Lyme disease is no joke.  It can take an otherwise healthy and active person and make them lethargic.  Most start with a simple rash, but some suffer from severe headaches, neck stiffness, muscle pain, facial palsy, heart palpitations, dizziness and shortness of breath. In the worst cases you can have a brain injury that could cause permanent memory loss.

Most people get bitten by a tick while camping or spending time in the woods or on a farm.  The question I got from a recent caller is, can Lyme disease ever be a workers’ compensation case?

For that caller, her husband climbs trees all day at work, clearing brush. In other words, his job requires him to be in a place where he’s more exposed to ticks than the general public.  He can’t prove the tick bite happened there, but he can prove it’s more likely than not that it did and that his employer benefited by him being exposed to ticks.  So unless he’s been spending a lot of time in the woods or around ticks outside of work, I think under Illinois work comp law he has a strong case.  If so they’d have to pay all of his medical bills, all his time off work and give him a settlement based on his recovery.

While this doesn’t happen a lot in Illinois, infected deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, can be found in Illinois.

So in general I’d say if you work for the Cook County Forest Preserve or other similar organization that has you near a wooded area, tall grass or brush, and you get Lyme disease, looking in to a case is worthwhile.  On the other hand, if you sit at a desk in an office building and get bit by a tick, it would be harder to prove you have a case.

The key element is showing increased exposure as compared to the general public while on your job.  It’s similar to how if you get stung by a bee at work you probably don’t have a case, unless you are a bee keeper or in some other job that puts you around a lot of bees.

I hope this makes sense.  Lyme disease is brutal and if you can’t work or have bills coming in it becomes even harder.  If you have any questions or want to see if you have a case, please contact us at any time.