Off The Record TRR Workers’ Comp Covid 19 in the Workplace
So, some people have been calling us and asking about…you know, due to the COVID pandemic, asking about workplace environment, and if they do contract COVID, if they feel they’ve contracted it at work, what are the steps to take in order to file a claim? Because you may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you contract COVID at work. The situations where we’re seeing this happen, obviously, are in hospitals or essential worker settings, such as utility workers. What has happened recently is we’ve gotten calls from nurses, or doctors, or even a lineman at PSEG who contracted it.
So, the way it works is like any other workers’ compensation case. If you feel that you’ve contracted the COVID at work, one of the steps to take is you have to go get a test. If you’re deemed positive and you believe you’ve contracted it at the workplace, then you should file a claim. How do you prove that you contracted it at work? Because, technically, we can contract it anywhere. The key elements are the doctor has to write something up stating the history, your diagnosis, and the connection, the causal relationship between the work environment and the diagnosis. So, for example, a nurse who works in a hospital, if there’s an outbreak there and he or she contracts the COVID, that would be a viable claim as opposed to someone who works in a setting, maybe in an office with people spread out and they get the COVID. Well, they could have caught it at the supermarket, or at the mall, or anywhere else. So, you have to have a pretty close nexus between what you’re doing, and your work environment and the actual diagnosis.
Utility worker. We had a lineman call, like I said, for PSEG. And he had contracted it. It turned out that three or four people that he was working with also contracted it. The doctor wrote it up that it was likely that they contracted it at work. They filed the claim, and they were eligible for benefits. You’d be eligible for your medical treatment, and if you have to be out of work, possibly two-thirds of your pay while you’re out. There are different scenarios in terms of payment. Some employers will allow you to take sick or vacation time. Some will say, “Just file the claim through workers’ compensation and have the insurance cover it.”
But the main thing is, since these are all new waters to all of us, is if you’re uncertain, you should call us, and we’ll go through the fact pattern with you, and make sure that if you do have a viable claim that you get it filed properly and timely. Long-term, you know, hopefully, there’s no long-term residuals, and the goal would be to just get medical treatment and have your disability, the time you’re out, have that covered. If there are any long-term results, that would be why it’s important to file the claim if you feel you did contract it at work. So, just, you know, keep an eye out. Don’t be afraid or hesitate to call if you’re uncertain because this is our new normal. All right. Thanks.