The global spread of COVID-19 has led to some drastic actions from our state and federal government. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in order to help prevent the spread of the deadly respiratory disease. Hopefully, this “stay at home” order will slow the spread of this virus, but thousands of people have already been exposed, and some have been exposed at work.
This of course begs the question, can workers exposed to COVID-19 at work receive worker’s compensation? The answer is both yes and no.
Generally speaking, it is incredibly difficult to pinpoint the point of someone’s exposure. Many people are infected and are showing no symptoms, which means that a healthy looking person at the grocery store, at your gym, or in the same vehicle as you can spread the disease to you without you even being aware. However, there are professions in which exposure at work is incredibly likely.
Healthcare workers and first responders are on the front lines of this pandemic, which is why several states have decided to guarantee worker’s compensation benefits for anyone in these fields who contracts the Coronavirus. Other worker’s compensation claims regarding the contraction of this disease while at work will be handled on a case-by-case basis. It is not impossible to be awarded benefits for COVID-19, but it is not guaranteed either.
The first step will be proving that you are actually suffering from COVID-19 and not another seasonal illness like a cold, allergies, or the flu. The symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. According to the CDC, trouble breathing, persistent pain or chest pressure, inability to wake up, and bluish lips or face are considered emergency warning signs. If you suffer from any of those you need to seek medical attention immediately.
If you are in fact suffering from COVID-19 and believe you contracted the horrific illness at work, then call us to discuss the details of your situation. If we believe that a worker’s compensation claim is likely to go through, we can assist you throughout the process. This is a frightening time for everyone, so stay at home barring any necessary or emergent situation. Together, we can help to prevent the further spread of this disease.