The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an immense amount of stress and uncertainty not only nationwide but throughout the world. You have probably felt the effects of this ongoing public health crisis one way or another – whether it be through contracting the disease, having a loved one become infected, or in many cases, disrupted work.
Countless Americans, especially healthcare providers and essential employees on the front lines, have been infected with the viral disease while working. This has resulted in lost wages and financial burdens for many people and their families. Since proving that you contracted COVID on the job is difficult to do, there is a chance that you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits you’re rightfully entitled to. If you’ve been denied benefits, don’t give up. Here are steps you should take to improve your chances of receiving workers’ compensation benefits for contracting COVID-19 on the job.
Is COVID-19 Considered a Work-Related Injury?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, exposure to an illness or disease while on the job could qualify a person for workers’ compensation benefits. More specifically, COVID-19 can be considered a work-related illness or occupational disease in the state of Pennsylvania. However, it is subjective based on the nature of someone’s work and how they may have been exposed.
Healthcare workers and essential employees working with the general public can be covered by workers’ compensation for contracting COVID-19 at work. If you have been working on the front lines and have contracted the coronavirus, resulting in lost wages and time away from work, you should seek workers’ compensation benefits.
How Do I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits for COVID-19?
If you believe you have been exposed to coronavirus while on the job, you should report it to your employer immediately. In the state of Pennsylvania, you have 21 days to report an illness or injury to your employer to be eligible for workers’ compensation. If you report any later, you may compromise your benefits.
After reporting your COVID-19 diagnosis as a work-related injury to your employer, your employer then has to report it immediately to their workers’ compensation insurance company. From there, the workers’ compensation insurance company has 21 days to approve or deny the claim.
What Benefits Can I Receive?
Once approved for workers’ compensation benefits for contracting COVID-19 on the job, you may be eligible to receive up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage for time missed from work and coverage for 100% of coronavirus-related expenses. These benefits extend for as long as you are out of work and need medical care.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Employer For Contracting COVID-19?
Workers’ compensation laws aim to provide employees with adequate coverage for work-related injuries without proving their employer is to blame. Workers’ compensation is provided on a no-fault basis and protects employers from litigation for illnesses and injuries sustained on-the-job, including COVID-19.
There are some exceptions to this, such as coronavirus exposure due to intentional misconduct or gross negligence and denial of benefits due to your employer’s wrongdoing. Cases where a third party is at fault, such as contact with an infected customer or vendor, may also apply. In these instances, the best approach would be to contact and consult with a legal team as soon as possible.
Freeburn Law Will Fight For You
We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented time for everyone. If you believe you have unlawfully been exposed to the coronavirus at work and denied coverage for lost wages and medical bills, you may have a workers’ compensation case. At Freeburn Law, we will fight the benefits you need to recover. For a free consultation of your case, contact Freeburn Law by submitting an inquiry form online or calling our office at 717-777-7777.