Since the spread of the coronavirus began, many workers have been affected in various ways. Some in high risk occupations, such as healthcare workers, are near sick people on a daily basis and they may be exposed to the virus. If these workers do contract the virus, they will probably have to quarantine themselves for weeks and lose their wages in the process.
Workers compensation claims in general
As a general rule, workers compensation helps those who have suffered from injuries related to their job by paying them their normal wages for all of the hours that are missed. The traditional requirements to receive workers compensation are usually fairly basic. They often include doing paperwork to prove that a true work related injury happened during the course of normal job duties, and possibly a test to prove that the worker was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time. However, the virus makes this process more complicated.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect workers compensation claims?
There does not seem to be a concrete answer to this question. Workers must show that an illness or injury was due to their job, so merely contracting the virus will generally not be sufficient grounds for a compensation claim. The workers who have the strongest argument for receiving benefits are nurses, doctors, first responders, and others in healthcare related fields who need to come into close contact with infected people as part of their job duties. However, because of the high volume of coronavirus cases, it may not necessarily be easy to prove that the virus was contracted while working. There may be some instances where workers are required to show a specific event or work related activity that they believe caused them to contract the virus, along with other conditions that must be met.
In other words, most states require that a worker show evidence that their illness or injury was contracted while actually on the job, and not just general exposure while out in public.
State regulations can change the analysis
Each state will have slightly different rules and regulations for what kinds of claims are considered sufficient to proceed.
For example, in Greenville and the rest of South Carolina workers are subject to some fairly harsh requirements when it comes to these claims. If there is an equal possibility of exposure to an illness, virus, or disease outside of work, the claim may not proceed.
Other states protect first responders across the board regardless of when or where a sickness was contracted.
Learn more about workers compensation and coronavirus
To speak with an attorney who focuses their practice on workers compensation claims in the Greenville, South Carolina area, contact The Hayes Law Firm LLC. They can answer your questions during this difficult time.