Did you know that you might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits even if you were not involved in an on-the-job accident? When we talk about workers' comp, we often think about falls, burns, spills or other active incidents that result in injury. What if you're sick all the time or are diagnosed with a chronic illness and it turns out your place of work is at fault?
This is known as sick building syndrome. It occurs when your work environment leads medical issues. For example, if you work in a building that has a mold problem, you might develop respiratory issues. If those issues require medical treatment or cause you to miss work, then you could be eligible for benefits to help you cover those expenses.
These types of cases can be harder to prove than actual accidents at work. First, you have to show that you do have a medical issue. Second, you have to prove that it is related to the building or environment you work in. Insurance carriers often fight these types of claims; they might claim that you are sick for another reason or that you had a preexisting illness.
In some cases, workers do have a preexisting but maintained illness, and it's the building that exacerbates it. In other cases, the worker has general sick building syndrome and experiences feelings of fatigue, itches, dry skin, headaches and other general symptoms. Without a specific diagnosis, it can be more difficult to tie your issues to the environment.
Our firm works with you to gather evidence and create a compelling case for benefits. We can help you understand your rights as a worker and how to best seek workers' comp benefits for illnesses associated with your work environment.