After two months of being under stay-at-home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic, each of the states, including New York, have begun some degree of reopening. While many businesses had shut their doors during this time, with some employees working from home, but millions of others laid off, the only employees really at risk of contracting the virus were essential employees, such as health care workers, emergency responders, grocery workers, and others. However, as more of the workforce ventures back to work, increasing the number of employees who could become infected on the job, the question of when is coronavirus covered by workers’ comp becomes even more critical.
The answer to this question is a complicated one and requires the legal expertise of a workers’ compensation attorney from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. to help navigate through the NY workers’ compensation system. If an employee becomes infected with the virus and they believe they were infected from contact with someone connected to their work, like another employee or a customer, then they should contact an attorney from our firm.
As each state navigates through the question as to when coronavirus will be covered by workers’ comp and whether or not there should be laws passed that will answer that question, then each claim will be evaluated individually. Each state determines its own workers’ comp laws, so what one state classifies as a work-related or occupational condition, another state may not. For example, some states stipulate that in order for a condition to be deemed an occupational illness, the condition may only develop during the course of the employee’s job duties and there it may not be a condition that the person could also have been exposed to outside of their work.
This means in some states, COVID-19 could be classified as an occupational disease and, therefore, the employee could qualify for benefits, but in other states, a worker in the same situation would not qualify.
Qualifying for Workers’ Comp
Even if your state is one that does recognize COVID-19 as an occupational condition, you will still need to prove that you contracted the virus through your work. In order to make that determination of when coronavirus is covered by workers’ comp, the following questions will need to be answered:
- Was the employee performing duties or functions connected to their job when they contracted COVID-19?
- Could the employee have been exposed to the virus somewhere else other than their job?
- Do any other workers have the same symptoms, or have they also been diagnosed with the virus?
- Did the duties associated with their job put the employee more at risk for catching the virus (i.e. nurse, EMT)?
- If they had not been on the job, would the employee still have been exposed to COVID-19?
- Is the employee able to identify a specific event or source of exposure that occurred while they were working that resulted in their COVIDd-19 exposure?
Call Our Office Today
If you have been exposed to COVID-19 at work and need to know when is coronavirus covered by workers’ comp, our firm can help. Call Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C. to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.