The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the American workforce in a myriad of ways. Workers have experienced layoffs and reduced hours at one end of the spectrum, and burnout from too much work at the other end of the spectrum. Many workers have transitioned into remote working situations, while others feel like they live at their job. Additionally, safety protocols and practices have changed for healthcare providers, office workers, factory operators, and all others alike. Unfortunately, despite altered safety protocols, many workers are falling ill on the job.
It’s important to understand that the treatment of work-related Covid-19 contraction within the workers’ compensation system is still evolving. Each state and the District of Columbia has its own workers’ compensation system, thus there are more than 50 different approaches to Covid-19 workers’ compensation claims. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to schedule a virtual consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you learn that you have tested positive for the virus and it is possible, probable, or certain that you contracted the virus at work.
Covid-19 and Workers’ Compensation – “It Depends”
Most of the time, workers’ compensation doesn’t apply to illnesses easily contracted by community spread, like the flu. Community spread of these illnesses is so commonplace that their contraction cannot easily be tied to exposure in the workplace. Covid-19 is easily spread in the community, so one would think that contraction of this disease wouldn’t be covered by workers’ compensation. However, the pandemic has created some unique circumstances that make contact tracing a reality. As a result, it is often possible to determine when and where (at least, in a “most likely” sense) someone contracted the virus. This is one of the many reasons why some workers can seek workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages, medical bills, and other eligible costs tied to the contraction of Covid-19 at work.
Another reason why some workers are receiving compensation awards tied to Covid-19 contraction is that some states have enacted presumptions that workers in certain industries who contract Covid-19 became infected while at work. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department determined early on that it would presume that any officers who fell ill were exposed to the virus on the job.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you’ve tested positive for Covid-19 and it is possible, probable, or certain that you became ill as a result of exposure at work, it’s important to call an experienced lawyer, like a workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, to explore your options. This area of law may still be evolving and may not yet be straightforward. However, an experienced lawyer will know what questions to ask and how to get you answers to the questions that are understandably making you anxious right now. A good law firm will be happy to serve workers who have been injured or made ill as a result of work-related activities. Contact a law office today for more information.