Does Workers’ Compensation Cover COVID-19 Contracted At Work?
If you don’t have the option to work remotely, you are at risk of contracting COVID-19 just by showing up to work. If you get sick, will the medical and financial consequences of your illness be compensable through workers’ compensation insurance?
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer that covers all or most claims. The policies governing workers’ compensation coverage are developing and changing as the pandemic wears on. Nonetheless, you will hopefully find the following information to be a helpful guideline.
Proving the Source of Virus Exposure
Insurers will likely try to argue that an employee’s illness cannot be traced back to their job. Currently, in Maryland, the burden of proof is on the employee to show that he or she contracted the disease at work.
If you are considered an essential worker (health care, law enforcement, first responders, etc.), you may have an easier time linking exposure back to your workplace because you are regularly in direct contact with those who have the virus. Workers considered nonessential are likely to face more pushback on their workers’ compensation claims. Unlike certain other states, Maryland does not have official policies of this nature in place.
We must hope that in time, it will become a “rebuttable presumption” that Maryland workers seeking benefits for COVID-19 contracted the disease at work. When something is a rebuttable presumption, that means it is legally assumed to be true and the burden of proof is on workers’ compensation insurers to prove that the virus was NOT contracted at work. Often, rebuttable presumptions are established by official proclamations from the governor or through legislative and policy actions.
Learn more about the medical view of COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation – an article written by our attorney James K. Macalister and Atiq Rahman, MD.
The Details are Always Changing – Get Help From an Experienced Attorney
The United States hasn’t faced a pandemic like this one in more than a century. There is almost no precedent to rely on and each state is taking its own piecemeal approach to workers’ compensation policies related to COVID-19. Needless to say, things can change quickly.
If you’ve contracted COVID-19 at work and are seeking workers’ compensation coverage, it is wise to discuss your options with an experienced attorney like those at our firm. We can give you up-to-date information on Maryland’s coronavirus policies and help you present the strongest possible case for why you deserve workers’ compensation benefits.
From our office in Baltimore, Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg, P.A., serves clients throughout Maryland. To discuss your legal options in a free initial consultation, call us at 443-529-0795 or send us an email.