Can employees file workers’ compensation claims if they come down with coronavirus?
With several U.S. states on lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19, or coronavirus, many employers are wondering if they are required to cover their employees if they develop the highly-contagious disease. Here are some of the guidelines experts are referencing to determine the validity of coronavirus workers’ compensation insurance claims.
- Workers’ Compensation and Illness
Workers’ compensation insurance offers benefits to employees who develop illnesses “arising out of or in the course of employment.” This means that an employee can only file a workers’ compensation claim if they can directly attribute their illness to work-related exposures, duties, and risks.
- Coronavirus Outbreak
When it comes to filing workers’ compensation claims for employees who develop coronavirus, it’s important to determine if the employee’s job functions placed them at risk for contracting the disease. For instance, those working in the medical field who have direct contact with coronavirus patients would have legitimate workers’ compensation claims.
However, employees with medium risk exposure could also make strong workers’ compensation insurance cases. This includes employees who are required to travel to infected areas for business and employees who are permanently or semi-permanently stationed in infected areas. While employees who work with the general public could claim that their professional duties exposed them to coronavirus, this is a weaker argument and may not be covered.
- Protecting Staff
Employers should make an effort to protect their staff by following OHSA recommendations. These suggestions include allowing employees to work remotely to prevent the spread of coronavirus. For staff who cannot work from home, employers should provide protective equipment to shield them from respiratory exposure. Generally, employers are encouraged to exercise caution without inciting panic and poor decision-making.
This is what employers should know about coronavirus and workers’ compensation insurance claims. Do you have additional questions about your workers’ compensation coverage? If so, then contact the experts at PMC Insurance Group. We are ready to assist you with all your commercial insurance needs today.