Originally published: March 3, 2020
UPDATE: A year ago, the United States was in the middle of the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the situation surrounding the coronavirus has been rapidly changing. Many places of business closed because of the pandemic, though there were individuals who still had to report to work because their jobs were deemed to provide essential services. This past June, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill adding protections for essential workers to the Illinois Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act.
Specifically, the amendments to the Act state that a COVID-19 infection is automatically presumed to have arisen from a person’s course of employment if they are considered to be a first responder or front-line worker. Not all claims for workers’ compensation will be considered valid, however. To qualify as an essential worker, a person must be employed in a career listed in the Act. Qualifying workers include, but are not limited to:
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
Nursing home workers
Grocery store workers
Financial service workers, such as bank employees
In addition, the employee claiming workers’ compensation for a coronavirus infection must have not been working from home and must have been in contact with the general public or working in an environment with more than 15 employees. As of right now, this presumption only applies to coronavirus diagnoses made between March 9, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
If you have contracted the coronavirus in the course of your employment, you may be eligible to claim workers’ compensation benefits for your medical care and time you miss from work. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we have helped numerous clients successfully file workers’ compensation claims for a number of reasons, including cases in which the employee developed an illness or disease. To schedule a free consultation with our Crystal Lake, IL workers’ compensation attorneys, call our office today at 815-338-3838.
COVID-19 – more commonly known as the coronavirus – has created a worldwide health crisis because of how quickly it spreads and the number of deaths it has caused. With the virus spreading in the U.S., many people are taking precautions to try to avoid catching it. Unfortunately, you will always be at some risk of contracting a virus when you are in public places, including your workplace. Could you file a workers’ compensation claim if you contracted the coronavirus at work? While there are jobs where you have a heightened chance of getting sick, you will qualify for workers’ compensation only if you can prove that your work caused you to contract the virus.
Illinois workers’ compensation covers illnesses and diseases when an employee’s work puts them at greater risk than the general public of becoming sick. For instance, developing a lung disease may be an occupational disease if you were a construction worker who was exposed to asbestos. Workers’ compensation covers infectious diseases when your job requires you to come in contact with people who have the virus, such as healthcare workers and emergency responders. You could easily contract the coronavirus from someone at your office, but that does not mean that you were at any greater risk of catching the virus at work than you would have been at any other public place. If your job is at a doctor’s office, then you could claim that regularly interacting with patients created an increased risk.
Knowing that you may not be able to collect workers’ compensation if you contract the coronavirus, it is critical that you try to protect yourself at work against the virus and prevent its spread:
- Thoroughly and frequently wash your hands when you come into contact with people, objects or surfaces.
- Cover your mouth when coughing and your nose when sneezing, followed by washing your hands.
- See if you can avoid travel assignments that may take you to a high-risk area or require you to travel in a small space with a lot of people, such as an airplane.
- If you feel sick, see a doctor and stay home from work.
Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Your chances of contracting the coronavirus are low, and people with pre-existing conditions are the ones who face the greatest danger. If a doctor confirms that you have the coronavirus, you need to think carefully about how you may have caught it. If the nature of your work puts you at an abnormal risk of catching the virus, a McHenry County workers’ compensation lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, may be able to help you file a claim. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.