What to Expect if Seeking Workers’ Comp for COVID-19 Infection
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything today, including workers’ comp claims. Learn what you need to know here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every area of life, including workers’ compensation claims. Workers that have contracted the virus while on the job are sometimes able to file a workers’ compensation claim, but this is not always easy to do in Nebraska. Any employee that has contracted COVID-19 at work should always speak to an Omaha workers’ compensation lawyer that can give them the best chance of success with their claim.
How Workers’ Comp Works in Nebraska
In its simplest terms, workers’ compensation in Nebraska is a no-fault system. Any employee that is injured while on the job, and while performing duties within their scope of work, can claim benefits to cover their medical expenses and lost income. Certain injuries, such as a sprains and strains or cuts and punctures are commonly seen in workers’ comp claims. However, occupational diseases are also covered under workers’ compensation.
According to the law, an occupational disease is any illness an employee contracts due to the conditions they are exposed to as a result of being involved in a particular trade or occupation. Generally speaking, ‘ordinary diseases of life,’ such as the cold and flu are not covered under workers’ compensation. Due to the fact that the general public can be exposed to the novel coronavirus, it is easy to assume that workers’ compensation is not available for employees that contract it. That is not always true.
A New Law in Nebraska
One year into the pandemic, Nebraska lawmakers introduced L.B. 441, legislation that will provide certain employees with workers’ compensation if they contract COVID-19 in the workplace. The new law names 10 categories of workers that are eligible for workers’ compensation if they contract the virus in the workplace. The categories include healthcare workers, first responders, and other frontline workers. The only exception to the law is when an employer can affirmatively prove the employee did not contract the virus in the workplace.
The new law has not yet been passed. Until it is, and even afterwards for many employees, they will have to prove that they contracted COVID-19 while at work.
Proving COVID-19 was Contracted at Work
The best way for an employee to prove they contracted COVID-19 at work is when a number of employees have contracted the virus. For example, if a number of personal support workers within a nursing home contracted COVID-19 after an outbreak was declared, they could have a very strong case for claiming workers’ compensation. Still, contact tracing may have to be done to prove there was a common source of infection for the employees, and that source was the workplace. While unfortunate, most workers’ comp claims surrounding COVID-19 will still have to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Do Not File Your Claim Alone, Our Nebraska Workers’ Comp Lawyer is Here to Help
Even one year into the pandemic, COVID-19 is still considered relatively new when it comes to workers’ comp claims. The process of obtaining the benefits you need is even more complex than other workers’ comp claims, and you need the help of an Omaha workers’ comp lawyer. At Andres Law Offices, PC LLO, our skilled attorney can help you prove your claim so you can recover the full benefits you need. Call us at (402) 491-4003 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation today.