COVID – 19 has wrecked havoc on families across the United States since March 2020. It is everywhere and it is scary. What made COVID so scary, was not knowing how you contracted it? Did you catch the virus at work? Do you still have lingering COVID symptoms? If so, can you collect workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania if COVID prevents you from performing your job?
The short answer is yes. While there are important reporting requirements, a worker who contracts COVID-19 at work in Pennsylvania may file a claim as an “injury-at-work” claim, which is a typical hurt on the job claim that requires you to provide medical proof that you were exposed to COVID-19 in your workplace and that the exposure disables you from performing your job. This is the type of evidence that all work injury claims require. Or instead, you may file an “occupational disease” claim, which would require evidence showing that your exposure to COVID-19 occurs more in your industry or occupation than in the general population, such as nurses and medical professionals, utility workers, grocery store and retail employees, police officers, firefighters, first responders, truck drivers, and sanitation workers.
Occupational diseases are illnesses stemming from exposure to toxic materials and other health hazards at work. Many workers’ compensation claims for occupational disease involve lung disease or heart disease caused by workplace exposure to such things as coal dust, methane or carbon monoxide, arsenic or lead, toxic chemicals or solvents, and smoke or heat. Some illnesses are specifically enumerated as work-related with the employer having the burden to rebut the hurt at work claim, i.e. “black lung disease” from coal mining. For other occupational diseases, your attorney must prove that your illness was caused by your employment.
Yes. PA workers’ compensation attorney, Laura M. Brooke helped a corrections officer sustain her burden of proof that she contracted COVID-19 while at work in a prison. The injured worker sustained her burden of proof through credible medical evidence that as a result of COVID-19 she developed long-haul COVID symptoms which resulted in a heart attack and an aneurysm as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, she now receives weekly wage loss benefits as well as medical treatment for her COVID injury. These benefits are payable ongoing until those benefits are otherwise suspended, modified and/or terminated under the terms and provisions of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
Workers’ compensation is a program requiring employers to purchase insurance coverage to provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who become ill or injured on the job. Through this program, workers are provided such benefits as lost wages and medical care. In exchange, employers are protected from personal injury lawsuits by injured employees. While the federal government administers a workers’ compensation program for federal and certain other types of employees, each state has its own laws and programs for workers’ compensation, such as the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
Becoming sick and dealing with a workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania is very stressful and you need a first-rate lawyer in your corner. Please call Pearson Koutcher Law today for a free, comprehensive consultation, and let our knowledge and experience work for you.