If you contracted COVID-19 on the job and are receiving workers’ compensation, you may be wondering if your benefits will cover any potential long-term symptoms.
Around 10% of people who suffered from COVID-19 have experienced post-acute sequelae, meaning the illness has caused long-term symptoms that persist after they’ve recovered from the condition.
People are experiencing a variety of symptoms, from weakened respiratory muscles to PTSD and even brain fog. With the right additional treatment, however, it seems that most post-acute sequelae subside, and people can fully return to normal.
However, if you contracted COVID-19 at your job, can you get benefits for post-acute sequelae as well?
How Workers’ Compensation Works
Workers’ compensation laws in Missouri are designed to help injured workers get access to essential medical treatment and other benefits if they get injured at their place of work or get sick because of their environment.
The law also recognizes that certain injuries require long-term treatment, so therapies and rehabilitation programs are also covered in the worker’s comp program. If you break your arm at work, worker’s comp will generally cover the costs of your immediate medical needs. But, if after you take the cast off, you and the doctor notice you’ve lost some strength in your arm and need therapy to regain it, the cost of that therapy will typically also be covered by the worker’s comp.
Because the loss of arm strength is essentially an additional symptom or consequence of your work accident, the law recognizes that you should not have to pay for the additional treatment yourself.
Does This Apply for COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on worker’s comp programs across the country. If you contracted the virus because of your job and have accessed workers’ comp benefits to get treated and time off work, you’re naturally wondering if any long-term effects that need medical attention will still be covered under the program.
From a legal perspective, it should generally be covered. Any complication or long-term effect of an illness or injury sustained at work generally remains eligible for compensation. However, workers may encounter some difficulty when it comes to getting their treatment approved.
You have to effectively show how the symptoms you are experiencing are directly connected to COVID-19 or that the disease has made a pre-existing condition worse. For this to happen, you will likely need to go through additional medical tests ordered by the insurance company to determine if additional treatment is needed.
What Can You Do to Get Compensated?
The best thing you can do if you’re experiencing post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 is to get in touch with a Missouri worker’s compensation attorney and have them look over your case. In the end, it may all come down to how you can prove to the insurance company that your additional treatment still falls under the coverage of workers’ compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can review your case and help you understand the best way to proceed.
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