We are dealing with an incredibly difficult and unpredictable time right now. With coronavirus (COVID-19) cases rapidly increasing, it is still hard to judge how we will all be affected and how long all of this will last. While it certainly seems like life is on pause, the fact of the matter is that people still need to make a living. The uncertainty of this situation has left many individuals confused and concerned about not only their health but their employment rights as well. What happens if you are diagnosed with coronavirus and cannot work for an extended period? Will your settlement be impacted if you have recently filed a workers’ compensation claim? You are not alone in wondering these questions; these are unusual and somewhat scary times and although we don’t have all the answers, some clarity with these questions can hopefully bring peace to whatever circumstance you are in.
Coronavirus Diagnosis and Work Coverage
A recent discussion that has risen from the spread of the coronavirus is whether or not workers’ compensation covers workers who become sick because they came in contact with the virus at their place of employment. Workers’ Compensation coverage is only for on-the-job injuries, so you would have to be able to meet your burden that you acquired at work and that the Workers’ Compensation Act covers the injury by meeting the burden of proof required. This is a very controversial topic right now as it is not clear how workers’ compensation benefits will be rewarded to individuals who are infected by the virus at their workplace. Until legislation outlines a clearer way to approach situations like this, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to practice sanitary measures and distance yourself as much as possible from crowds. This is an emerging area of law and for the best information, the public should contact an experienced Workers Compensation attorney to ensure their rights are protected as more information becomes available.
The CDC recommends these guidelines to limit the likelihood of contracting or spreading coronavirus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Impact on Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement
If you are currently settling a workers’ compensation case, it should not be impacted. Our judges are working hard under these unique circumstances to make sure that each case that settles continues to do so in a timely manner. Although many problems arising out of this pandemic, your previous workplace injury or illness is no less important. You deserve to be fairly compensated for your claim so you can begin to heal and recover. Your attorney should be fighting for your rights regardless of the current situation.
Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Unrelated to Coronavirus
Some people may fear that their claim won’t be taken seriously during this time if they suffer from a non-coronavirus workplace injury or illness. That is entirely false, as every workers’ compensation claim should be treated with equal consideration and importance. At Schibell & Mennie, we are here day and night for all workplace injuries. Our clients’ health, safety, and well-being are our utmost priorities and we will continue to fight for anyone who is in need during this time.
Call us at 732-774-1000 for more information or to set up an initial consultation and free case evaluation.
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If you need to consult a New Jersey attorney, you need to contact Schibell & Mennie, LLC. The initial consultation is always free.
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