Law Office of James M. Hoffmann Articles Coronavirus and Workers Compensation: What You Need to Know

Coronavirus and Workers Compensation: What You Need to Know

By James Hoffmann  Apr. 20, 2020 10:10a

Everyone in the entire world is talking about the Coronavirus. Now that the total number of cases has risen, many Americans are seriously worried about their own health and safety.

It's important to note that there is no cause for mass alarm. Washing your hands throughout the day and practicing social distancing may be key to protecting you. But, as with any other type of virus, some people can be more exposed to than others.

So if you get infected and need treatment for the Coronavirus, can that be eligible for worker’s comp?

It May Be, but It Depends on Your Job

You are generally only eligable for workers comp when the injury or illness of the employee directly results from their work. In the case of the Coronavirus, you may be more exposed to it if you have a job that requires you to interact with a lot of people on a daily basis, such as:

  • Cashiers

  • Receptionists

  • Waiters

  • Store clerks

  • Cleaning staff

  • Department store clerks

  • Customer service personal, etc.

If you have one of these jobs and contract the Coronavirus from a customer, then your treatment, as well as the time off work may be compensated by this insurance plan. The rationale here is that you got infected because of the requirements of your job. If not for your job, you may not have come into contact with the sick individual, and therefore not have gotten the virus yourself.

It’s also possible to be compensated if you contract the virus from a co-worker or the people you come into contact with during your job. But, if a friend or family member is sick, and you get the virus from them, compensation is not available.

You Still Need to Prove It

Even if you’re sure you got the virus at work and are eligible for worker’s comp, the insurance company may not be as convinced. It’s very likely they will ask for proof to make sure they don’t end up paying for treatment on cases that are not eligible for worker’s comp.

This proof is essential to getting your claim approved and getting treatment. And it can consist of:

  • Proof you did not travel to affected areas

  • Tests of family members (or people you live with) to show they do not have the virus

  • Co-worker testimony that can prove you were interacting with a customer who was visibly sick

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus is contagious, so it’s possible to contract the virus at work, and then infect a family member as well. If one family member is sick, the insurance company could argue your illness is not work-related.

What Can You Do?

If you suspect you are sick, and there is a chance you have the Coronavirus, follow the instructions of the local authorities and your healthcare provider. Then, get in touch with a St. Louis worker’s compensation lawyer for help protecting your legal rights.

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