COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation for Healthcare Workers

April 24, 2020

Coronavirus Workers’ Comp for Doctors, Nurses, and Other Healthcare Workers

Are you a healthcare professional who was exposed to COVID-19 at work? We can help you get workers’ comp benefits. Call us at 215-546-0011 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. Due to social distancing protocols, we are meeting with clients virtually and over the phone. Let us help you get the benefits you need and deserve.

Coronavirus is an Occupational Disease or Injury

While this has yet to play out among insurers and the workers’ comp courts, it is likely that coronavirus will be treated as an occupational illness or disease, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. It may also be considered a workplace injury, depending upon the nature of your work. If you contract COVID-19 at work, you must show that it is more likely than not that you would be exposed to it due to the nature of your work.

Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals should be able to show that the nature of their work places them in close contact with patients, exposing them to a patient’s bodily fluids and airborne particles from an uncovered sneeze or cough. Because a coronavirus carrier can be completely asymptomatic, there is no way to screen patients for the disease except by testing. Testing itself puts healthcare workers in harm’s way.

Frequent hand-washing and use of safety equipment such as masks and face screens can reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus, but not eliminate it. Healthcare workers are on the front line of the battle against COVID-19, and there will be some casualties. Those exposed to the coronavirus at work include:

 

  • Doctors
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Nurses assistants
  • Orderlies
  • Medical Transport
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Coroners
  • Hospital administration and staff

Other healthcare professionals such as dentists, ophthalmologists, GPs, chiropractors, and the like also have a strong argument that the nature of their work puts them at risk of contracting COVID-19. First responders rendering first aid, such as firefighters, police, paramedics, and EMTs are also at risk.

What to Do If You Catch COVID-19 at Work

In Pennsylvania, you should report your illness to your employer within 21 days of contracting it or knowing that you contracted it, or up to 120 days thereafter. Your employer will report to the insurance company, which will either accept it as compensable under workers’ comp or deny it.

If your illness is accepted as compensable, you will receive a Notice of Compensation Payable. If it is denied, you will receive a Notice of Compensation Denial.

What to Do if Your COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied

You have three years from the date you contracted the coronavirus or became aware you contracted the coronavirus to file a Claim Petition. Your Claim Petition will be assigned to a workers’ comp judge in the county in which you live, and you, your employer, and the insurance company will be notified as to the date, time, and location of the Claim Petition hearing.

We have helped thousands of workers get their claim paid. Contact us and we can help you if your workers’ comp claim was initially denied.

What Workers’ Comp Benefits Can I Get if I Catch the Coronavirus at Work?

You will receive lost wages if you miss more than one week of work due to COVID-19. Lost wages are calculated at ⅔ of your average weekly wage for the year before your injury. After an initial seven-day waiting period, you will be compensated for lost wages as long as you are out of work due to the coronavirus.

All of your medical expenses will be covered for as long as you need treatment for the coronavirus. Most COVID-19 victims have mild symptoms and recover within a few weeks; however, for those who are over age 65 or have underlying health problems, the symptoms can be severe and result in death from fever or respiratory distress.

Permanent Partial or Total Disability Benefits for the Coronavirus

COVID-19 is a new illness, and we do not yet know its lasting effects. People with severe symptoms can suffer acute respiratory distress (ARDS), which is respiratory failure due to sudden widespread inflammation in the lungs. Some patients who survive ARDS must remain on a ventilator. More commonly, those who have suffered ARDS and survived have a decreased quality of life due to chronic shortness of breath.

In these cases, you may be eligible for disability benefits through workers’ comp. Call us and we will help you get your coronavirus disability claim paid.

Workers’ Comp Cases During Social Distancing

In Pennsylvania, petitions and answers are being processed electronically, and for existing claims, the Department of Labor and Industry has established a temporary telephonic hearing protocol. Claims processing is delayed, but no claim will just be dismissed.

If you caught COVID-19 at work and your workers’ comp claim was denied, contact us for help. We are ready to fight for your rights, in person when we can, and electronically and over the phone during these extraordinary times.

 

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