Are you eligible for a workers’ compensation claim if you were exposed or contracted the Coronavirus otherwise known as the COVID-19?
This is a question most blue-collar and white-collar workers are seeking an answer to.
In most states in the country, it will generally be difficult to claim workers’ compensation unless you are a first responder like a paramedic, a police officer, an EMT, a firefighter, or medical personnel. The state of Missouri has in fact enacted an emergency rule that allows any First Responder who has contracted COVID-19 to claim compensation under the Missouri Worker’s Compensation law, on the presumption that they contracted the disease in the line of duty.
What about all the other workers in the state or the country? If you live in Missouri and you believe you contracted COVID-19 because of exposure to the infection while on the job, you should speak with an experienced Missouri work injury lawyer to understand if you are eligible for workers compensation.
Workers’ Compensation for Infectious Diseases Like COVID-19
The Workers’ compensation claim in most states usually covers diseases that are contracted in the line of work or what is known in legalese as ‘occupational diseases’ that arise due to or during the course of the employment. While this clearly differentiates between common infectious diseases like the flu, for example, it would only be right to say that the recent pandemic may not necessarily be considered in the same category.
While eligibility criteria for occupational diseases vary from state to state, you can with the help of an experienced Missouri workers’ comp attorney corroborate that:
- The nature of your job in particular caused you to contract the illness or put you at a greater risk of exposure to the disease compared to others.
- The illness was contracted on account of a specific exposure that happened while you were on the job.
However, this may be very difficult to prove especially when it comes to a disease that is widespread across the community.
Are There Exceptions?
While most states have made First Responders eligible for workers’ compensation in case they contract the disease, this is generally not available to the rest of the working population. However, some states may allow you to qualify for compensation even if your job does not fall under the category of First Responder, as long as you have strong evidence to prove workplace exposure.
Many feel that that COVID-19 should be considered as an occupational hazard especially if you been forced to travel for and to work during the pandemic and have as a result been put under a high risk of exposure. There is also a demand that the benefits available under Missouri Workers’ Compensation laws should also extend to employees and workers contracting the coronavirus.
Taking legal advice is the best approach in case you feel you have contracted the disease owing to the nature of your work. Speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to understand what your rights are when it comes to making a workers’ compensation claim.
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