PA Workers' Compensation
Workers in Pennsylvania who are impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits. If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 in your workplace, you may be eligible for Workers' Compensation (WC) by either:
- Notifying your employer to file a typical disease-as-injury WC claim, which requires you to provide medical evidence that you were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Notifying your employer to file an occupational disease WC claim, which requires you to show that COVID-19 is occurring more in your occupation/industry than in the general population.
Specific eligibility requirements for occupational diseases vary from state to state, but you typically need to demonstrate that the nature of your job caused you to contract your illness or put you at a higher risk of exposure to the virus than the general public, and you contracted the illness as a result of a specific exposure that happened while performing your work.
When an infectious disease becomes widespread, as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to meet both requirements. Unless you are in a job that puts you at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.
First responders and healthcare workers face a danger of being exposed to COVID-19. Many states, including Pennsylvania, have extended special protection to employees working on the front lines of the pandemic by acknowledging a presumption that the employee qualifies for Workers' Compensation benefits when they test positive for COVID-19. This presumption remains until and unless an employer or its Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier can prove otherwise.
This presumption in Pennsylvania has reduced the burden of proof on these high-risk frontline workers who contract COVID-19. Those workers presumed to be high risk include but are not limited to the following occupations: doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and grocery store workers. Due to this recently enacted change in Pennsylvania law, those who test positive for COVID-19 in these occupations will have the presumption of work-relatedness. This presumption will now shift the burden of proof to the employer to establish that there is no work-relatedness.
Employers and their Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers will be fighting hard against COVID-19 claims. If you file a claim and are denied, you should consult a qualified Workers’ Compensation attorney who can properly evaluate your claim and advise you. Call Scaringi Law now at 717-657-7770 to talk to one of our experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys.