Do you feel sick while you’re at work? Do your symptoms seem to get better directly after you leave? You may be suffering from something known as “sick building syndrome”. When buildings are “sick”, people can get sick too. So the short answer to this question is ‘yes’, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits from toxic exposure to environmental toxins in your workplace. The long answer involves some of the difficulties in proving these claims.
The New Jersey workers’ compensation attorneys at Schibell Law, LLC have years of experience dealing with clients who have reported a mysterious constellation of symptoms related to an overly-aggressive auto-immune response. To prove that sick building syndrome is responsible for your illness, you must establish that your workplace has mold or other environmental toxins, is water damaged, and your symptoms correlate to a disorder known as CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome).
Key indicators of sick building syndrome
Acute discomfort related to sick building syndrome is characterized by spontaneous rashes, itchy or burning eyes, nausea, fatigue, brain fog, headache, and allergy-like symptoms. In some cases, victims will suffer flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle aches. The majority of individuals will report that their symptoms subside after leaving the sick building. But prolonged exposure can result in the recovery period becoming longer and longer.
What causes sick building syndrome?
- Inadequate ventilation – Standards for indoor air quality are not necessarily very high. Inadequate ventilation is a known contributor to sick building syndrome.
- Chemical contaminants within the building – Contaminants emerging from within an office space can increase risk of sick building syndrome. Copy machines and cleaning compounds are known to increase the risk of creating volatile organic compounds.
- Chemical contaminants outside of the building – Poorly ventilated buildings trap toxins from the outside world including exhaust from automobiles.
- Biological contaminants – Black mold, fungus, bacteria and viruses can all cause conditions related to sick building syndrome. Bird feces and insects can also cause symptoms. The risk is often increased due to water damage.
Sick building syndrome and workers’ compensation
The problem for workers who suffer injuries related to sick building syndrome is that it can be very difficult to diagnose the matter correctly. Doctors use what is known as a diagnosis of exclusion. Since they don’t have access to the building itself (usually), they analyze the patient instead. Before you can get a firm diagnosis related to an environmental toxin, other possibilities must be excluded. Likewise, it may not be apparent what environmental toxin is causing the disorder. So proving your case can be challenging.
On the other hand, Schibell Law, LLC has helped hundreds of injured employees recover the compensation they are owed when they suffer a job-related injury. Call us today and we can begin discussing your condition, coordinating with your doctors, and proving your case to the insurance company.