For most Americans, life has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. To date, though some have been more fortunate than others with fewer infections, no state has been completely spared. Workers and their families have lots of questions regarding the coronavirus and workers’ compensation during COVID-19.
Getting sick from this pandemic means lost wages, missed work, medical bills, and more. If an individual contracts COVID-19 as a result of their job, are they covered under workers’ compensation?
The short answer here should be, yes.
Got Covid-19 On The Job? Should You File A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Again – short answer – yes.
If an employee is injured on the job or becomes ill as a direct result of their job, they fall under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Most people are familiar with more cut-and-dry situations, such as if a worker falls and gets hurt on the job, or if they’re injured by machinery or a flying/falling object. These are situations you hear about every day and would obviously be covered by workers’ compensation. Other situations, however, fall into the gray area for workers’ comp.
For example, would getting hit by lightning or being stung by a bee qualify an individual for workers’ compensation benefits? A link would have to be established between the injury and employment. Situations like this could easily end up in front of a judge. When all is said and done, an office worker struck by lightning would probably have less of a chance of a successful claim than would a roofer suffering the same fate.
The same kind of scrutiny could be applied to coronavirus cases for workers filing workers’ compensation claims. For example, it would make more sense for a nurse working with sick patients or a grocery store employee coming into contact with the general public to make a COVID-19 workers’ compensation case than it would for a remote-based office employee.
A lot this may depend on whether the employee arguing the case was deemed an “essential worker.” an “essential worker” is the employee having contracted the disease. While the definition of an essential worker varies according to different regions, the seriousness of contracting this illness remains a constant. Regardless of the circumstances, if any individual feels they contracted the coronavirus as a result of their employment, they should contact a lawyer to make sure that their rights are represented and fought for.
According to the North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act, there are limitations in place that dictate when you can sue an employer or be covered by workers’ compensation. In many situations, lawsuits brought against employers that involve the coronavirus may, at the very least, need to be heard in court. As more and more cases are decided, this will likely set a precedent for current and future cases.
Your best course of action is to retain an attorney with experience and knowledge in workers’ compensation rules and regulations as well as the latest precedents set by COVID-19.
Are you an essential worker who has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you have a loved one who contracted COVID-19 through their place of work and is now sick or has died as a result? Did you try filing a claim for workers’ comp because you feel you contracted the coronavirus while working, but your claim has been denied? In each of those cases, you have rights! We will help you to protect them.
Contact us at Cardinal Law Partners today for a free consultation.