Employees who suffer from migraines due to their job – or have migraine conditions aggravated by their job – may wonder if they can claim workers' compensation for migraines. Migraines can be debilitating, and they are not something that can be cured by taking aspirin and getting back to work. According to the World Health Organization, migraines are considered one of the most debilitating diseases a person can suffer from. There are an estimated 28 million workers in the United States who suffer from migraines, which impacts their ability to work. Because of their severity, migraines statistically take away 157 million workdays each year.
Determining a Work-Related Injury or Illness
In order for an illness to be covered by workers’ compensation, the employee must prove that it was caused by a work-related activity. Therefore, the employee must prove that his or her work environment or duties caused or aggravated the migraine condition – and it must be something he or she can medically prove. Because physicians and researchers do not know the exact cause of migraines, and there are no documented cures, this can be difficult. This is why it is in an employee's best interest to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to assist him or her with a claim. An attorney can help prove that the work environment or duties of the job caused or aggravated a migraine condition.
Other Legal Protections for Workers Suffering from Migraines
Filing for workers’ compensation for migraines is difficult, and the majority of migraine cases are denied. However, employees still have other legal protections at their disposal. These protections include:
- Family and Medical Leave Act—The FMLA or Family and Medical Leave Act was passed in 1993. It allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave (unpaid vacation) due to adoption, childbirth, a serious health condition, or a family member’s serious health condition. Migraines fall under FMLA protection as a qualifying health condition. If your migraines are too debilitating to return to work, you can discuss FMLA leave with your employer.
- Americans with Disabilities Act—If your migraines do not entirely prevent you from working, you can request special accommodation from your employer using the ADA to ensure your workplace does not aggravate your migraines further. While migraines are not specifically listed as a disability under the act, it does fall under “mental or physical impairments that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”
Symptoms and Causes of Migraines
Understanding the symptoms and causes of migraines can help employees determine whether their condition is exacerbated by work duties. Symptoms of a migraine include upset stomach, pain in one or both sides of the head, light and noise sensitivity, prolonged headaches, and disruptions in vision. An employee's migraine risk may be worsened by his or her job duties. Risk factors that increase the chance of a migraine include disrupted sleep patterns, skipped or delayed meals, bright lights and loud noises, and certain dietary choices.
Do You Qualify for Workers' Compensation for Migraines? Contact Pothitakis Law Firm Today
There are instances where migraines can be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. To see if your case qualifies, contact the attorneys at Pothitakis Law Firm today. We can assist you with your claim and help you explore your legal options for finding relief from your work-related migraines. Call us at (319) 754-6400 or fill out an online contact form.
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