Viral or Bacterial Exposure
When people think of harm sustained in the workplace, they typically contemplate injuries caused by accidents. Not all damages suffered at work are caused by physical trauma, though, as many people are hurt by exposure to dangerous pathogens while they are working. While people who suffer harm in the workplace are often entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, proving an illness is compensable can be challenging, as employers will often argue employees became sick outside of work. If you suffered harm due to viral or bacterial exposure at work, it is advisable to confer with an attorney to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Joseph Richards of Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C., is a knowledgeable Orange County workers’ compensation attorney dedicated to helping people harmed at work. The law office pursues benefits for injured workers, and if an injured worker retains our services, we aggressively advocate on our client’s behalf. Our primary office is in Riverside County, and we have an office in Orange County as well. We regularly represent employees in workers’ compensation matters throughout Southern California.Harm Caused by Viral or Bacterial Exposure in the Workplace
A variety of microorganisms can cause illnesses, and when people are exposed to such pathogens at work, the illness may be deemed work-related. For example, people working in nursing homes, hospitals, doctors' offices, and other medical facilities may be exposed to dangers of COVID-19, influenza, and pneumonia. People working outside of the medical field may be subject to work environments in which viruses and bacteria are present as well. For example, if people are required to work during an epidemic or pandemic, customers or co-workers who are unwell may expose workers to diseases. While some people recover from work-related illnesses in a relatively brief time, others suffer significant long-term effects. For example, COVID-19 and other respiratory disorders can cause permanent lung damage, heart issues, and in some cases, sepsis and organ failure. People who contract severe or serious illnesses often suffer psychological trauma as well.Pursuing Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Illnesses Caused by Viral or Bacterial Exposure
Pursuant to the California Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act), people who contract illnesses at work may be granted workers’ compensation benefits if they demonstrate their eligibility. First, people seeking benefits must prove they are covered employees, as volunteers and independent contractors are not entitled to such benefits. Secondly, parties seeking benefits have to establish that their harm is work-related. In other words, they must show that their illnesses arose out of viral or bacterial exposure that occurred while they were performing their job duties.
Proving an illness is work-related is often difficult, as employers will typically argue that sick employees could have contracted illnesses outside of work. Courts will often find that an illness is work-related and therefore compensable if the performance of job duties subjected the worker to a greater risk of contracting the illness than the risk faced by the general public. An illness may also be deemed work-related when it is caused by an instrumentality of the employment.
Employees that are able to establish viral or bacterial exposure in the workplace made them ill may be granted medical benefits, which cover the cost of any required medical care. Employees who cannot work may also be granted temporary or permanent disability benefits.Consult an Experienced Orange County Lawyer
Viral or bacterial exposure can cause critical illnesses, and when exposure occurs at work, the employer may be required to provide a sick employee with workers’ compensation benefits. If you contracted a workplace illness, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible regarding your rights. Joseph Richards of Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C., is an experienced attorney who is proficient at handling complex workers’ compensation claims, and if hired, he gathers the evidence needed to provide a client with answers to questions about harmful viral or bacterial exposures. We have offices in Orange and Riverside, and we help employees in workers’ compensation cases in Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, San Bernardino, Irvine, Moreno Valley, El Centro, Corona, Temecula, Long Beach, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, and San Diego. We frequently aid employees with workers’ compensation matters in additional cities in Orange County as well as in Riverside, Los Angeles, Imperial, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. You can reach us at (888) 883-6588 or via our online form to set up a meeting time for a free consultation.