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Workers’ Compensation for Essential Workers

Webster & Carlton

Missouri Makes it Easier for Essential Workers to Get Workers’ Comp during COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans have been appropriately paying tribute to our first responders and essential workers. Now, many states, including Missouri, want to do even more to help these fine folks who are fighting the disease and providing needed services for us all. One of the ways these states are helping is by proposing and enacting measures that make it easier for first responders, healthcare professionals, and essential workers to qualify for workers’ compensation. These new measures include a presumption of coverage for employees who are impacted by the coronavirus. Those who acquire the virus, or who must be quarantined, are presumed to be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. Of course, different states handle the provisions differently. In many states, including Missouri, the presumption is rebuttable. Many other states, however, consider the presumption to be definitive.

What Are the Terms for Missouri Workers’ Compensation Amendment for COVID-19?

On April 7, 2020, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations recorded a workers’ compensation rule that provides a rebuttable presumption that first responders and essential workers who contract the coronavirus have an occupational disease. That means the disease is said to have been acquired during the course of their job duties. The presumption also applies to first responders who are quarantined at their employer’s directions due to exposure to the disease, the display of coronavirus symptoms, and other COVID-19 situations. Most of those eligible for workers’ compensation are public employees. The list of individuals who qualify is wide-ranging, from air ambulance personnel to firefighters to children of fallen public safety officers. The emergency rule went into effect on April 22, 2020. However, the directive is retroactive for cases that originated before the effective date.

Take these important steps to apply for workers’ compensation.

Inform your employer as soon as possible if you contract COVID-19. Likewise, if you become exposed to the virus and you need to quarantine, report it to your employer immediately. Typically, you have 30 days to report an injury or illness that occurred on the job.

Your employer is required by law to inform their insurer and the Division of Workers’ Compensation Insurance of your claim. COVID-19 cases now have a rebuttable presumption of coverage in Missouri. In any case, the insurance company will examine your case and contact you regarding your benefits eligibility.

Receive Medical Services as Necessary. Understand that you may have to pay your healthcare expenses out of pocket if you choose a healthcare provider not covered under your employer’s health insurance.

Receive your benefits. In addition to payments for medical expenses, you could be eligible for payments for lost wages as well as disability benefits.

Contact a Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorney for a Free Initial Consultation

If you have questions, we want to help. Call our legal services team now at The Law Firm of Webster & Carlton at (417) 545-3775 (Springfield office) or (417) 545-3775 (Joplin office). You can also get the ball rolling by sending us a message through our online contact form.

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