COVID-19 Could Qualify for Workers' Compensation
The Carlo Law Group is honoring the Shelter in Place (SIP) order issued by the Governor of California and we are presently operating in a telework mode until the SIP is lifted. We are addressing the needs of our clients as well as accepting new clients by working remotely via telephone, video, and e-mail. We can be contacted at (408)292-2003.
With regard to the COVID 19 Crisis itself, please be mindful that if a worker contracts COVID 19 then that could be a workers’ compensation case. Diseases are occupational in nature and compensable under the workers’ compensation system if we can prove that the worker contracted the virus because their work created a special or increased risk that is materially greater than the exposure to the general public. This will likely effect workers in essential work environments (health care workers, first responders, police, fire, grocery, etc.). We do not need to prove any particular exposure, but rather we must prove the infection was reasonably medically probably caused by work. An example would be a grocery cashier who is handling multiple transactions a day with the general public, or a hospital worker dealing with COVID 19 patients, or the ambulance driver who took the patient to the hospital, or any of the first responders who are doing their essential work at this time.
It is probable that the insurance industry will deny such claims, but they may be worth fighting for. The workers’ compensation system will pay the medical bills without deduction. Think of a worker who recovered and was on a ventilator for 3 weeks. Such a worker would likely be facing a $30,000.00 medical bill even if they had good insurance. A successful industrial claim could wipe out that debt. More catastrophically, consider a worker who passes from the disease. Shouldn’t their family be entitled to industrial death benefits? We certainly think so. Finally, a workers’ compensation claim can provide both lifetime medical care and permanent disability payments for reduced lung capacity, etc.