Do You Need A Lawyer to Help You With Your COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claim?
April 22, 2020
Do you work in the healthcare industry and contracted the coronavirus? What if you don’t work in the medical field and you caught COVID-19 at work? Either way, you may be eligible for workers’ comp.
COVID-19 may be treated like an occupational disease, similar to asbestosis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals and staff who must work closely with patients will likely be covered under workers’ comp if they contract the illness at work. Other healthcare workers are probably covered as well. And, there is a category of workers besides health care professionals who may qualify for workers’ comp benefits depending upon the nature of their work.
If you caught COVID-19 at work, you might be eligible for compensation. Call the attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates at 215-546-0011 to find out. Because we are following social distancing protocols, we now offer free, no-obligation consultations virtually and over the phone.
Are Medical Professionals and Staff Eligible for Workers’ Comp if They Contract the Coronavirus at Work?
You may be eligible. To be covered by workers’ comp, the worker must first show that they are an employee and not an independent contractor. Then the worker must show that exposure to COVID-19 is likely or unavoidable due to the nature of their employment, that they contracted the illness at work, and that they incurred medical expenses and lost wages due to the coronavirus.
Hospital Workers May Be Eligible For Workers’ Comp
Hospital workers, whether doctors, nurses, nurses’ assistants, administrative intake staff, or orderlies, should be able to show that exposure to COVID-19 is part of their regular work duties. The coronavirus is now community-spread, and many carriers are asymptomatic, so the only bone of contention will be whether the worker contracted the illness at work or elsewhere.
Other Healthcare Workers May be Eligible for Workers’ Comp
Other healthcare workers, such as laboratory technicians working with samples from COVID-19 patients, EMTs and medical transport personnel who transport COVID-19 patients, and coroners performing autopsies on those who die of COVID-19, may also be eligible for workers’ comp.
In fact, any worker who is regularly exposed to people’s’ bodily fluids in the course of their employment should be eligible for workers’ comp, such as these, among others:
- Dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists.
- Physical therapists.
- First responders rendering first aid – EMTs, Police, Fire.
- In-home healthcare aides.
- Nursing and rehab center staff.
The attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates have helped thousands of workers prove that their illness was contracted at work and get them the benefits they needed and deserved. Contact us to schedule your virtual meeting with a workers’ comp attorney.
Will Workers’ Comp Cover other Types of Workers if They Contract the COVID-19 Coronavirus at Work?
It depends upon whether the worker contracts the coronavirus in the course of their usual work. Not just any worker will be able to get workers’ comp for COVID-19 even if they did catch it at work. If being exposed to airborne moisture particles or infected surfaces is not part of your daily work routine, then the claim will not be covered under workers’ comp.
Workers’ compensation law will likely treat COVID-19 as an occupational disease, like carpal tunnel syndrome. For a worker to get workers’ comp for an occupational disease, they must show that it is more likely for them to catch that disease in the course of employment than people who don’t work that type of job.
It’s easy to see how medical professionals and staff can satisfy this criterion; however, other types of workers may have a persuasive argument that the nature of their work places them at risk for contracting the coronavirus.
Workers in Jobs Where Social Distancing is Impossible May Be Eligible for Workers’ Comp
Workers Who Must Work in Close Proximity to People to do Their Job May be Eligible for Workers’ Comp
In some professions, social distancing is impossible. Obviously this is the case for medical professionals and staff as well as first responders. But what about massage therapists? Acupuncturists? They may also have a workers’ comp claim. What about a barber? A fingernail technician? A fitness instructor? How about a tailor, or a make-up artist?
Until COVID-19 victims start to file workers’ comp claims, we cannot know whether claims will be paid or denied. But if claims are denied, an argument can be made that someone who is forced to work in close proximity to people, when coronavirus carriers are often asymptomatic, unknowingly exposes themselves to COVID-19 with every customer or client.
Workers Who Cannot Avoid Exposure to a High-Density Population at Work May be Eligible for Workers’ Comp
Workers who are regularly and unavoidably exposed to a high-density population may get workers’ comp benefits because it is impossible for them to maintain a six-foot distance from people. Anyone who works in a school, a daycare, or a prison falls into this category.
If you cannot follow social distancing protocols and do your job, and you’ve caught the coronavirus, we can help you show that the nature of your work made it more likely than not that you would contract the illness. The fact that many coronavirus carriers are asymptomatic works in your favor. Call us – we will help you get the benefits to which you are entitled.
Other Workers May Not Be Covered by Workers’ Comp for COVID-19
Most jobs do not require workers to be in close proximity to people. If an infected client, customer, or coworker exposes you to the coronavirus, workers’ comp may not apply if just encountering another person at work is not related to your job description.
Even if you think your claim may be a weak one, know that whether you contracted COVID-19 at work as a part of regular duties is a fact-specific inquiry. Don’t give up – consult with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer about the facts of your particular case.
It May Be a Challenge to Show that You Caught the Coronavirus at Work
Workers’ compensation only applies when an illness or disease is contracted at work or in the course of work. The coronavirus is wide-spread already and we now know that people carrying COVID-19 may be asymptomatic for up to two weeks, all while very contagious. Any worker can unknowingly encounter asymptomatic carriers while at work and elsewhere.
If you catch COVID-19, you will have to prove it happened at work. Whether or not protective gear, such as facemasks and gloves were provided to you will matter. Reach out to us to discuss the facts of your particular case.
Consult with an Experienced Workers’ Comp Law Firm
If you catch the coronavirus, know that while it is unlikely to be fatal, you may incur medical expenses if symptoms become severe, and you will lose wages because you are ill and quarantined. These are the very reasons you should file a workers’ comp claim.
To protect our clients and ourselves, Larry Pitt & Associates is now providing free virtual and phone consultations. Call us at 215-546-0011 to discuss your case.