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Can You Receive Workers’ Comp If You Contract Coronavirus on the Job?

Posted on in Workplace Injury

Larimer County workers compensation attorney coronavirusNow that the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared COVID-19 (coronavirus) a pandemic, this pervasive virus brings with it a slew of legal concerns. One such concern is whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you contracted coronavirus while working. The answer to this question is complicated. However, if you take certain factors into consideration, you will have a better understanding as to whether filing a coronavirus workers’ comp claim is an option for you.

Does Coronavirus Qualify You for Workers’ Comp?

The average cold and flu typically do not necessitate workers’ compensation claims, since they are usually not serious and can be handled with paid time off or sick time. However, coronavirus is more complex. This highly contagious pandemic can mean life or death for some people. Even if you contract an infection while working, but your symptoms are mild, you could still transmit it to family and friends who might be more susceptible to life-threatening conditions resulting from the virus. In that sense, it is more dangerous than most illnesses that you might contract at work.

Since this virus is so new, the insurance and legal professions are rushing to catch up with the times. Some workers’ comp policies are being amended in light of the coronavirus. Employers and employees alike are reinterpreting the policies already set in place. Some states, specifically Washington, are already requiring workers’ compensation benefits for those exposed to the virus while at work.

What makes you and your exposure to the coronavirus on the job qualifiable for workers’ comp benefits? Ultimately, it has to do with your type of work and working environment, as well as your risk levels relative to that of the general public. If going to work and doing your job puts you at the same risk of infection as the general public, then odds are that your workers’ comp case is not very strong. However, if your job requires you to come in contact with multiple people who may be infected, or if you work in locations that are more susceptible to contamination, then you might be awarded workers’ comp benefits.

Factors that Could Bolster Your Coronavirus Workers’ Comp Claim

There are a few factors to consider before filing a workers’ compensation claim that is related to COVID-19. The success of your claim stands a greater chance if:

  • Your work requires or required you to travel in “hot zones” and/or crowded public spaces, which put you at greater risk for the virus.

  • Your workplace is located at or near sites where there are documented cases of coronavirus.

  • The type of work you are responsible for completing, or the industry you are in, involves dealing with people who are more likely to be infected, such as working in the healthcare field.

  • You have detailed, documented proof that your exposure occurred at your job.

In addition, it is worth noting that workers’ comp claims, if awarded, can be determined on the basis of exposure alone, since exposure can lead to quarantining, monitoring, and other measures that lead to lost wages.

Contact a Larimer County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

With coronavirus now affecting nearly every part of people’s lives, the likelihood of contracting—or even simply being exposed to—this highly contagious virus has increased at an alarming rate. This is especially true of many workplaces. If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim for issues related to COVID-19, contact a Fort Collins personal injury lawyer at 970-225-2190 for a free consultation. The qualified team at Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. will walk you through the steps and strategies necessary to achieve success in a workers’ compensation claim. 

Sources:
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/coronavirus-factors-insurance-industry-to-consider-part-3-liability-and-workers
https://www.ncci.com/Articles/Pages/Insights-COVID19-WorkersComp.aspx
https://www.hrmorning.com/articles/coronavirus-workerscomp/

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