The COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) is the latest infectious disease that has emerged with a huge impact worldwide. Over the last two months since the first US case of coronavirus was confirmed, there has already been an impact to the Workers Compensation (WC) environment.
At least 10 states have issued mandates for coverage of coronavirus. The mandates vary by state, but they include coverage for testing and visits to emergency rooms or urgent care facilities either in-network or out-of-network without deductibles or copays. These measures, if expanded to more states, could have the impact of limiting claim activity in the WC market in those cases where only testing or quarantine are necessary.
While WC laws provide compensation for “occupational diseases” that arise, many states exclude “ordinary diseases of life,” like the common cold or flu. There are people in occupations that arguably would have a higher probability for exposure such as healthcare and other essential workers. However, even in those cases, there may be uncertainty as to whether the disease could justify a WC case. Some states require clear and convincing evidence that the virus was acquired at work as opposed to exposure on the street, in a restaurant, or from a friend or family member. This burden of proof imposes a barrier to receiving benefits.
Your Legal Options
Our attorneys are currently evaluating cases related to COVID-19. If you contracted COVID-19 while on the job, please contact us through this simple form or our toll-free number, 800-598-0314. You might be entitled to compensation for medical bills associated with your condition, pain and suffering, and more.