Protecting Your Rights at Work
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many wondering if they are covered under workers' compensation if they get sick. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, but most workers will generally be covered if they catch the virus at work. Here's what you need to know about workers' compensation and COVID-19.
Workers' Compensation Defined
Workers' compensation insurance covers medical care and potentially lost wages for employees if they experience an injury or illness related to their job. It also often compensates employees for permanent impairments or disabilities resulting from the accident.
The coverage, including what therapists and doctors are approved by the insurance and what types of treatments are eligible for reimbursement, varies depending on the state where the employee works. This type of insurance typically includes coverage for occupational diseases and injuries that happen performing work duties, regardless of who is found to be at fault. Most businesses must have workers' compensation coverage so their employees can access financial assistance when needed.
Contracting COVID-19 in the Workplace
As COVID-19 continues to sweep the world, workers everywhere have been asking more questions about workers' compensation insurance regarding COVID-19 infection. The simple answer is that workers' compensation provides coverage for workers infected with COVID-19 while on the job. However, it is important to note that workers must prove that the infection was acquired through their job for a subsequent workers' compensation claim to be approved.
Additionally, workers' compensation programs vary from state to state regarding coverage of COVID-19, so workers should familiarize themselves with the laws in their respective states before filing claims related to workplace infections. Knowing your rights as an employee and making sure you're aware of all available insurance options can go a long way toward minimizing exposure and getting back on your feet if you're affected by COVID-19 on the job.
Filing a COVID-Related Workers' Compensation Claim
If you have contracted COVID-19 through your work, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. To file a claim, first, obtain medical evidence confirming that your illness is work-related. You will then need to prove that your condition arose due to and during employment. Generally, you will file paperwork through your state's department of labor detailing background information such as employment details, diagnosis, and treatment. You may need to provide additional documents, such as supporting statements and time cards, to support your claim.
Depending on the laws applicable to where you live, there may be specific directives regarding the types of forms and proof needed when filing a claim for workers' compensation due to contracting COVID-19 at work. Collecting this necessary documentation in an organized manner can help simplify the process significantly.
COVID-Related Workers' Compensation Claim Challenges
Filing a successful workers' compensation claim for COVID-19 infection is proving to be difficult because many of the resulting illnesses and symptoms can be attributed to various underlying conditions or other viruses. It's important to remember that the burden of proof lies with the employee filing the claim. They must provide evidence that their present illness is directly attributable to their work environment or duties.
Also, time frames are crucial in filing a COVID-19-related workers' comp claim. Most state laws require claims for coronavirus-related issues to be filed within specific deadlines after diagnosis. Claimants should research the guidelines for filing within their particular state before initiating a claim, as failure could put their chances of receiving compensation at risk.
Work with a Workers' Compensation Attorney
Although worker's compensation insurance can provide essential benefits if you are infected with COVID-19 at work, filing a claim can be challenging. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 at work and are considering filing a workers' compensation claim, it is essential to reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process and protect your rights. The workers' compensation attorneys at Slusser Law Firm have experience handling these types of claims and can offer guidance throughout the process.
Contact us today by calling (570) 405-9953 or visiting us online for more information about how we can help you with your workers' compensation claim.