Are virus infections covered by workers’ compensation?


Each year, thousands of workers in California fall victim to any of the flu viruses that happen to be around. According to a spokesperson for the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, no diseases or categories of illnesses are excluded from compensation. However, whether workers become ill from common flu viruses or some new virus strain that becomes a pandemic, proving it to be work-related could be difficult.

Although workers like firefighters and safety officers are automatically covered for certain diseases that are included in the list of presumptions, workers in other industries have to prove causation. This means that mere exposure to a virus is not proof enough; causation has to be shown. Therefore, an answer to the question about whether virus infections are covered depends on the specific circumstances.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that employers must be alert and on the lookout for red flags. Workers who show symptoms like acute respiratory problems and fever should be sent home, for the protection of co-workers. Affected workers should only be allowed to return to once they are free of fever or other symptoms, and no longer in need of medication for 24 hours or longer.

California workers who contracted viral infections that caused lost workdays might have questions about their eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. The sensible step might be to consult with an attorney with experience in this field of the law. Legal counsel can explain the requirements for a successful workers’ compensation benefits claim. If such a claim is not an option, the attorney might suggest other options for legal recourse.

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