Becoming ill or injured on the job throws life into turmoil. Not only do you need to cover bills, but you have to face contention with the source of your income.
At the best of times, filing a workers’ comp lawsuit can feel like a betrayal and a hassle. In dire times, the difficulty of the process feels outright insurmountable.
Many of the laws and regulations in place for worker’s comp exist to streamline the process and keep emotion and blame out of the equation.
In the world of law, fault and negligence are the only important factors, and proving either for a disease during a pandemic gets really tricky.
Workers’ Comp Lawsuit Breakdown
The crux of many workers’ compensation lawsuits hinge on proving that injury occurred during the performance of work-related duties. Further, it’s necessary to establish that the injury was a fault of the workplace conditions or policies.
Workers injured doing things they shouldn’t or in violation of policies are still eligible for compensation in some, but not many circumstances.
When it comes to something as virulent and hard to trace as COVID-19 it’s easy for companies to sidestep responsibility. After all, unless you can trace an infection to a specific workplace contact, how is it the fault of the job site?
Policies governing compensation for private-sector employees and Federal employees differ widely on this matter.
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) lays out rules and procedures for COVID-19 claims. Basically, any employee in a high-risk, essential, or front line service position files for coverage with a simple form.
For lower-risk employees, a secondary form is required to explain and provide supporting evidence of how an exposure occurred.
Private sector employees face a much harder burden of proof. Criteria for establishing exposure is being taken on case by case.
Jobs that require some forced contact with infected or likely infected groups are priority. Suing an employer for negligence that led to exposure and infection means proving that the job duty was necessary, was discrete, and put you in contact with an infected person.
Your workplace may need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and policies governing how those are to be used.
Proving negligence is tough because accidental exposure in out-of-work life is likely.
You’ll need experienced professionals in the personal injury world, such as you’ll get with the team at SweetLaw.com, to even get your foot in the door.
Being exposed by a worker you normally see every day is considered casual contact and only would count for being injured at work if the employee tested positive and then was directed to work.
Otherwise, the company doesn’t hold liability.
If you do get a claim approved, you will need to be tested.
A positive test requires you to recover before returning to work and compensation for time lost and injury (if there are complications).
A negative test still requires you to be covered for a quarantine period before you return to work.
It’s tough to get comprehensive answers with so much change and turmoil. For those seeking a workers’ comp lawsuit, uncertainty means months of frustration. Learn everything you can and get help when possible.
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