Many people in today’s COVID economy have to work in jobs that place them at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. If your job causes you to get sick with the coronavirus, it is important to know that there is a law to help you recover your medical costs and lost wages.
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law compensates workers who are injured or sickened on the job instead of having to file a lawsuit. Steinberg Law Firm has over 90 years of experience in workers’ compensation, personal injury, and now construction defect claims and has offices in Charleston, Goose Creek, and Summerville.
Elliotte Quinn, a lawyer with Steinberg Law Firm, says everyone contracting the virus on the job should know these five facts about workers’ compensation coronavirus claims.
1. The Greater the Exposure Risk, the Stronger the Case
Certain occupations like healthcare workers, first responders, and those who work in essential businesses like supermarkets and delivery services, face greater exposure to the coronavirus due to the nature of their jobs. As a result, they are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus than the general public. In such cases, workers have a strong claim their illness was contracted on the job, as long as they have taken reasonable precautions outside of work to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Employees of stores, restaurants, or other businesses may also have claims for workers’ compensation if they believe they contracted the virus at work. This is especially so if they can demonstrate that others in the facility have not taken recommended precautions and if a coworker tested positive.
2. Filing a Claim is Not a Lawsuit Against Your Employer
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system designed to reimburse workers for medical costs and lost wages due to injuries and illnesses resulting from employment. Establishing fault is not a requirement. A workers’ compensation claim does not assert the employer did anything wrong, and the employer pays the claim through insurance that nearly all employers are required to have.
3. Workers’ Compensation Covers Medical Bills and Lost Wages
Successful claims will pay the claimant’s related medical bills and pay two-thirds of lost wages resulting from an occupational illness or injury. “If you contract the coronavirus on the job, you would be eligible to have all your medical bills covered and receive 2/3rds of your pay until you recover or return to work,” says Quinn.
4. You Can’t Be Fired for Filing a Claim
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a good faith workers’ compensation claim. That means your employer is liable if it attempts to fire or demote you, slash your hours, or retaliate against you for making a claim.
5. Document, Document, Document
If you believe you have been infected with coronavirus in the workplace, it is important that you document the working conditions that you believe increased your risk of contracting the virus. For example, if you are a nurse and have cared for a patient who has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep notes of the dates you cared for the infected patient. If you do become infected with the virus, report it immediately to your employer. Documentation will help prove to your employer that you contracted the virus at work.
The Steinberg Law Firm has a nearly 100-year history of handling workers’ compensation claims and extensive experience handling claims for occupational hazards and exposures. With claims that will turn on demonstrating increased risks, having legal representation will improve your chance of success.
The firm has a distinguished history of providing every client with the highest level of care and dedication. Call 843-720-2800 or visit steinberglawfirm.com for more information or to learn about South Carolina workers’ compensation claims.