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Fire team to appeal workers' compensation over rabies scare

One thing people need to know is if there are instances when workers' compensation won't cover an injury. For example, if you have shoulder injuries from your job, they're likely to be covered. However, if your medical provider warns you about conditions you could develop, those likely won't be covered. They're called prospective injuries, and there is no coverage for them.

A good example happened in December 2018. A fire company reported to the scene of an accident during the summer. The driver of the vehicle that had crashed was having seizures and was foaming at the mouth. Both of those symptoms are suggestive that the driver was suffering from rabies.

In this instance, the driver's tissue samples were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that they could be tested for rabies. However, the samples were lost. When they were lost, the firefighters had no option but to go through several weeks of prophylactic treatments. If they hadn't, they could have ended up with rabies as well.

Once the tissues were tested, the test was inconclusive. So, it's likely that the team would have needed the prophylaxis regardless. The trouble from this is that workers' compensation doesn't cover prospective injuries, like the potential for exposure to rabies. The team plans to appeal the workers' compensation insurer's decision since the total cost was around $80,000.

Workers' compensation is supposed to cover you for any injuries you receive on the job. Situations like this could fall into a gray area, so it's important to take steps to guarantee protection.

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