The COVID-19 pandemic has opened up a whole new avenue of potential workers’ compensation claims. If you believe you were exposed to coronavirus and caught the virus while on the job, then you might be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits. As we’re still in the early stages of this healthcare crisis, pinning down exactly where and how someone contracted the illness could be complicated. However, with the high expenses associated with respiratory care and a condition that could keep you from working for weeks or months, it’s worthwhile to explore your options.
Facts that could have a heavy bearing on your COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim include:
Where the exposure occurred – If you are looking to receive workers’ compensation benefits in any type of case, you need to show that the injury or illness occurred in the course of normal job duties. This can be very complicated in a coronavirus claim, especially with a shortage of available tests. Information relating to co-workers or others who happened to be in your workplace and then tested positive could be persuasive.
Income lost during quarantine – Many people were forced by a doctor or employer to remain home because of workplace contact with someone suffering from COVID-19. In these situations, lost income might be replaced even if the claimant never showed symptoms of the illness. This can vary by state, so it’s important to consult with a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer to understand the standards that apply to you.
Specific job-related dangers – Over the first month of the crisis, healthcare workers have comprised a significant portion of the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. Cases involving employees in high-risk fields will likely receive more favorable treatment. Also, governments might take steps to protect these individuals. For example, Illinois has guaranteed that certain essential employees who believe they contracted the virus on the job will receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Since not all COVID-19 exposures will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you understand how the facts in your situation might be applied if you pursue reimbursement for medical expenses and lost income.