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COVID-19 (the coronavirus) is a pandemic that has taken thousands of lives. COVID-19 has caused thousands of workers in the U.S. to fall ill, require medical care, and miss work. Filing a workers’ compensation claim for COVID-19 may be possible if you contracted the illness while at work. California’s workers’ compensation system provides no-fault benefits to workers with occupational injuries and illnesses. You will not have to prove someone else’s negligence to be eligible for workers’ compensation in Orange County. You will, however, have to prove that your illness is work-related.
Most employees throughout California benefit from workers’ compensation insurance coverage through their employers. After any job-related injury or illness, a covered worker can file a claim through his or her employer’s insurance coverage to seek monetary damages. The worker will not have to prove negligence to receive financial benefits. The worker will only need to demonstrate that the injury or illness in question arose from work-related tasks.
Workers’ compensation covers almost all injuries and illnesses. This includes the novel coronavirus. To be eligible for coverage, however, you will need to prove that you came into contact with the COVID-19 virus while performing work-related activities. This can be difficult. If you were on your lunch break at a restaurant and someone coughed on you, for example, you might not have a workers’ compensation claim. You must have contracted the virus while performing job-related duties.
Note that you do not have to have been on your employer’s property or at the office at the time of contact with the COVID-19 virus to qualify for workers’ compensation. If you were on the clock but at a different location, you could also qualify. This includes visiting a store for work-related purposes, going to a job-related function, attending a work conference, traveling for work or visiting a client. It could also include while working remotely or from home. Discuss your specific case with a lawyer to find out if you qualify for coverage.
If you believe you are eligible for workers’ compensation insurance benefits for COVID-19 through your employer, start your case by reporting your illness. California’s workers’ compensation program requires reporting to employers within at least 30 days of the incident. Stay home from work as soon as you notice possible symptoms of the virus. These can include fever, dry cough and cold- or flu-like symptoms. Call your primary care physician for advice as to your health care and a treatment plan. Document your illness and its related expenses, including medical care and any lost wages, for use on your insurance claim later.
Through a workers’ compensation claim, you could recover compensation for your past and future COVID-19-related hospital stays, procedures, medications, medical devices, nursing care, therapies, and more. You may also receive reimbursement of up to two-thirds of your average weekly wages while the virus takes you out of work. If a loved one loses his or her life due to job-related COVID-19, your family could be eligible for death insurance benefits. This can include payments for a funeral and burial. Speak to an Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer for more information about what your case might be worth
File a workers’ compensation claim by explaining to your employer that you wish to seek compensation. Your employer should print out, complete, and file your initial Report of Injury or Illness Form with the company’s workers’ compensation insurance provider by the deadline. You should hear back from the insurance provider within a reasonable amount of time. If the insurer accepts your claim, you will receive benefits within two weeks. If it denies your claim, work with a Santa Ana workers’ comp lawyer to appeal the decision and/or file a civil claim instead. An attorney can help you pursue financial recovery through all possible outlets as a worker in Orange County with COVID-19.