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Can I file a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Exposure to the Coronavirus?

  • Will Ward, Esquire
  • 03/17/2020

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has issued guidance indicating that workers who are exposed to coronavirus, or COVID-19, at work may file workers compensation claims for an occupational disease or as a typical work injury claim. For those unfamiliar with how workers compensation works, view our worker’s compensation guide for more details. But in short, workers’ compensation benefits provide wage loss benefits and medical benefits for injuries and occupational diseases caused by an employee’s job.

First and foremost, if you believe you have come in contact with someone with the coronavirus or if you believe you yourself have contracted the virus, you should follow the CDC guidelines. That means adhering to self-quarantining and other best practices to prevent the spread of the virus. With that said, if, for example, you are a nurse in an emergency room or a police officer, who is then diagnosed with coronavirus, or directed to stop working due to potential exposure to the virus while at work, you should not be forced to use your personal sick time or health insurance during the time you are out of work. If your Employer is directing you to use your sick or vacation time while you are out of work with the virus or following a work order to self-quarantine, you have a strong case for workers’ compensation benefits.

Here at PK, we are aware of the hardship the impacts of the Coronavirus is having on working-class families. While a lot of media coverage has concentrated on the difficulty facing families with parents who cannot go to work due to being kids home from school or businesses closing, less time has been spent addressing those of us who continue to work during this crisis. If you work in the healthcare industry or are a civil servant, you are already aware of your time working on holidays or working then night shift, that your job doesn’t simply stop because the rest of the world has the day off. In fact, your services during this crisis are now more in demand than ever. We want workers to be aware that if you contract the coronavirus as a result of work, you may have a claim for money and medical benefits. If you have questions regarding whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and would like to speak to an attorney please contact our office at 215-627-0700.