COVID-19 is a unique coronavirus disease that was identified in 2019 and has since been declared a global pandemic. This deadly respiratory disease often affects the lungs, and it can mutate which makes treatment more challenging. The coronavirus is spread through droplets that are released into the air by infected people if they talk or sneeze. The droplets can be inhaled by the people nearby, and they contract the virus.
As a measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus, many governments introduced lockdowns and encouraged people to work from home. However, workers who provide essential services have been reporting for duty throughout the pandemic. The challenge is that there is no clear law that guarantees compensation for employees infected with the coronavirus. Read on to learn more about COVID-19 exposure in the workplace and your rights to get workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers Compensation Benefits
Essentially, workers compensation is an insurance program that aims to provide benefits to the employees who suffer an injury or illness resulting from work-related duties. If the employee is affected by specific “occupational hazards,” they are entitled to get compensation under the law. According to the law, non-compassable illnesses arising from the worker’s employment condition can be compensable if the working conditions expose them to the risk of the virus. However, the challenge is that there is no answer or clear law concerning whether the frontline workers or essential workers would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation claims arising from COVID-19 relation illnesses are controversial since the insurance companies may fight the direct causation of the disease. The coronavirus is spread in different ways, and it might take some time before a worker’s compensation guidance related to COVID-19 is established in different states. Other jurisdictions may require that the claimant proves that their employment was the direct cause of the disease.
Contact Your Workers Compensation Lawyer
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, most industries have been affected as a result of the lockdowns enforced by the government. However, certain essential workers continued to report to work thereby exposing them to the risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus. Those people who become ill due to exposure to the virus through their duties would expect to get workers’ compensation benefits from their employers, but that is not the case in other states. In certain states, the law makes it a case-by-case determination for the employees who contract the coronavirus during work.
If you contract COVID-19 due to occupational exposure to the virus, you need to pursue the workers’ compensation benefits claim under state law. You need to go through this helpful guide to gain more insight into the measures that you can take to get the benefits that you deserve. The chances are high that your employer or insurer will deny your claim for workers’ compensation benefits based on exposure to the coronavirus at work. However, you should get a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to represent you during the hearing. The lawyer will help you present evidence to the court to increase your chances of receiving the award you deserve.
Who should get Worker’s Compensation for COVID-19?
Under certain conditions, the claims for workers’ compensation for COVID 19 may be allowed to first responders and healthcare providers. First-line employees who are exposed to the coronavirus in their workplaces face several risks like lost wages and high medical expenses. On the other hand, business groups are also concerned about legislation that should protect their entities against lawsuits if a worker becomes sick or dies after contracting the virus at work. Worker’s compensation does not cover ordinary illnesses like common colds. In typical fashion, COVID-19 has a longer incubation period, and contact tracing is also difficult. Other claims that can meet specific criteria for exposure may be considered on a case-by-case framework.
Benefits that you can Get For COVID-19 Infection at Work
The insurer can pay for the employee’s treatment of COVID-19. The victim is entitled to get a portion of lost earnings due to the impacts of COVID-19. There are also additional benefits for the death of the worker or permanent disability. However, these permanent impairments as a result of COVID-19 must be supported by medical evidence. If your claim has been proved to be compensable, then you will be entitled to get the benefits.
COVID-19 is a new workplace hazard that is different from the commonplace factory injuries when the workers’ compensation laws were designed back then. It is not yet very certain that the system specifically designed for various forms of risk can play a pivotal role in facilitating compensatory claims caused by the current pandemic. While most compensation claims for COVID-19 have been denied, the policymakers ought to consider the drawbacks and potential benefits of the workers’ compensation program to the global pandemic.