For many people, workers’ compensation in the age of COVID-19 is a big concern. For New Yorkers who have been at the heart of this pandemic, the fear of contracting COVID at work is something they live with every day.
Although New York has not officially recognized COVID-19 as an occupational disease, the Workers’ Compensation board agrees that in many cases there is a direct link between a person’s job and an increased risk of contracting COVID.
In these cases, you may be entitled to compensation. Here’s what you need to know to help you pursue workers’ compensation if you contract COVID while on the job.
Why File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you contract COVID at work, then workers’ compensation can help to provide you with a few significant benefits. These are:
- Lost wages for temporary or permanent disability caused by COVID
- Payment of medical treatments for COVID
- Reimbursement for expenses associated with the COVID
When To File a Claim
It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney if you want to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. You should file a claim after you’ve been exposed to the virus and after you’ve been quarantined and/or diagnosed with the virus.
It’s important to have sufficient medical evidence on your side to confirm exposure to the virus and the relationship between your employment and contracting the virus in order to have a successful workers’ compensation claim.
How to File a Claim
If you decide to try to file a workers’ compensation claim due to COVID, then you must:
Provide Written Notice
It’s vital to provide written notice to your employer detailing the circumstances and facts that lead to your exposure and/or contraction of the virus within 30 days of the date of exposure. If you’re unsure of the exact date of exposure, then it needs to be within 30 days of diagnosis of the virus.
File a Written Claim
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board requires that you file a written claim within two years of either the diagnosis or your exposure to COVID. To do this, you must file what is called an Employee’s Claim for Compensation, also known as form C-3.0. You can find this form online through the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board
Submit a Report Signed by a Medical Provider
You also must provide the Workers’ Compensation Board with a signed medical report from your doctor or another qualified medical provider that has:
- A succinct summary of the circumstances and facts that lead to your exposure
- Your diagnosis
- A statement of a possible connection between your work activity at the time of exposure and the COVID diagnosis
How You Can Help Establish Your Claim
Aside from bringing an attorney on board to help you navigate this process and be successful in your pursuit of compensation, you can also help to establish a connection between your work and contracting the virus.
You should make sure to record any many details as you can in support of your claim of work-related exposure.
Make sure to include these details when possible:
- The date/time of the exposure
- Where the exposure occurred
- Were you an essential worker when the exposure occurred?
- Where you were when the exposure occurred
- The identity of specific individuals who had the virus and who may have exposed you
- The estimated length of the exposure
- Whether you were wearing personal protective equipment when exposed
- How long after the exposure you had symptoms
- Whether or not you were working without restrictions or limitations prior to exposure
COVID-19 presents many new problems to deal with. The New York WC Board is trying to make sure workers are protected, so understand what you can do to take advantage of those rights.