Workplace Exposure to COVID-19

Workplace Exposure to COVID-19

Steven Schwartzapfel May 26, 2020

Frontline Workers are risking their lives daily to fight COVID-19, but what happens when workplace exposure endangers their health? A COVID-19 diagnosis will result in a few weeks of lost time at work at the least, medical bills, potential permanent respiratory impairment, and in severe cases death. Workplace exposure to COVID-19 is covered under the Workers’ Compensation Laws of New York but infected workers will have to establish that they were exposed to the virus in the course of their employment. Workers should expect insurance carriers to fight these claims especially in cases of death, as the insurance carrier would be responsible for lifetime benefits and/or a lump sum death payout to surviving family members.

In cases of hospital workers including staff, nurses, and doctors there is a more direct link between exposure at the workplace and the COVID-19 diagnosis. In cases of maintenance workers, custodial staff, grocery clerks, HVAC technicians, and union laborers the nexus may be more difficult to establish but made easier with the help of an experienced attorney. New York State Workers’ Compensation Law gives the injured worker a presumption of compensability for workplace injuries, and due to the more direct link between exposure at the workplace and the COVID-19 diagnosis the presumption may be easier to establish for nurses, doctors and hospital staff. Other workers will have to establish that the only place he/she was exposed to COVID-19 was at the place of employment, which can be done through affidavits, documentary evidence and testimony.

Employers have the burden of rebutting the presumption of a work-place injury. Do not let your employer discourage you from filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. It is important to know your rights so that you can protect your and your family’s future.

Exposure to COVID-19 While at Work May Entitle You to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

  • MEDICAL BENEFITS – Payment of hospital bills, No co-payments or out-of-pocket expenses.
  • COMPENSATION FOR LOST TIME – Temporary weekly checks and potential permanent disability for continuing symptoms/disability and bodily damage.
  • COMPENSATION FOR PERMANENT IMPAIRMENT – Lump-sum payment and/or weekly payments for Lost Wages as a result of COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • DEATH BENEFITS – Lump-sum benefit or weekly checks payable to spouse and surviving family members.

Contact our office for information about your rights. It is important to know your rights, protect your health and ensure your family’s future.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

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