As the number of cases and death toll increases in what is the most dreaded pandemic to hit mankind in more than a century, millions of workers suddenly have questions about the safety shield over their heads. Let us try and answer some of the questions you’ have in mind regarding workers’ compensation if you have contracted coronavirus at work.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Me Against Coronavirus?
The answer to this question is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ at the same time. There are several factors that would determine your eligibility for compensation and other benefits arising from coronavirus. These are still early days in the pandemic and there is little clarity on which workers would be receiving compensation and whose claims are likely to be denied. Here are some of the scenarios where workers may be eligible for coronavirus workers compensation –
- Workers who contract coronavirus as a direct result of their work would be entitled for compensation. In other words if the infection is due to Occupational Hazard covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Act you are likely to be eligible for compensation.
- Health and safety professionals who are in the frontline battling this disease, such as doctors, nurses, emergency workers, sanitation workers, and others that are likely to be directly exposed to this virus would be eligible for compensation.
- Workers in the travel industry such as airline staff and other modes of public transport, who may have contracted this illness while serving their clients, would be eligible.
Factors That Would Determine Coronavirus as an Occupational Disease
- The timing of coronavirus symptom would be an important factor. If the symptoms appear at work or immediately after the lockdown they may be considered as an occupational hazard.
- Co-workers falling ill due to coronavirus and others at work showing similar symptoms.
- Underlying health conditions such as respiratory problems, diabetes, renal problems, smoking habits etc. may also determine the eligibility of compensation.
It is important for you to keep in mind that the illness itself doesn’t make one eligible for the compensation, but the chain of events and circumstances surrounding this illness. This is where the role of an experienced attorney comes into the picture. At the Law Office of James E. Latimer & Associates we have been studying the effects of coronavirus on workers compensation. Please get in touch with us to know about your eligibility while filing your compensation claims.