The Massachusetts Reviewing Board recently upheld a decision in favor of an employee diagnosed with Lyme disease after being exposed to tick bites while working as a lineman. The issue in this workers’ compensation case centered on when the tick bites were sustained. The employee’s symptoms had begun potentially years after the tick bite, and the focus of the hearing before the administrative law judge was on causation.
The employee in this case worked for one company from 2005 to 2007 and another beginning in 2008. While working for Employer 1, he was often outside, exposed to tick bites. The employee explained that beginning in 2006, he endured abdominal pain, arthritic joint pain, and other symptoms that accelerated by June 2009. In September 2011, the employee left work due to the effects of Lyme disease, which is a tick-borne illness. The disease disabled him until July 2012, but one year later, he was no longer in treatment.