Workers’ Comp for Healthcare Workers Diagnosed With COVID-19
If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 at your workplace in Virginia, especially if you are a healthcare worker, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Here are some answers to questions that are frequently asked:
1. How does workers’ compensation work in Virginia?
In Virginia, the workers’ compensation system protects employees and employers. Employees receive medical treatment and are compensated for lost wages associated with work-related injuries and disease, and employers provide for the cost of such coverage while being protected from direct lawsuits by employees. Usually, to be eligible for workers’ compensation in Virginia, an employee’s injury or occupational disease must be caused by something specific to the employee’s work environment rather than something that everyone could be exposed to.
2. If I contracted COVID-19 at work, is that a work-related injury or disease?
In Virginia, an illness caused by work exposure could be considered an injury or an occupational disease if there is a greater chance of exposure due to your work place. For instance, because many people will be exposed to the COVID-19 virus, such exposure will not generally be covered under Virginia Workers’ Compensation. However, there may be an exception for healthcare workers whose work environments increased the risks of their becoming infected with the virus.
3. How do I report my work-related exposure to or illness from COVID-19?
As soon as you know that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and you believe that diagnosis is related to your job, you should report your injury to your supervisor/employer.
4. I’m a healthcare worker and contracted COVID-19. Will my claim be covered?
As we stated earlier, Virginia workers’ compensation covers injuries or occupational diseases that were caused by some risk factor in the workplace. We are likely to see healthcare workers’ COVID-19 claims denied by their workers’ compensation insurance carriers. As a result, it is a good idea to fully document your work days during this time along with the types of illness you were involved with treating. Also, now is the time to contact your state senator and/or delegate to ensure that Virginia Workers’ Compensation law will cover our healthcare workers’ who contract COVID-19. Check out your legislator at this link whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov
5. What happens after I report my injury?
After you report your COVID-19 diagnosis to your employer, you should file a Claim for Benefits for with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. See link here. The Claim for Benefits form will open your claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and will trigger a deadline for your employer and insurance company to respond about whether your claim will be accepted or denied.
If the claim is accepted, the employer/insurer will send you an Award, indicating that the claim has been accepted. If the injury is denied, the employer/insurer will send you a notice of denial.
6. If my claim is accepted, what benefits can I expect to receive?
Virginia workers’ compensation will cover lost time from work (if you miss more than one week from work), at a weekly rate equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wage. Workers’ compensation will also cover 100% of medical expenses related to the accepted claim. Wage loss benefits are available for as long as you are out of work due to the injury. Medical expenses that you incur for the injury associated with your claim are covered for your lifetime.
7. What can I do if my claim is denied?
After a workers’ compensation claim is denied in Virginia, it is assigned to a Virginia Workers’ Compensation hearing office near where the employee lives. When the denial is submitted to the hearing office, the hearing will be scheduled and the parties will be notified of the date, time and place of a hearing.
At the RITCHIE LAW FIRM, we have successfully handled thousands of workers’ compensation claims. We’ve seen injured workers who have trusted the insurance adjuster only to find out that their time to file the paperwork to protect their claim had expired.
The Ritchie Law Firm has successfully helped thousands of injured workers navigate the complex workers’ compensation process. The Ritchie Law Firm specializes in serving injury victims. We never represent insurance companies or corporations. If your workers’ compensation case is going to hearing, you will want a trial expert on your side. We are board certified trial specialists through the National Board of Trial Advocacy. The attorney you choose for your workers’ compensation case can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Choose wisely. . . you can talk to us for free. Call today 800-277-6124 or fill out the form below. Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious injuries as a result of a job injury.
Ritchie Law Firm serves injured workers in all of Virginia, while helping clients in the cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester. Check out case studies from some of the workers’ compensation cases we’ve handled by clicking here.
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