The pandemic impacts many parts of our life here in Indiana. Now with non-essential workers getting called back into work and businesses reopening, there are reports of an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations.
Workers are now contracting the virus because they or a family member returned to work or have not observed all social distancing guidelines. While employers have done their best to institute safe working conditions that allow workers to return, these measures may still not be completely effective. This can lead some workers to file for worker’s compensation for contracting COVID-19.
Practical tips for employers
Employers need to follow federal, state and local restrictions if they choose to reopen the workspace. Employees need to prove they contracted the virus at work, so following safety protocols and expecting employees to follow appropriate precautions (social distancing, sanitation, health screenings) will reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading at work and prompt an employee to file a claim.
Insurers will analyze the claim based on the following:
- The claimant’s job duties
- The on-duty exposure
- The claimant’s exposure outside of work
Steps employees can take
It is important to focus their recovery, but employees strengthen the likelihood of their claim’s approval by doing the following:
- Immediately isolating themselves
- Notifying their manager or employer as soon as they have symptoms, mainly if they think they contracted it at work.
- Seeking medical care if the case is severe, and to also document the illness.
- Keeping records of the symptoms, healthcare treatment and when they notified their employer.
- Providing test results or records of the diagnosis by a medical professional if they took no test.
Legal guidance may be necessary
It is common for insurance carriers to deny a worker’s compensation claim or not award compensation that the worker feels they deserve, which can lead to an appeal. Those who appeal often find it useful to work with an attorney who can help them with this challenging process.