COVID-19 is the latest health threat to affect workers. Although viruses are not typically considered particularly dangerous in the workplace, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique problem for many employers. Many jobs that weren’t typically considered to be high risk are now much more dangerous for those people working them – for example, healthcare workers, public transport operators, and grocery store workers, all of who are at increased risk of developing COVID-19 than people in many other roles.
Some industries are also more likely to be affected than others. For example, people working in factories or in farms often have to spend hours in extremely close proximity to one another, sharing the same transport to and from work sites and working shoulder to shoulder for most of the day. Social-economic factors also play a part, with many of these workers coming from low-income families who simply can’t afford for them to call in sick or jeopardize their job, and as result, they continue to attend work even when they should be isolating.
Employers have a responsibility to take steps to protect their workers from the transmission of COVID-19 as much as they can. Yet there are plenty of stories at the start of the pandemic where employers were not doing the right thing and providing their workers with basic PPE such as masks and sanitizer, and in many of those instances, their employees ended up contracting COVID-19 when it could have been avoided.
As a result, worker’s compensation claims for COVID-19 have increased dramatically during the course of the year. While nearly half of these have been from healthcare workers, public safety and other government workers, retail employees and those working in manufacturers have also pursued claims.
If you believe that you have contracted COVID-19 due to exposure to the virus either at work or while traveling for your job, you may have a case for worker’s compensation. Specific eligibility requirements vary between states, but in most instances, to build a strong case you will need to be able to demonstrate two things. Firstly, that your place of work or job role caused your illness or put you at higher risk of exposure to the virus than the general population. And secondly, that you contracted the illness as a result of a specific exposure that happened while you were doing your job.
If you aren’t sure if you have a case for worker’s compensation for COVID-19, speaking to a specialist worker’s compensation lawyer can help. We can help to ensure that you get the medical care and support that you need while you are applying for the compensation benefits that you are entitled to.
There is a limited amount of time to submit paperwork and make a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. When you intend to file a claim, you need to notify your employer of your intention in writing as soon as possible – exact deadlines vary by state. Once your employer has been notified about the claim, they should provide you with the proper reporting forms for the worker’s compensation insurance provider and file the claim on your behalf. When you choose a specialist worker’s compensation lawyer, they can take much of the stress of submitting a claim out of your hands and will ensure that they put everything together to build you a strong case. This service is often invaluable, particularly for workers who are still struggling with their health, or in the event of a death, for grieving families.
If your claim for COVID-19 worker’s compensation is denied, you still have the right to appeal. It may be that you need to present a more secure and compelling case, and our team of experienced and dedicated worker’s compensation lawyers can help you to build this.
If you have been affected by COVID-19 in the line of work and would like to find out more about applying for worker’s compensation, call us today to schedule a consultation.