With businesses reopening despite the lack of a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, it’s more imperative than ever for employers and companies to ensure the health of their workers. Plexiglass shielding, masks, face shields, and temperature checks have been routine at industrial and customer-facing workplaces alike.
However, experience says that many businesses will neglect to provide their workers with adequate protection. As a result, a sick employee could infect their coworkers, leading to incredibly high medical bills and catastrophic health problems. When that happens, there needs to be solutions in place to ensure workers get the care and resources they need to recover.
But do workers have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim?
Can I File for Workers’ Compensation for Getting COVID?
In order to file for workers’ comp benefits after catching COVID in the workplace, you would need to prove that you were exposed to COVID as a part of your job (thus making it an occupational risk). This would more than likely only apply to people who work as healthcare providers, hospital technicians, testing site employees, and similar occupations.
Of course, the situation surrounded COVID is constantly changing. As of this writing, no cases have been tried regarding damages from COVID due to workplace safety. As a result, how much compensation a person might be able to secure in such a case is unknown.
Can I Sue an Employer for Getting COVID at Work?
Under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act, there are only a few situations that allow an employee to sue an employer for negligence. Immunity from workplace injury lawsuits is null and void in situations where an employer intentionally “engages in misconduct” knowing it will cause serious injury or death. Legally speaking, that is an exceptionally high bar of proof.
Again, in these situations, healthcare workers are the most likely to succeed in bringing a case forward against their employers. Hospitals and testing centers face higher-than-normal COVID exposure as an occupational risk, and healthcare supervisors would know the health impact of their safety policies. If you're an injured or sick healthcare worker, learn more about your right to COVID-19 recovery as a health worker.
If you have questions about a COVID-19 case involving your workplace, speak with Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC in a free consultation as soon as possible.