Being allergic to the office sounds like an excuse for people who don’t want to work, but it’s really a thing. No, your seasonal allergies are probably not covered by your employer’s workers comp policy. However, positional risk, also called neutral risk, might be covered.
Each person’s case is unique, and the insurer and New York State Workers’ Compensation Board may have to make a determination on your case. The important element you must prove to win your case is that the injury (allergic reaction) occurred because of work. Does workers comp cover allergic reactions? It might. Let’s take a look.
The Doctrine of ‘Positional Risk’
When you think of workers compensation injuries, you generally think of workplace accidents, such as falling off of a ladder at work if you’re a painter or being electrocuted in the course of your work as an electrician. But aren’t there other ways you can be injured, simply because you were at work?
Here are some potential examples of neutral or positional risk:
- Being struck by lighting when working on the top of a metal tower
- Becoming sick from mold if you renovate or inspect old homes
- Having an allergic reaction to a substance you’re exposed to in the workplace
Positional Risk vs. Increased Risk
Now suppose you are allergic to the carpet fibers at your place of employment, and the allergic reaction makes you sick; should you be compensated?
Simply because your employment placed you in a position (positional risk) to become ill, your employer may be required to pay you for your recovery. Your employer may also try to accommodate you by moving you to a different part of the building. However, workers comp only provides for injuries linked directly to your employment.
It’s up to you to prove that your allergic reaction occurred because of your employment or workplace.
In some cases, you will have to prove more than the fact that your allergic reaction occurred at work, but rather that your work caused you to face an increased risk of harm.
If you have allergies all the time and can’t prove that your employer placed you in a position to cause your allergies, you won’t likely be able to recover benefits. If the court decides your allergic reaction wasn’t directly linked to your employment and could have happened anywhere, your claim could be denied.
Contact a New York Workers Comp Attorney
Does workers comp cover allergic reactions? It depends. If you can prove that your reaction was causally connected to your employment, then you may be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits while you recover.
These issues are probably making your head spin, but speaking with a New York workers comp lawyer can help you grasp whether your case qualifies. Contact Finkelstein, Meirowitz & Eidlisz, LLP to schedule a free case review. Submit your contact information below or call us at 212-385-9190.