Do you have a legal claim for compensation in Pennsylvania if you contract COVID-19 at Work?
With the current COVID-19 pandemic (commonly referred to as the Corona Virus) in full swing in Pennsylvania, I have had a lot of people ask me what benefits or legal claims might be available if an employee contracts COVID-19 while working.
Employees are entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits Regardless of who was at fault for a Work Injury or Disease?
In Pennsylvania, injuries that occur at work are covered by Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Laws rather than Negligence Law. Employers are liable to cover employee’s work-related injuries by paying for medical bills and by paying a portion of lost income caused by the work injury. The worker does not need to prove that the Employer’s Negligence caused the injury. Instead, the right to benefits exists regardless of who was at fault for causing the injury.
So, even if the injury was caused by someone else, or by the Employee’s own carelessness, the Employer still owes Workers’ Compensation benefits for medical bills and lost income.
Similarly, if someone dies due to a work injury, the Employee’s family is likely entitled to Death Benefits under Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law.
COVID-19 and Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law
In the up-coming months we expect that Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Courts will be faced with many with COVID-19/Corona Virus claims from workers or families of deceased workers alleging that Pennsylvania COVID-19 illnesses and deaths were caused by work.
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law was designed to protect employees and their families in the event of a work related injury or death.
If you or a loved one contracted COVID-19 and believe that the exposure occurred at Work, you may have a claim for benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Disease Laws. However, it’s unlikely that your Employer will alert you to these rights or encourage you to file a claim for benefits.
The legal challenge in these COVID-19 claims will be to prove that the COVID-19 exposure and illness came from Work as opposed to some other Corona Virus exposure unrelated to work. In some occupations, like the medical field, proving the cause was from work, is certainly easier than others, like retail employment in a grocery store. Since the consequences of the Corona Virus can be serious illness or even death, it’s important to explore your legal rights and determine whether Pennsylvania Law protects you.
If you would like more information about your legal rights under Pennsylvania Workers Compensation and Occupational Disease Laws please contact me at [email protected] or 610-840-0124 and I can refer you to an appropriate lawyer and law firm to review your claim and protect your legal rights.