The global coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered “normal” life for everyone. However, while about ⅓ of the American workforce can continue to work remotely, the rest of the workforce is either unemployed or leaving their homes daily to work an essential job. For those on the front lines, whether health care workers or grocery store workers or otherwise, their health can be at risk every time they report to work.
What are the current plans for workers’ compensation in regards to COVID-19 illnesses acquired at work? Right now, as with everything related to coronavirus, things are evolving.
Workers’ compensation claims will likely hinge on how much of a risk there was for exposure to the virus. For example, a nurse, physician, or respiratory therapist working in a hospital will have a much higher risk of exposure to coronavirus. A grocery store clerk would still have a risk of coronavirus exposure, but it would be more of a medium risk. Finally, an employee that chooses to go to work when they are not essential and that has little contact with the general public will be at a much lower risk of coronavirus exposure.
If someone is exposed to coronavirus at work and contracts the disease, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, it will depend on individual state law and the company’s insurance policy. For right now, things are pointing toward extended workers’ compensation coverage that will cover coronavirus claims. Governor Pritzker recently signed an executive order stating essentially if an essential worker contracts COVID-19 it is presumed work related. https://wcla.info/resources/Documents/COVID-19%20Page/Notice_of_Emergency_Amendments–2020-04-13.pdf
If you have been exposed to coronavirus at work and have contracted the disease, first make sure you are safe and well cared for. Then, consider contacting the team here at Grewer Law in order to begin your workers’ compensation strategy. Not only do we have the litigation experience to advocate for your needs, but we also have the healthcare experience to truly understand your medical history and exposure.
Protect yourself and stay safe, but if you are exposed to coronavirus at work, ensure you also seek appropriate compensation. We would be honored to help you along the way.