South Carolina Workers Compensation and Coronavirus

posted in: Steinberg Law Firm | 0

Are you a healthcare employee or another essential worker still on the job during the Covid-19 crisis? If the nature of your job forces you to engage in close contact with other people, you have an increased risk of contracting the virus and missing work. The Steinberg Law Firm, a personal injury law firm with offices in Charleston, Goose Creek and Summerville, wants you to know that you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits after contracting the coronavirus.

Here are five critical considerations related to workers’ compensation and Covid-19, according to Catie Meehan, a former registered nurse and now attorney at the Steinberg firm who focuses her practice on workers’ compensation claims.

1. Workers’ Compensation is Not Just for Bodily Injuries

In addition to bodily injuries, workers’ compensation also covers individuals who are harmed from exposure to communicable diseases at work. While more difficult to successfully pursue a workers' compensation claim for a disease contracted on the job than for a bodily injury, South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws cover diseases contracted after workplace exposure. During the coronavirus pandemic, many essential workers in close contact with other people, particularly those in healthcare, face an increased risk from the virus due to the nature of their work.

2. Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can Replace Lost Income

Workers exposed to a disease may receive both medical treatment and compensation for up to two-thirds of their lost wages through workers’ compensation. Anyone who believes they contracted Covid-19 on the job should file a workers’ compensation claim and hire a lawyer to pursue the claim. Not filing a claim or not hiring a lawyer to pursue the claim can mean that a harmed worker is foregoing significant benefits the worker is legally entitled to.

3. Critical Steps Required to Prove a Claim

Workers’ compensation laws make it difficult to prove occupational disease claims when the disease could also be contracted by being out in public,” Meehan said. “You have to show that the nature of your work creates an increased risk of contracting the disease. That’s why it’s so important to keep detailed notes about your exposure and document other employees or patients who contracted the virus.”

Steinberg Law Firm has vast experience handling these types of cases. The firm recommends that those who believe they have a claim keep a diary of events at the workplace, save emails and voice messages related to the exposure, document the symptoms, and keep copies of test results. Most importantly, says Meehan, notify your supervisor immediately and stay home to avoid infecting others.

4. Filing a Claim Isn’t a Lawsuit

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system in South Carolina, which means that when filing a claim you’re not alleging your employer did anything wrong. You’re not suing anyone by filing a claim. You’re simply accessing a system that was set up to compensate people like you who are unable to work after suffering an occupational injury or illness.

5. Obtaining Legal Representation Improves Your Chances

Because the law requires that workers prove an increased exposure to an illness on the job, seeking legal representation is a wise move. Attorneys at The Steinberg Law Firm have handled hundreds of successful workers’ compensation claims. The firm’s history of workers’ compensation advocacy extends back nearly one hundred years to when the firm’s founder helped write the South Carolina’s first workers’ compensation law.

If you have questions about exposure to coronavirus or to learn more about what the Steinberg Law Firm can do for you, visit SteinbergLawFirm.com or call (843) 572-0700 for a free consultation. Founded in 1927, the firm has a distinguished history of providing every client with the highest level of care and dedication. The Steinberg Law Firm is deeply grateful for all of our community’s heroic healthcare workers remaining on the job at great personal risk while caring for our sickest citizens.