Employees working in rural areas and particularly farms can come across rare diseases during the course of their employment. Such diseases are sometimes obscure, for example Lyme Disease which can only be contracted by tics, and might be questioned by experts.
If you have been bitten by a tic and start possessing symptoms of severe fatigue, joint pains, dizziness, loss of taste, abdominal distension, shortness of breath, swollen glands, muscle pain, confusion, depression and sensitivity to light, you might potentially have contracted this rare disease. Unless you have travelled overseas, many doctors might not believe that you have contracted the disease in Australia and therefore diagnose you correctly or provide you with prompt treatment.
Section 19 of the Workers Compensation Act states that “if a worker contracts a disease it needs to be proven that the employment is deemed to have a substantial contributing factor to the disease”. A substantial contributing+6 factor means that the employment has played an important part in the contraction of the disease. In the case of Lyme Disease, this can be difficult to prove when many doctors do not realise that this disease can be contracted in Australia.
As it is difficult to obtain proper medical evidence confirming that an employee’s work was a substantial contributing factor to contracting Lyme Disease, a report by an Approved Medical Specialist should be obtained as well as the treating specialist. There are only a handful of specialists who are appropriately qualified to comment on the disease and accept that in some rare occasions you can contract Lyme disease in Australia.
If you have contracted any kind of disease during the course of your employment and you are unsure of your rights and would like to know more about making a claim, please call us on 1800 25 1800 or make an online enquiry.
Written by Faye Salameh.