will be eliminated, it may take longer for symptoms to subside as the body heals. Symptoms that usually accompany the bite may include:
- Bull’s Eye Rash (This is a strong sign of Lyme disease, but is only seen in around 30% of all people who are bitten.)
- Flu-like symptoms
- Stiffness of joints
- Severe Headache
- Joint Pain
- A rash that spreads
- Heart problems
It is important to note that when Lyme disease is diagnosed late, symptoms and illnesses progress much further, with more damaging results.
Depending on the type of work that you do, a worker’s compensation claim may be appropriate if you are able to prove that the tick bite that gave you Lyme disease occurred on the job, as a workers’ compensation attorney from a firm like the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt can explain. For example, if you work in an office setting, it is pretty unlikely that you received a tick bite while on the job. However, if you work primarily outdoors, your risk of being bitten increases drastically. A good employer will take safety measures to help prevent tick bites, which may include providing additional education and an established dress code in order to protect employees from tick bites. If you have contracted Lyme disease and suffered as a result, you may be covered by workers comp for:
- Lost wages
- Medical Expenses
- Hospital Bills
- Disability Payments
A battle with Lyme disease can be a difficult time in your life. Consulting with a doctor immediately will be an important component to a workers’ compensation claim, as the documentation is incredibly important to your claim. If you find a tick has bitten you and as a result you contracted Lyme disease while on the job, a workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help.