Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic there has been an increase in workers compensation cases in South Carolina. Workers comp covers injuries sustained in the workplace, such as a heavy equipment accident or a slip-and-fall. A lot of people are wondering if they can pursue benefits for illness acquired in their workplace. More specifically, they’re wondering “will workers compensation cover coronavirus in South Carolina” and “am I protected”?
The CDC recommends people stay home if they feel sick. However, many South Carolinians simply can’t afford the financial strain of missing work. A lot of workers are still going into work ill. Because of this, employees and business owners are wondering if workers compensation policies are available. To help the employees who get sick from others that come into work already ill.
The answer heavily depends on how the employee contracted COVID-19. Unfortunately, in a majority of cases, exposure to or infection of the disease won’t be considered a work-related injury.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers illness or injury arising out of or in the course of employment. It’s difficult to prove that an employee contracted the coronavirus specifically from work and not an outside source. So the likelihood of a claim being accepted is rather low.
However, if an employee is able to validly prove that exposure was a direct result of work, the claim may be approved.
Will workers compensation cover coronavirus for Medical Workers and First Responders?
What about the businesses that work directly beside the coronavirus epidemic, such as testing labs, first responders, medical offices, and clinics? Unlike other types of businesses, these organizations need to maintain certain protocols and keep records to minimize their risk and exposure to COVID-19. Because there’s more of a paper trail, so to speak, medical workers may have an easier time getting approval for workers comp benefits. Depending on what type of patients they work with.
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- Under certain circumstances, claims from health care workers and first responders that involve COVID-19 may be allowed. Other claims meeting certain criteria for exposure may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- In a majority of cases, exposure and/or contraction of COVID-19 IS NOT considered a work-related condition eligible for workers comp coverage.
What type of support do I need for coronavirus claim
If you believe you have enough evidence and want to file a claim for workers compensation, you’ll need to meet certain criteria.
- Whether or not there exists an increased occupational risk of contracting the disease/injury due to your role
- If you could have contracted the illness elsewhere
- If you can identify a specific point of contact or event that led to your contraction of the illness
Establishing the evidence you need to have your claim considered will be difficult, requiring meticulous records. Since the incubation period for COVID-19 is anywhere between 2 to 14 days, you’ll have to have kept a very detailed log.
Because of the complexity of the requirements for applying for workers comp for the coronavirus, workers and business owners assisting employees in filing a claim aren’t recommended to file paperwork unless they meet all requirements.
Questions about workers compensation?
If you have any questions about workers compensation and whether or not you’re eligible to receive benefits for the injury or illness you sustained in your workplace, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experienced workers comp attorneys are standing by to answer your questions and get you the help you need.