To be covered under Missouri’s Workers Compensation Act, a sick employee must be able to prove that their current illness is a direct result of their conditions of their employment.
The term workplace injury brings to mind a very specific image, doesn’t it? It’s a slip and fall that occurs when the floor is wet and nobody marked it. Or, it’s a back sprain when you lifted a heavy object wrong and it sends shooting pain down your spine.
In any case, it’s most likely an event where you can see the culprit and ends up in an injury. But Missouri worker’s comp laws don’t just cover these kinds of injuries. Illnesses sustained on the job are also eligible for compensation.
Understanding Occupational Illnesses
The law is clear, if you get injured on the job, then you are entitled to workers comp to take care of your medical costs and to get back on your feet quicker and return to work. The law specifically mentions that illnesses are also included.
A large focus is, however, placed on occupational illnesses, but what does the term actually mean? Well, it refers to any kind of illness you develop as a result of your work environment or the activities you perform.
They can be anything from:
- Lung diseases
- Skin diseases
- Bone/spine issues
- Even some cancers
The law recognizes that sometimes an employee can get sick just by having to be in a particular environment day in and day out. As a result, it believes the costs of treatment in these cases should not burden the ill employee.
What about Contagious Diseases?
As stated above, to be covered under Missouri’s Workers Compensation Act, a sick employee must be able to prove that their current illness is a direct result of their conditions of their employment. Therefore, ordinary diseases of life, or contagious diseases, are expressly excluded from the definition of occupational disease.
However, this poses an interesting situation for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals that are certainly at an increased risk for exposure to contagious diseases. Those working in the medical field are exposed to a wide variety of illnesses like influenza and the common cold. But they are are a risk of contracting more serious disease such as herpes, staph infections, hepatitis, and others.
If a contagious disease results from exposure to fellow employees in which the person could have been equally exposed to it outside his/her employment, it is very unlikely it would be covered by workers comp. However, there are strange scenarios that can affect a worker. In such cases, if you believe you have a workers compensation case, it would be best to discuss your case with an experienced workers compensation attorney. Only then can it be determined whether or not you have a viable case.
Ask the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann
If you have contracted an illness from work and are wondering if you can claim workers compensation, call our law office today at (314) 361-4300. We offer free consultations and can help you determine whether or not you have a case.