- October 16, 2020
- Attorney David Mann
- Workers' Compensation
Do you wonder, if you get COVID at work could you get workers’ comp? Yes, it is possible. You may be able to receive workers’ compensation if you get COVID at work, but whether or not you will qualify depends on the circumstances of your individual situation.
The COVID pandemic has resulted in some unique challenges for employees trying to qualify for workers’ compensation insurance. Georgia employers who have three or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to pay medical, rehabilitation and income benefits for workers who are injured on the job, including illnesses contracted at the workplace. The benefits are meant to help workers recover from their illnesses and injuries and return to work and also to provide benefits to dependents of workers who die as a result of job-related injuries.
However, workers’ compensation is insurance, and both insurance companies and employers who pay premiums benefit from paying as little as possible. To qualify for Georgia’s workers’ comp, you must be able to prove that the COVID-related medical issues you suffer were caused by your work situation. The insurance companies will often try to deny your claim, typically by attempting to prove that you contracted COVID outside of work.
If you or a loved one has gotten COVID at work, the workers’ compensation lawyers at the Mann Law Firm can help you determine whether you are entitled to benefits, fight any denials, and defend your rights to receive the compensation you deserve. We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to proceed, so call us today at (478) 742-3381.
Can You Get Workers’ Comp if You Got COVID on the Job?
Can you get workers’ comp if you got COVID on the job? Yes, it’s possible you can. You may be able to qualify for workers’ compensation due to COVID-related problems if you can show that the disease is an “occupational disease” that arose because of your employment.
According to Georgia Code section 34-9-280(2), an occupational disease means “diseases which arise out of and in the course of the particular trade, occupation, process, or employment in which the employee is exposed to such disease.”
To prove this, you would have to show the State Board of Workers’ Compensation these things:
“(A) A direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the disease;
(B) That the disease followed as a natural incident of exposure by reason of the employment;
(C) That the disease is not of a character to which the employee may have had substantial exposure outside of the employment;
(D) That the disease is not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed;
(E) That the disease must appear to have had its origin in a risk connected with the employment and to have flowed from that source as a natural consequence.”
Since COVID is a disease that you may have contracted outside of your employment and to which the general public is exposed, this definition makes it difficult to prove that it is an occupational disease. Your employer and the insurance company are likely to argue that you contracted COVID outside of the job. However, there are certain circumstances that may help your case, such as the industry you work in and the risk it exposes you to, and whether you are considered an essential worker.
For example, those working in the healthcare industry are at increased risk of exposure to the virus on the job. These individuals have a greater chance of winning a workers’ comp case than someone like an accountant or programmer who can work from home and has minimal contact with the public.
The workers’ comp lawyers at the Mann Law Firm know the law and how insurance companies operate and can look for ways that increase the chances of a successful claim. Call us today at (478) 742-3381 to get started.
How an Attorney Can Help You Get Workers’ Comp for COVID
In order to collect workers’ comp benefits in Georgia, our attorneys would have to show that you got sick on the job and that COVID was directly caused by the conditions under which you work.
For example, businesses open in Georgia are required to follow a list of health precautions, including …
- screening workers for fever and respiratory illness
- separating workspaces by at least six feet
- installing appropriate partitions if needed
- wearing appropriate PPE, gloves and masks.
If you are working a job with high risk for COVID exposure, such as a first responder, healthcare provider, or hospital, nursing home, or food-processing worker, and your employer has not taken appropriate precautions, your chances of winning are increased.
In addition, you may be entitled to benefits related to COVID even if you are not found to have a compensable occupational disease. For example, if you have been previously injured and are entitled to employment with restrictions, but your employer can no longer offer them due to problems with COVID, you may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits.
If you have contracted COVID and believe it is work-related, our attorneys can help by:
- Making sure you know what to say and do according to Georgia law. You must notify your employer within 30 days of contracting your illness.
- Making sure all forms and procedures are filled out correctly in a timely manner. According to Section 34-9-281 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, you have one year from the date you knew about or should have known of your COVID-19 diagnosis to file a formal claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Investigating your case, interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence to help prove your claim.
- Obtaining all relevant work and medical records.
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement.
- Representing you at any hearings and if you need to appeal a workers’ comp denial.
Get Workers’ Comp for Coronavirus
In a successful workers’ comp claim, our attorneys can help you get benefits that may include:
- Temporary Partial Disability – if COVID symptoms and effects forced you to work in a lesser-paying role for a period of time.
- Permanent Partial Disability – if COVID complications force you to work in a lesser-paying position indefinitely.
- Temporary Total Disability – If you must miss work entirely for several weeks or months.
- Permanent Total Disability – If COVID-prevents you from ever working again in the future.
- Medical and Rehabilitative Benefits – for the cost of your treatment and therapy.
The Mann Law Firm helps Macon, Georgia, residents obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve, so call us today at (478) 742-3381 for help.