Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 Has Been Denied Nationwide
October 16, 2020
Employees with COVID-19 face challenges in collecting workers’ compensation benefits
Despite ongoing concerns over COVID-19 in New Port Richey, businesses are open and employees have been back on the job for months. However, the pandemic itself is far from over and the number of cases have increased steadily in recent months. Workers exposed to the coronavirus in the course of their jobs can become seriously ill, causing them to miss weeks or even months on the job while requiring extensive medical care. Workers’ compensation benefits can help offset financial losses workers suffer in this situation, but many are finding their claims either denied or delayed.
Workers Contracting COVID-19 Through Their Jobs
Under Florida’s phased reopening plans, businesses have called many of their workers back to the job. Employers are still required to practice some simple precautions to protect against the spread of COVID-19. This includes encouraging social distancing, increasing sanitization practices, and using plastic shields or masks to keep employees protected.
Despite these efforts, COVID-19 case counts have continued to climb steadily. According to figures from the Florida Department of Health, the number of new cases went from an average of between 1,000 to 2,000 positive tests per day in September to nearly double that in October. Unfortunately, workers are among those most at risk.
Employees face infection due to contact with customers or co-workers. Once they do contract COVID-19, it can cause symptoms such as high fevers, respiratory issues, and digestive disorders, requiring them to miss a significant amount of work. Some cases can extend for long months and may even result in permanent disabilities. While benefits available through the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation can help offset lost income, medical expenses, and other costs, employees are facing disputes over whether their exposure to the illness actually occurred on the job or due to other activities.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Being Denied and Disputed
Among the problems the country has faced in battling the coronavirus is the limited amount of testing and contact tracing. Not being able to accurately determine the number of people who have tested positive and who they may have come into contact with is making containment more difficult. It is also impacting workers’ compensation claims.
According to a September 2020 report by The Intercept, employers and their insurers are disputing workers’ compensation benefits filed by sick employees, claiming there is no clear way to show that the employee contracted the illness as a result of their job. The two most common tactics include:
- Denying benefits, claiming you contracted the virus during off-work activities;
- Delaying benefits, while they investigate you and case counts on your job.
Contact Our New Port Richey Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are being denied workers’ compensation, reach out to Joseph Rooth. As a board-certified workers’ compensation attorney, a distinction that fewer than one percent of all Florida lawyers have, he can help you get the benefits you are entitled to. Call or contact our New Port Richey office online to request a consultation today.