The Covid-19 pandemic is unlike anything the United States has experienced in many, many decades. It is a nationwide and worldwide problem impacting daily life for nearly everyone – not just those who fall ill. It is safe to say that when it comes to this kind of medical crisis in modern times, the United States is in uncharted territory.
How the Coronavirus will impact our work environments long term is still unknown. But there is a question that workers and employers alike are asking right now: Is an employee who contracts Covid-19 covered in any way under standard workers’ compensation laws and policies?
The answer to this question will almost certainly evolve over time, and may differ depending on the state one works in. But based on current policies and practices, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Coronavirus work injury lawyer team at Rispoli & Borneo P.C. can make some well-founded inferences.
Is Covid-19 a Compensable Occupational Disease?
Coal miners who develop black lung have suffered an occupational disease – one that arises “out of and in the course of employment.” The same is true for workers who develop mesothelioma after decades of working with or near asbestos. These are occupational diseases that likely wouldn’t have developed but for exposure in the workplace.
Covid-19 is somewhat more likely to be considered an “ordinary disease of life,” which many states exclude from workers’ compensation coverage. That being said, it should also be clear that the Coronavirus is not ordinary in the same way that the common cold or flu are. It is aggressive and can be deadly, and it is easily transmissible when people are in close quarters with one another (as they would be at work).
Many workers’ compensation insurers are likely to bristle at being asked to compensate Covid-19 because infection rates are so high and because it might be hard to prove that someone caught the virus at work. However, exceptions could be made for those in certain occupations, such as medical workers and “essential” private-sector workers like grocery store employees. If you are concerned that working in close proximity with others led to your Coronavirus infection, it’s important to speak with our Elizabeth, NJ Coronavirus work injury lawyer instead of making any assumptions about your case, as this area of law is evolving quickly.
Are Workplace Injuries Covered if Suffered While Working From Home?
The pandemic has many employees working completely remotely right now and for the foreseeable future. Remote work isn’t new, but the number of employees now working from home and the percentage of at-home work is new.
If you are a remote employee and are injured at home while on the clock for your employer, are your injuries compensable? The answer in most cases is “yes,” but your claim may be in for a lot of additional scrutiny from your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer.
It can be difficult to prove exactly how, when and under what circumstances an injury occurred in your home. Workers’ compensation insurers have a vested interest in denying claims, so they may try to argue that your injury was not work-related or did not arise “out of an in the course of employment.” Filing a claim may be a headache, but you are technically entitled to workers’ comp after most at-home injuries related to work, so it’s a good idea to speak with our Elizabeth, NJ Coronavirus work injury lawyer team if you were injured at home while “on the clock,” regardless of your injury or accident “type.”
Contact Us To Discuss Your Case
Whether you are seeking compensation for Covid-19 or an at-home work injury, you may find the process much easier and ultimately more successful with the help of an experienced Coronavirus work injury lawyer Elizabeth, NJ residents trust. Call us today to discuss your rights and options. We look forward to speaking with you.