What To Know About Workers’ Comp During the Coronavirus Crisis
The Coronavirus crisis has changed the way that we go about our business.
Many workers have lost their jobs. Other employees are continuing to work under extreme conditions.
Workers worry about what they’re exposed to and the dangers that they may be bringing home to their families when they leave work. They wonder if life and work will ever be the same.
Workers in essential positions might wonder how the risks of novel Coronavirus impact workers’ compensation rights. Essential workers, including doctors, nurses, medical support personnel, grocery store clerks, restaurant workers and emergency responders, are all at risk.
In most cases, they’re already acutely aware of the dangers they face by going to work each day.
How does the workers’ compensation insurance system apply for COVID-19 cases?
Here’s what you need to know about workers’ compensation benefits and the novel Coronavirus.
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COVID-19 Is Impacting Work in the United States
With the rise of Coronavirus in the United States, the working landscape has changed drastically. Many Americans are transitioning to working at home. Even at home, however, there are risks, and your workers’ comp rights apply.
Many employees still report to their work locations every day. However, their work may have changed. Restaurant servers may now be preparing take-out orders. They may have even become the delivery drivers.
Emergency responders and health care workers are working long hours and bracing for the worst.
New sanitation standards are in place for virtually all employees. Workers are being told to wash their hands, keep their distance from others and remain vigilant.
At the same time, a large percent of the workforce is out of their jobs. For example, restaurants in New York State alone report a $2 billion loss of revenue in March 2020 alone. Those losses translate to lost income for workers.
Whether you’re out of work or continuing to work with dangers, COVID-19 has quickly changed the working landscape in the United States.
Does Workers’ Compensation Apply to Contracting COVID-19?
What you need to know about workers’ comp during the Coronavirus crisis is that workers’ compensation applies during the pandemic. Whether a worker contracts COVID-19 or they’re hurt in another type of work accident, an injured worker has a right to claim compensation.
Workers’ comp covers acute physical injuries like slip and fall accidents. However, it also covers occupational diseases and exposure to chemical dangers and other physical risks. When an essential worker contracts Coronavirus,
it’s possible for the worker to receive payment for medical care and replacement income. A victim must carefully document their case to comply with all of the requirements for claiming compensation.
RELATED: How to Document a Workers’ Comp Injury
Workers’ Compensation and Coronavirus
Workers’ compensation laws apply to Coronavirus claims. If you suspect that you contracted Coronavirus at work, that’s grounds for protection from the workers’ comp system. Workers’ compensation laws cover medical care, lost income and permanent disabilities.
Whatever your losses because of contracting COVID-19 at work, the workers’ compensation system can provide a fast and clear path to compensation. You must take the appropriate steps to file the claim and document how you contracted the virus while working.
Compensation for Sickness – FECA Coverage and COVID-19
For federal employees, the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) is the law that applies to injuries resulting from contracting the novel Coronavirus at work.
FECA covers employees while they are at work, whether the employee lives and works in the United States or abroad. Employees abroad may also have coverage for tasks incidental to work, like eating and travel.
FECA may be the method that a federal civil employee uses to claim compensation when they are hurt at work, including COVID-19 claims.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help an employee file their claim.
How Can I File a COVID-19 Claim?
Generally, each state has its own system for workers’ compensation claims. In all cases, you need to tell the employer about your injury as soon as you’re aware of it. Typically, you create an accident or illness report.
In Nevada, if you miss work or if you receive medical care, you must complete additional paperwork, including an Employee Claim for Compensation.
The doctor sends the form to the workers’ compensation claims insurance agency for review. It’s vital to comply with workers’ compensation laws and provide all necessary documentation in order to file a COVID-19 claim.
When Will a COVID-19 Claim Likely Be Denied?
A COVID-19 claim will likely be denied if you haven’t made a timely report to your employer as soon as you’re aware of your diagnosis.
It may also be rejected if you don’t have a medical professional complete the paperwork and back up your claims with medical information. You must prove that you contracted COVID-19 at work.
Although that might seem like an impossible task, you can document your exposures and working conditions to substantiate your claim. A workers’ compensation attorney can provide you with the assistance that you need to make your claim a successful one.
RELATED: 5 Reasons Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Was Denied
Fighting For Your Workers’ Comp Rights During and After the COVID-19 Crisis
Although it might seem impossible to make a workers’ compensation claim based on a COVID-19 diagnosis, you have rights. Your rights include workers’ compensation benefits when you deserve them because of a work-related illness or injury. A COVID-19 diagnosis can be the basis of a workers’ compensation claim.
With diligence and determination, you may receive fair and timely payments through the workers’ compensation insurance system.
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