Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19
Covid-19 has changed the way we live and has raised new concerns and fears. Massachusetts has been deemed a hotspot for the virus and many employees are being forced to work from home. But what if you are an essential employee, what if you can’t work from home? And what if you are exposed to Covid-19 or even worse contract the virus as a result of your employment? If you do contract the virus as a result of work-related duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. If you qualify, you can receive payments to partially replace your paycheck and for medical care related to your injury. This page is intended to help you understand if you qualify for workers’ comp as a result of Covid-19.WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BASICS
Almost all employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance through their employer. Workers’ compensation pays medical bills related to the injury or illness, pays for lost wages, and in some cases provides vocational rehabilitation for workers who qualify. In Massachusetts you need to suffer a work-related injury or illness or be a dependent of a worker killed on the job, to get workers’ compensation benefits. The basic requirements for a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts are:
- You must be disabled for 5 full or partial calendar days to file a claim
- The days don’t need to be consecutive
- You have 4 years from the date of injury or realization that your injury or illness is work-related to file a claim
- If you are disabled for less than 5 full or partial calendar days, you can file a “medical only” claim.
- Medical only claims are reported to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, not the DIA
After determining eligibility, you will need to file a claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) you will need to provide information showing:
- Your date of injury, illness, or death if a dependent is filing for benefits
- The 1st calendar day of work you missed
- The 5th calendar day of work you missed
- The workers’ compensation insurance carrier
- The body parts and types of injuries
- What type of benefits you are looking for
- How long you may be out, if known
- Where you first went for treatment and your current treating physician
You will also be required to submit copies of at least 1 item below to the Form 110 – Employee Claim and bring the rest with you to the conciliation.
- Unpaid medical bills
- Medical reports
- Any reports that supports how the accident happened
- Witness statements
- Witness names
This can be an involved process and you may want to consider retaining an attorney to determine your eligibility and to assist you in the process.DO I QUALIFY FOR WORKERS’ COMP BENEFITS AS A RESULY OF COVID-19?
In instances where employees believe they contracted COVID-19 at work, a number of workers’ compensation considerations come into play. In terms of COVID-19, claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and coverage may only be triggered if both of the following are true:
The illness in question arises out of the course and scope of employment.
The illness in question arises out of or is caused by conditions particular to their work and not an ordinary disease of life (e.g., the common cold) to which the general public is exposed.
For COVID-19 claims, it’s important to remember that every situation is different. When it comes to compensation, you’ll need to evaluate what jobs or tasks you were performing when you were exposed to COVID-19. Often the biggest hurdle will be to show that the illness arose out of conditions particular to your work.
For example, health care businesses may be able to show when and how an employee got sick from COVID-19 during the course of their work more confidently than an employee who works for a restaurant or construction firm. This does not mean that only health care workers and first responders are eligible. The key will be in showing that the virus was contracted during the course of employment. * YOU WILL NEED MEDICAL RECORDS TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM.
You should have an attorney review your case to evaluate your specific case. The attorneys at DelSignore Law are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about workers compensation claims in Massachusetts and can be reached anytime at 781-686-5924.