As the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread across communities in the United States, many companies are sending their employees home to work remotely indefinitely to protect their health and prevent the virus from spreading. However, there are still employees reporting to their workplaces for their jobs, which leaves many wondering whether or not they could file for workers’ compensation benefits if they contract the virus.
In nearly all cases, workers’ compensation eligibility requires a job-related illness or injury. While state laws provide compensation for “occupational diseases” that may arise, many statutes exclude “ordinary diseases of life,” such as the common cold or flu. Currently, it’s impossible to determine where you contracted your virus, rendering you unable to prove that you got sick at work.
In the case of COVID-19 or coronavirus, it is critical to understand the unique job that an employee was performing if/when exposed. For example, healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, first responders (EMT, Fire Fighters, Police Officers), hospital workers, and lab technicians often have a lower threshold for connecting the cause or source to the course and scope of their work.
However, other workers may be able to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if the employment subjects the employee to an increased risk compared with that of the general public. This could include the following types of workers:
- Grocery Store Workers / Clerks
- Grocery Delivery Drivers
- Food Handlers
- Restaurant Workers
- Bank Tellers / Workers
- First Responders
- Delivery Drivers
- Lab Technicians
- Respiratory Therapists
- Warehouse Workers
- Pharmacy Workers
- Pharmacy Technicians
What Benefits May I Be Entitled to If I get COVID-19 / Coronavirus From Work?
If you contract COVID-19 as a result of your employment, you may be entitled to Temporary Disability (Lost Wages), Medical Treatment, Permanent Disability, or Death Benefits. At this time, we still do not know whether or not there are any long-term effects associated with the Novel Coronavirus. Some studies have shown that there could be permanent lung damage in some people.
What If My Family Member Dies From COVID-19 / Coronavirus That Was Contracted At Work?
If an employee dies as a result of contracting the Novel Coronavirus / COVID-19, their dependents may be entitled to Death Benefits in accordance with California Workers’ Compensation Laws. These benefits are based on the relationship to the deceased worker and the amount of financial support the deceased worker gave them.
Death benefits include burial expenses and cash benefits to the dependents that the deceased injured worker supported. Death Benefits are:
- Paid to individuals that qualify as “Partial” or “Total” Dependents,
- Paid based on the amount of support the dependents received, and their relationship to the deceased
Who is Entitled to Death Benefits?
The death benefits go to an employee’s “total” and “partial” dependents. A deceased employee’s spouse to earns $30,000 or less in the twelve months before the death and children under 18 are considered to be a total dependent.
Partial dependents are determined based on the facts and circumstances of the case.
For any person to be considered a dependent, he or she must be a member of the household or a relative in the immediate family of the deceased employee or their spouse. Relatives that can be considered dependents are:
- Children (adopted or step)
- Aunts and uncles
- Nephews and nieces
To be considered a member of the household, you must have lived with the deceased employee.
If you or a loved one have fallen ill from the Coronavirus / COVID-19 caused by your employment, you need an aggressive and knowledgeable advocate on behalf of you and your family.
Illnesses & Diseases Covered by Workers’ Comp
Leigh Law Firm has years of experience helping workers who’ve fallen ill, as illnesses and diseases caused by work are also considered workplace injuries.
Common workplaces illnesses that can qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Breathing problems
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS/RSD)
- Exposure to toxic fumes or chemicals
- Certain cancers
- Heart diseases
- Psychiatric injuries
Had Your Claim Denied? We Can Help.
Benefits are often denied to applicants who are applying for workers’ compensation for the first time. Though you may feel defeated after being denied, especially when you’re still suffering from your injuries, our workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file an appeal. We can first help you understand why your claim was denied.
Common reasons for workers’ comp claim denials include:
- A health provider concluded you weren’t disabled as a result of a work injury
- Your injury didn’t occur while you were working
- Your injury was caused by a preexisting condition
- The time and place where your accident occurred is disputed
- Your work injury itself is disputed
Our attorney can gather the evidence you need in your appeal to prove that your injuries occurred at work, qualifying you to receive the benefits you need to pay your medical bills and provide income while you’re not working.
Aggressive Advocacy in Your Time of Need
After you’ve been injured in an accident, you may not be in a place where you can speak up for yourself and your rights. You could be in pain, or feeling overwhelmed by the legal process that comes with filing a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim. Leigh Law Firm aims to be your voice during this difficult time. We can advocate for you, whether you have been injured at work or by another negligent party, by filing your documents, investigating your accident, or fighting for the compensation you deserve in court. You don’t need to fear employer retaliation when our team is standing by your side.
Call our caring workers’ compensation attorney if you’ve been injured or have fallen ill at work at (619) 473-7569, or contact us online. Leigh Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients, proving our commitment to advocating for those in need of financial support.