Brad Pistotnik Law
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Can You Receive Workers' Compensation for COVID-19?

Can You Receive Workers' Compensation for COVID-19?

Can you file a workers' compensation claim if you contract COVID-19? What steps should you take to document your injury and establish that it is indeed a work-related injury? The fact is that no one anticipated a major pandemic this year, and the millions of Americans it would impact. As a result, states are scrambling to introduce legislation and amend existing workers' compensation rules to account for COVID-19 exposures. Many states have already updated requirements for claiming compensation in this regard, and in many cases, the steps required are similar to those of other medical conditions.

Kansas Kicks Into Gear

Governor Kelly has directed the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) to reevaluate the processes required for law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers. KDOL has been directed to draft and submit temporary regulation that would provide workers' compensation coverage to healthcare employees and first responders who contract COVID-19.

It is expected that this temporary regulation would be similar to those passed in California and other states. Essentially, these presume that any individual employed in the listed professions who contracts COVID-19 has done so in the course of their employment. This presumption makes it easier for these individuals to receive compensation in a timely, efficient manner.

However, it is unknown whether the requested changes will go far enough. That is because there are many others who could potentially contract COVID-19 in the workplace. Grocery store employees, truck drivers, gas station clerks, packing plant employees, farm employees, etc. are all at risk. For these people, it remains unclear how much of a burden of proof they will need to bear in order to recover compensation from the state's workers' compensation program.

Documenting Illness and Impact

Workers who suspect they have contracted COVID-19 should receive prompt screening and testing. Individuals should record the results of their tests and document any symptoms they experience. It is also crucial that these individuals refrain from performing further work until their recovery is confirmed.

For now, it should be assumed that workers not covered under the specific wording of any regulatory change will have to prove that their exposure occurred at work. In some cases, this will be easier than others. For example, if there are numerous people in the same office or worksite that contract the virus within a short period of time. In other instances, it may be nearly impossible if the individual is the sole person impacted, or if others become sick, but at significantly staggered dates.

While most individuals will fully recover from this respiratory illness, some may experience organ damage. This can have career-limiting ramifications, and individuals should prepare to pursue SSD benefits and other forms of compensation to cover their long-term cost of medical treatment and the other expenses they may incur.

Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. Our personal injury lawyers represent clients pursuing workers' compensation claims in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. Our team will help you understand your rights and the types of compensation you can recover for your claim. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.