Will Workers Comp Be Affected During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Many people are experiencing hardships during the coronavirus outbreak, including not being able to work for various reasons. Whether you showed symptoms of COVID-19 and must quarantine yourself, or your employer temporarily suspended operations under the state order, lost income can take a toll on your finances. The same is true if you were already not working due to a prior injury or illness. Workers’ compensation benefits play an important role in helping injured or ill workers cover their bills and expenses if they cannot work. However, many people are concerned that the pandemic and related shutdown will impact their workers’ compensation benefits. While each case is unique, the following is a brief overview of what to expect when it comes to workers’ comp during the COVID-19 outbreak.
If You are Already Receiving Benefits
If you were injured at work before the pandemic started in the U.S., you might still be at home recovering since your injuries prevented you from working. As a result, you might be receiving temporary disability benefits to replace a percentage of the wages you are losing due to your injuries. It is normal to wonder whether these benefits will continue if your employer shut down under state orders. Your employer might argue that since the company shut down, you would not be earning wages during this time, so your wage replacement benefits should be suspended. However, there are ways that an experienced attorney can fight against such employer claims and work to ensure you continue to receive the benefits you need and deserve. If your benefits suddenly halt without explanation, you should immediately contact a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer.
Do You Have a Claim Relating to COVID-19?
Another question that is regularly arising is whether you might have a workers’ compensation claim stemming from the novel coronavirus and related shutdown. First, if your company shuts down because of safety concerns or state orders, and you do not have symptoms of or a positive test for COVID-19, workers’ compensation benefits will not be available. This is because there is no work-related injury or illness that you have contracted that led you to miss work. In this situation, many people should seek unemployment benefits instead. However, if your employer requires you to stay home because they know you were exposed to coronavirus in the workplace, you might have a good case for benefits.If you contracted COVID-19 but cannot prove that you were exposed at work, obtaining benefits will be challenging. Missouri has instructed employers to presume that first responders and other specific workers who contract COVID-19 did so from work-related exposure, so workers’ compensation will be available for them. Other workers, however, do not have that presumption and proving that your illness was contracted at work will be a difficult task.
Seek Answers from an Experienced Joplin and Springfield Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have questions about your specific situation and benefits, contact a Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer directly at The Law Firm of Webster & Carlton. Contact us online or call 417-890-4600 in Springfield or 417-781-5690 in Joplin for a free consultation.