Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu and Workers' Comp

The World Health Organization raised the alert for the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak to Level 5, pandemic imminent.

The workers' compensation implications for exposure to the infection were discussed Monday in a post by the Workers' Comp Insider.  Mild cases won't lead to claim liability, but what about prolonged illnesses or death? The Insider posted a list of useful resources under the title: Swine Flu part 2 - links to helpful resources for employers.

No appellate cases involving compensability of flu-related illnesses are reported by the COCA or the Oklahoma Supreme Court. However, swine influenza is a viral disease, and benefits for hepatitis, also a viral disease, have been awarded. Wheaton v. City of Tulsa Fire Department, 1998 OK CIV APP 155, 970 P.2d 194. Analysis of the evidentiary requirements is discussed in Deaconess Hospital v. Ledbetter, 2002 OK CIV APP 29, 41 P.3d 1050.

This disease has the potential to spread exponentially. You can tracking the incidence of reported cases in Oklahoma (and Texas because of its proximity to Mexico) on Google Maps.

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