As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are wondering if they can receive workers' compensation for long-term symptoms caused by contracting the virus. This blog will discuss the possibility of receiving workers' compensation for COVID-19 and its potential long-term consequences.
What is Long-Haul COVID-19?
In the year since the emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have seen many individuals suffer from the long-term effects of the virus. Now referred to as "long-haul COVID-19", this condition affects people who have suffered from a prior COVID-19 infection but still experience lingering symptoms lasting for weeks or even months.
Will it be Covered by Workers' Compensation?
The primary factor in determining whether workers' compensation is available for a particular illness or injury is proving that it was sustained on the job. This means that, in order to receive workers' compensation for long-haul COVID-19, an employee must be able to establish a causal link between their condition and their employment.
In other words, there must be evidence that the employee contracted COVID-19 at work or while performing a work-related task. Without such evidence, it may be difficult—if not impossible—to receive workers' compensation benefits.
Fortunately, New York law makes it unusually easy to prove that you contracted COVID-19 at work. If your job is public-facing or if you can show that COVID-19 was spreading among your coworkers when you got it, you may have a claim even without a doctor saying you caught it at work. A positive COVID test alone may be all you need, and you can start the claim as soon as you have one.
If you are claiming long haul COVID or any lost time from work for which you wish to be compensated, then you will need doctors’ reports supporting the claim.
What Benefits Can I Receive?
If you are able to prove that your case of long-haul COVID-19 is related to your employment, there may be several workers' compensation benefits available to you. These can include:
- Medical expenses
- Wage replacement
- Survivor benefits (in the event of a death)
- Funeral expenses (up to $12,500)
Which Industries are Most Affected?
Given the nature of COVID-19, certain industries and occupations are more likely to be impacted by the disease than others. These include employees in public-facing occupations such as healthcare workers, first responders, hospitality industry employees, food service workers, retail clerks and transportation workers.
Most employees will be unable to find the exact source of their exposure to COVID-19, but they can provide proof that their job placed them at an elevated risk. They should explain where they work, how often they work there, and the kind of duties they perform, especially if they involve contact with the public.
Workers' Compensation Attorneys in New York City
At Schotter Millican, LLP in New York City, our experienced workers' compensation attorneys are available to help you file a claim for long-haul COVID-19. We understand the complicated application process and can provide guidance on what evidence is necessary to make your case.
Contact us today at (718) 550-0610 to learn more about how we can help!