Understanding Workers’ Comp During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The world will forever look different because of the coronavirus. It’s impossible to find a single person — anywhere in the world — who has not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. Many people lost their lives, millions have lost their jobs, and virtually everyone has been dealing with overwhelming anxieties, worries, and fears.

There are hundreds of aspects that have drastically changed because of COVID-19. According to Bloomberg Law, workers’ compensation is no exception.

Every year, 4.7 million American workers suffer a work-related injury, according to the National Safety Council. That’s one work injury every seven seconds! Approximately 42% of employees say they’re likely to quit a job with substandard tech. That’s understandable, but employees need to take a look at an organization’s workers’ comp policy and evaluate whether or not the job is worth it — especially during these trying times.

Healthcare workers and emergency responders have been working tirelessly over the last few weeks, while many Americans quarantine safely inside their homes. These essential workers will likely benefit from some of the new rules being implemented around workers’ compensation that will enable them to collect benefits if they came into direct contact with someone who had COVID-19.

It’s important that employers are staying up-to-date on these changing rules, as well, and prepare for the likely end result: skyrocketing premiums.

“If everybody who gets sick on the job is able to file a compensation claim and everyone is successful, it may bankrupt a company,” said Michael Duff, a workers’ comp professor at the University of Wyoming.

Workers’ comp attorneys are paying close attention to these changing times; taking a look at who is eligible to receive benefits, how a worker can prove they came in contact with a COVID-19 patient or they caught COVID-19 on the job, and how will an influx of claims impact organization’s premiums to insurance carriers.

If you were exposed to the coronavirus at work and your employer has asked you to remain home in quarantine, you may be facing lost income. Thankfully, many people in this situation are eligible for paid sick leave, thanks to the expanded sick leave provided under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Many workers might not have access to sick leave. Those employees may be eligible to at least get temporary disability payments through workers’ comp in order to help cover wage loss. However, it can be very difficult to get these benefits unless you’re a healthcare provider or first responder who treated an infected patient.

An estimated 88.5 million metric tons of cement was produced in the U.S. during 2018. This is an essential industry that, unfortunately, has a lot of injuries occur every year. So for those injured on the job before the COVID-19 pandemic, they still have every right to at least attempt to receive benefits for wage loss.

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important you know your rights when it comes to on-the-job injuries and workers’ compensation.

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