In the midst of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis, some people have to continue working on the job–despite hazardous working conditions. For others, the pandemic has made it seem impossible to access their rightful workman’s comp benefits at a time when they need these payments the most.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many areas of our lives, it shouldn’t impact your right to a safe work environment and to the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
If you have questions about filing for or accessing workers’ compensation in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the law firm of Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons is here to help you navigate these uncertain times. For over 40 years, our experienced workers’ comp lawyers have been helping hardworking people across Oklahoma pursue the compensation they’re owed for workplace injuries and illnesses.
Don’t delay the fight for the workers’ comp benefits you’re owed. You don’t even have to leave the house. To get started, contact Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons right away by phone or through our online form to schedule a free consultation. Your free, remote consultation can be done via phone or video conference.
Will Workers’ Compensation Cover Coronavirus?
While the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved quickly, employers are still responsible for taking proper precautions to protect employees. In most circumstances, workers’ comp coverage is meant to help protect workers exposed to a range of hazardous environments, including workplaces where employers don’t follow proper procedures to keep their employees safe.
Current federal and Oklahoma laws and policies seem to indicate that workers might be eligible to receive workers’ comp if they contract COVID-19 on the job. However, laws surrounding coronavirus are still being developed.
Employers must do all they can to provide a workplace that is free from hazards that are likely to cause serious harm or death, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and directives. Per OSHA, this includes taking measures to help prevent occupational exposure to COVID-19. In hazardous environments, OSHA usually requires employers to provide employees with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators, gloves, and eye and face protection.
What Evidence Would You Need for a Coronavirus Claim?
If you think you might have COVID-19 and you have not received medical attention for your illness, it’s critical to see a physician as soon as possible. They can help determine whether you have coronavirus, and they can help you get the treatment you need. This will help reduce your risk of death from the virus, and it can lessen the chance that the virus will cause you long-term complications.
Your doctor can also provide you with a medical report that will serve as a vital piece of evidence if you file a coronavirus claim since it can show that you contracted the virus and can help prove that your illness is work-related. However, a coronavirus diagnosis alone doesn’t automatically make you eligible for workers’ comp.
Since people can be exposed to coronavirus in many different locations, it’s also essential to gather additional evidence to show you were exposed to COVID-19 as a direct result of work and not in some other environment. Your claim could be denied if it’s possible you contracted the disease somewhere else.
Collecting this evidence might be difficult for employees who work in fields other than healthcare, but it might still be possible to get workers’ comp if you can prove that your employer did not properly protect employees from exposure to the virus.
For example, if you contracted the virus after your employer forced a coworker to come to work even though they were sick, then relevant evidence might include things like pictures of your work environment. Other vital evidence might include communications on the company’s sick leave policies or their response to sick employees.
In another scenario, if you got COVID-19 after your company forced you to visit a client, attend an event in-person, or travel for work, then you might be able to claim workers’ comp. Even if your employer was following the latest CDC coronavirus recommendations, you might still be eligible for benefits. Since workers’ comp is a no-fault system, employees can typically file no matter who was responsible for their workplace illness or injury.
Considering the confusing government guidance surrounding COVID-19 and the rapidly changing environment, it’s critical to work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. They can help you determine which rules apply to your specific case, help you gather necessary evidence, and help you fight for your legal rights.
Which Workers Infected by COVID-19 Qualify for Workers Compensation?
Just because an employee might have been exposed to coronavirus on the job doesn’t mean they would automatically qualify for workers’ comp benefits. These benefits are generally designed to compensate people with wage replacement payments and coverage for other expenses like medical treatment when they’re suffering from a work-related injury or occupational illness.
Under this standard, only workers who contract COVID-19 directly while they are acting within the scope of their employment are likely to qualify for workers’ comp. That can be a difficult fact to establish.
The workers’ compensation system often looks to whether the claimant’s work exposed them to a greater threat of disease than what the general public faces. This could prove to be a critical analysis in determining whether you can recover benefits for work-related coronavirus.
Know When You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In the midst of these uncertain times, it’s critical to have an experienced workers’ comp attorney on your side to patiently answer your questions and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact the knowledgeable and compassionate workers’ compensation attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons today to get the critical information you need on workers’ comp benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Call us or contact us online for your free consultation.Get Started