Nearly 7.5 million people have been impacted by COVID-19 throughout the U.S. Of those people, more than 200,000 Americans have died due to the novel coronavirus.
As society continues to adjust to the new social norms of the pandemic, not all companies and schools around the country are making public places as safe as they should be. Some business owners have been lenient about enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing in their stores. This type of negligence jeopardizes the health and safety of those around them.
If you or a loved one contracted the virus in a public place or at work, you may be wondering whether you should speak with a workers’ compensation attorney. In the following article, we will discuss the most frequently asked questions involving COVID-19 and injury claims.
What should I do if I contracted the virus at work?
If you were infected with the virus at work, you should consider all of your legal options. The best way to recover compensation for medical bills and other damages caused by your illness is to speak with an attorney right away. This includes:
- Contacting a workers’ compensation attorney
- Obtaining legal advice about your illness
- Determining when your sickness arose at work
Workers’ compensation is the type of insurance provided by companies to cover the expenses paid by employees after suffering any work-related damages or illness on the job. Your attorney will help you determine whether your sickness arose on the job and get you the compensation you are owed.
Should I file a COVID-19 lawsuit?
If you’re ever injured due to someone else’ negligence, you should always file a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, medical bills, lost wages and emotional stress can quickly add up and place a heavy burden on you and your family.
Your attorney will negotiate with insurance on your behalf so that you can focus on recovering.
Is there a time limit to filing a COVID-19 injury lawsuit against an employer?
The simple answer is yes.
Like most personal injury cases, filing a claim for a COVID-19 lawsuit expires two years after the illness occurred. So if you contracted the virus in March of 2020, then the statute of limitations will not expire until March of 2022.
What is workers’ compensation exclusivity and does it apply to COVID-19 and injury claims?
If you are injured or contract an illness on the job, your exclusivity remedy means you can obtain workers’ compensation benefits. However, this does not allow you to sue an employer for civil damages.
State laws vary greatly when it comes to determining whether an illness or death from COVID-19 is covered by a workers’ compensation program in your state. Some states are starting to recognize an exception in cases where negligence and intentional harm is present. These exceptions include:
- Employees were denied access to proper COVID-19 protection equipment
- Employees were given untruthful information about the safety of the workplace
States like California have even adopted a rebuttable presumption that if certain employees contract the virus at work, they are covered under workers’ compensation.