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Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Workers Diagnosed with Valley Fever

Albert E. Hirst Law Offices- In California, the Department of Public Health and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health have indicated that they are concerned about the steep increase in reported incidences of Valley Fever.  While the statistics are not necessarily final, the Department of Public Health has stated that nearly 1,300 more reported cases in 2017 across California from January 1 through October 31, compared to the same range of time in 2016.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that more companies and businesses have received citations for failing to protect their workers, and we may see an increase in the number of workers’ compensation claims filed by victims of Valley Fever.

Valley Fever is caused by a fungus known as Coccidioides immitis.  This type of fungus thrives in the soil, usually in the Central Valley, but it has also been found in other areas of California.  Workers who are afflicted with Valley Fever usually contract it while participating in driving and digging activities that cause dust, especially in high and turbulent winds.  While working in and around the soil, the fungus spores are airborne, and this is when workers inhale it.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration actually advises that supervisors train their workers to identify when they are experiencing the symptoms associated with the illness.  However, the symptoms can also be confused easily with those of other illnesses like pneumonia and the flu.

If Valley Fever is diagnosed and treated right away, those inflicted can usually make a full recovery within a short period of time.  But, those who are sixty years or older, have compromised immune systems, or are pregnant are more likely to experience complications such as brain infections, pneumonia, and infections in their bones, joints, skin, or other organs.  Accordingly, workers in California who are experiencing a cough, struggling to breathe, or running a fever should probably see a doctor sooner than later just to make sure their illness is not Valley Fever rather than the flu or pneumonia.

Oftentimes many workers delay going to see a doctor when they feel sick or otherwise unwell thinking that their symptoms will just pass and hope that they can save some money in medical expenses.  However, it is possible that the illness they are suffering from might be covered by the workers’ compensation system under California law.  The benefits that an injured or ill worker might be entitled to include medical expenses and lost wages for those who might be absent from work as a result of the injury or illness.  In short, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is better to seek medical treatment right away rather than to ignore them.  It is better to rule out Valley Fever right away, but if you have come down with the illness, getting treatment for it is better for you in the long run, and it could be covered under workers’ compensation.

Dedicated and Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in California

If you have been inflicted with Valley Fever as a result of your job, particularly if your illness happened in the Hemet, San Bernardino, or Inland Empire areas, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under California law.  Albert E. Hirst, III, has many years of experience assisting those who have suffered from workplace injuries and illnesses and he can help you with obtaining the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.  Call our office today at (909) 885-7190 to schedule your free and confidential consultation and find out what we can do for you.