As part of Adelson, Testan, Brundo and Jimenez’ ongoing educational seminar series, presented on ATB Law’s YouTube Channel, David Tew, managing partner at our Fresno office, covers workers’ compensation issues and defense strategies related to Valley Fever.
Valley Fever is also known as coccidiomycosis, an infection in the lungs and respiratory system caused by inhalation of Coccidioides immitis, a fungus that grows in soil in areas of the US and Central and South America. Valley Fever generally causes a temporary disability, and in its most common forms is not a cause to be unable to work. In cases where permanent disability does arise from Valley Fever, impairment can range from 0% to 100% disability, and in rarer cases may involve a death benefit.
Avenues of Workers’ Compensation Defense against Valley Fever
Valley Fever must be diagnosed through lab tests to create substantial medical evidence for a workers’ compensation claim. When deposing a worker claiming a Valley Fever injury, it’s also important to determine the symptoms, as Valley Fever’s various forms present with classic symptoms. In addition, employees who live or visit endemic areas on a non-industrial basis will have difficulty proving industrial exposure, as will those who do not have a greater exposure than that of the general public. There are, therefore, four common avenues of defense against workers’ compensation claims involving Valley Fever:
- If lab tests show negative results for Valley Fever but these are contradicted by a doctor’s opinion, there is a strong opportunity for defense if an exact copy of the negative lab tests is obtained.
- Negative symptoms combined with a negative lab test are a possible avenue of defense.
- Valley Fever can be recurring, and therefore a pre-existing condition that would not be covered under workers’ compensation.
- Directly compare the employee’s risk of exposure to that of the general public through complete discovery and history of residence, travel, and illnesses, among other factors. If the employee’s risk was not greater than that of the public, the employee may not meet the bar of proving industrial exposure.
As one of the top workers’ compensation defense firms in the nation, Adelson, Testan, et al. is experienced in defending against all types of claims, including Valley Fever. Learn more about Valley Fever, including how it is spread, treatment options, diagnosis, complications, and further defense strategies by watching David Tew’s video seminar on Valley Fever on YouTube.