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Workers Compensation for COVID-19

Who are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if diagnosed with COVID-19 or are quarantined because of it?

During this time of uncertainty, millions of Americans are wondering what they can expect regarding their workers compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 or are quarantined because of it. In addition, family members who have lost a loved one due to this pandemic will need compensation benefits as well.

At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann, we are here for you. We are continuing to do business via email and phone. Please call us today at (314) 361-4300.

Workers’ Comp for First Responders

According to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on April 8, firefighters, police, and other first responders will be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are quarantined because of it according to an emergency state rule. According to Gov. Mike Parson, the rule creates the assumption that a first responder was exposed to the virus while on duty.

Even though the order will not go into effect until next week, it will apply retroactively for first responders who have already been diagnosed with Coronavirus or who are under quarantine.

According to Jefferson City police officer Jeremy Bowman, the virus has impacted many first responders across the sate of Missouri, including 8 officers in St. Louis who have the virus and 55 who are under quarantine. In Springfield, 13 officers are quarantined while several more are awaiting test results. In Kansas City, 5 have the virus and another 25 are quarantined.

Workers’ Comp for COVID-19

Under certain circumstances, claims that meet certain criteria for exposure will be considered on a case-by-case basis. So the answer to whether or not coronavirus is compensable under workers compensation is maybe. Workers comp laws do provide compensation for “occupational diseases” but exclude “ordinary diseases of life” such as the common cold or the flu.

However, there are specific occupational groups that arguably have a higher probability for exposure such as first responders and healthcare workers. Some other questions to consider might be whether or not time away from work during recovery or quarantine would be considered temporary disability or just normal sick time.

When to File a Claim

In order to file a claim for workers’ compensation regarding COVID-19, the worker must be able to prove that their occupation created a greater likelihood for them to contract the disease because of their job. This would certainly be the case for first responders and healthcare workers.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or must self-quarantine due to exposure and you have any questions regarding your workers’ compensation benefits, call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann today.

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