This is a complex issue with opposing views. Workers can suffer different types of injuries or contract occupational diseases, but there is no precedent for the novel coronavirus, which is known as COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a coronavirus that has been categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and it has shut down businesses, led to stay at home orders from local governments, and killed tens of thousands of people. Since COVID-19 is unique, there is no legal precedent for workers’ compensation cases involving the virus. At the same time, you may file for workers’ compensation benefits as an injured or sickened worker.
Should I File an Injury Claim?
You may choose to file an injury claim if you contract COVID-19 at work. You may claim that you contracted COVID-19 from your work environment and the scope of your employment. You can show that you would not have contracted the virus if you had not been asked to perform your job duties in a certain manner. Since there is no precedent, you should collect as much information as possible so that you can show your job clearly caused your injury.
Is COVID-19 an Occupational Illness?
If you file a workers’ compensation claim for an occupational disease, you are saying that the incidence of the disease is far greater than it is in other industries.
Again, the course and scope of your employment comes into play. You must show that you would not have contracted the virus if you worked in a different industry. For example, doctors and nurses are more likely to contract the virus than others because they work with sick patients every day.
What Else Should I Know?
If your employer is aware of a situation that could expose employees to harm, it must be reported to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier in seven days. Additionally, your employer and the insurance carrier must reply to your reported injury in 21 days. Your employer can do so without admitting to anything, but may choose to avoid responsibility entirely.
There is also a seven-day waiting period in Pennsylvania before wage loss benefits are paid. Your employer or insurance carrier may take this time to determine their liability in the situation.
Your employer might also pay your entire salary in lieu of workers’ compensation benefits. This, however, does not mean that your employer is not liable for treatments, injuries, or other medical issues.
These cases might be difficult to prove, but you have a right to file a claim if you believe you contracted COVID-19 at work.
Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Injured Workers Who Have Contracted COVID-19 at Work
Speak to one of our Chester County workers’ compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC for assistance with your workers’ compensation claim. We will develop a case that helps you recover damages that were caused by your employer’s negligence. Call us at 610-594-1600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve injured clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.