Does a COVID-19 Infection Constitute a Workplace Accident?

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As lockdowns are lifted and as people gradually return to work, there are many fears that need to be quelled in order for people to be able to perform their job responsibilities properly. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and there is still a real threat of infection whenever you’re out in public.

The difficult truth here is that even many of us aren’t ready to return to work, we need to in order to provide for ourselves and our families and ourselves. Stimulating the economy again will also help mitigate, if not prevent, full economic collapse, and prepare us for the eventual recession that’s bound to follow. It’s only natural to be concerned for your own safety and security these days.

It’s important to know what we’re getting ourselves into when returning to work and what remedies are available to us in the event of a worst case scenario. One thing to determine is whether a COVID-19 infection can be deemed a workplace accident.

The importance of knowing this is so that we are able to take the correct legal measures in order to lessen the financial blow of medical treatment. So, without further ado, let’s discuss whether a viral infection can be a workplace accident and if you’d be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim.

What Is a Workplace Accident? 

An accident is defined as a physical or mental injury that is the result of an incident or an exposure to a dangerous substance. However, just because an accident happened at work does not automatically make it a workplace accident. It’s important to establish a causation between the work and the incident, as well as the injuries sustained.

These causalities include:

  • That the claimant was performing his or her duties related to the job at the time of the accident.
  • That the role or position of the claimant placed him or her at the place of the accident.

Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim If I Get Infected at Work? 

The truth is it’s difficult to determine this. Some professions such as first responders, healthcare workers, correctional officers, and grocery workers are more likely to be able to successfully file a workers’ compensation claim.

However, there are complications that must first be addressed. While healthcare workers and first responders are given special protection in that they are presumed to be eligible for a worker’s compensation when they come down with certain illnesses, it’s going to be difficult to file a claim based on a COVID-19 infection simply because of the virus’ 14-day incubation period. This makes it difficult to pinpoint whether the infection indeed occurred in the workplace. It then becomes a question of proving that the infection happened while the claimant was working. The best way to prove this is with an expert witness, which teams from The Knowles Group are experts at handling.

These are dangerous times, even when community quarantine restrictions are starting to relax. It’s important to always prepare for the worst case scenarios, especially when treatment for COVID-19 is expensive. Know your rights as well as the measures that can protect you. May you stay safe and stay aware, gentle reader.

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