What Causes Sick Building Syndrome: What Is It & Can You Get Compensation?
If you work in a full-time office setting, you likely have experienced falling sick at least once or twice while on the job. Since you spend most of your days in an enclosed space, your chances of getting sick are extremely high. You can easily catch the cold or the flu from a coworker. But what if it’s your working environment that’s causing you to get sick? Chances are, it’s due to sick building syndrome (SBS).
SBS has become a major occupational hazard nationwide. Luckily, employees can hold their employers responsible for putting their health at risk by filing the right claim.
If you want to appeal for compensation for SBS, we’re here to help. This blog will discuss the syndrome, its symptoms, and the compensation you can get from your employer.
What is Sick Building Syndrome?
SBS refers to workplace sickness caused by prolonged exposure to poorly maintained buildings or offices. They can affect your skin and respiratory system. Moreover, they show the following symptoms:
- Throat irritation
- Breathing difficulties
- Tightness in the chest
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Burning sensation in the nose
- Dry, itchy skin
This condition can be hard to diagnose, especially since they share similar symptoms to the common cold and flu. However, one consideration you can keep in mind is if the symptoms primarily occur when you’re at work. Here’s an example:
Spencer started working at an old office building downtown. Two months into the job, he started getting headaches that would disappear a few hours after his shift. He later realized that his head always seemed to hurt in his office, even though he never experienced chronic headaches before.
Since Spencer doesn’t have a history of chronic headaches and only seems to get them at his workplace, he could be diagnosed with SBS.
What Causes Sick Building Syndrome?
Besides fungus and mold, sick building syndrome can be caused by several things, like:
- Poor ventilation and air quality
- High levels of dust
- Formaldehyde from wooden furniture
- Carbon monoxide
- Insect or animal droppings
Since plenty of factors can cause SBS, pinpointing the main culprit for your symptoms will be difficult. Doctors would have to determine the cause of your condition through the process of elimination.
Possible Treatments For Sick Building Syndrome
The great news is SBS is highly treatable. People can use over-the-counter medicine for allergies to alleviate some of its symptoms. If you’re having difficulty breathing, you can also get asthma medication.
However, the best way you can treat SBS is to reduce exposure. Medication should only be a stopgap measure. We recommend you immediately speak with your facility manager or employer after you get an official diagnosis.
It’s your employer’s duty to provide you and your coworkers with a safe workplace. They need to ensure your building is regularly tested for mold fungus. It’s also up to them to change out your office’s air filters now and then.
These measures will help them fight SBS and keep their staff safe and healthy.
Can You Get Worker’s Compensation For Sick Building Syndrome?
Yes, you can get a worker’s comp for SBS since it’s an occupational hazard, but the process will be difficult.
SBS is an umbrella term used for multiple types of conditions. Even if you have a diagnosis, you still need to prove that there’s a connection between your office and your health problems.
For instance, you could establish that your symptoms only show at work, similar to the example from earlier. You could also argue that your coworkers are experiencing similar symptoms. Finding other team members with SBS will help solidify your claim that your workplace is unsafe.
Moreover, if your symptoms are bad enough that you can’t return to work, you could file for temporary disability.
How to File A Claim For SBS
Filing a claim for SBS is similar to filing for a workplace injury. You need to get immediate medical attention as soon as you notice the recurring symptoms. Note their frequency and what you were doing when they occurred. We also suggest keeping a journal to keep track of your condition.
Once you get an official diagnosis from a healthcare professional, you must inform your employer. Your employer will then report the incident to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB).
After you submit your claim form, your employer’s insurance provider should authorize payment for your medical bills while they investigate your claim.
What if you and your employer’s insurance provider can’t agree on your claim? Disagreements in these cases are fairly common. Insurance providers are known to undermine the cases of claimants. Sometimes, they even offer an initial amount to sweep the incident under the rug.
If you think your employer’s insurance provider is undermining your case, consider hiring a lawyer.
How Lawyers Can Help Employees Get Worker’s Comp
A worker’s comp lawyer will help you get the settlement possible. They’ll ensure you get the compensation you rightfully deserve for as long as you need it.
Insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying worker’s comp. For instance, they’ll use the lack of medical evidence to invalidate your claim.
Fortunately, a lawyer will help you look for pitfalls you could face when you file your claim. They’ll evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your claim so that you know what evidence you need to strengthen it.
Lastly, they can help you resolve disputes with your employer’s insurance provider. Experienced lawyers know the tactics insurance companies use when they negotiate settlements. They’ll ensure you get the worker’s comp you deserve no matter how long the process takes.
Find A Lawyer Today
If you need help understanding the complex process of filing a claim for worker’s comp, look no further than Adamson Ahdoot.
Adamson Ahdoot is a full-service civil litigation firm with over 100 years of combined legal experience. With our help, you can trust that the best lawyers will handle your case with the intimacy and attention to detail of a boutique firm, with the expertise of a larger one.
Our team will help you file a claim for Sick Building Syndrome and increase your chances of winning a favorable outcome.
Adamson Ahdoot promises to guide you through this difficult time in your life. Our lawyers will support you every step of the way, from gathering evidence to negotiating your claim.
We proudly serve a diverse clientele with their car accident cases and offer free English and Spanish consultations. Call us at (800) 310-1606 and start building a robust claim today.
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