The question is, what happens if I get coronavirus at work? Do I have a workers comp claim? I’ve broken this down in a faq I posted here. This is definately new and uncharted territory. Traditionally the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation would consider flu and colds an occupational disease. The Ohio BWC has addressed whether covid-19 and coronavirus would be a compensable workers’ compensation claim. That is whether you would be able to receive monetary compensation and payment of your medical bills due to the coronavirus.
They put out an answer which raises more questions, you can read that faq here. They essentially break it down into two parts, whether your occupation is the type of job that has a greater risk or hazard of getting the coronavirus than the general public and how you contracted the disease. I think for most essential workers, you will be easily able to say that you pose a greater risk of getting the disease than the general public. Imagine you are a COTA ( Central Ohio Transit Authority) bus driver. You must interact with 100’s of folks each day. Any number of these folks may have the coronavirus.
Same can be said for a grocery worker, cashier, or stocker at Kroger, Meijers, Giant Eagle, Walmart, or Costco. Everyday 100’s of customers walk in and out of the grocery store or warehouse. These folks breath, they cough, they touch things. If you are swimming in that miasma on a daily basis the likelihood of contracting covid-19 and getting the coronavirus is significant. How about a picker at the Amazon warehouse in Etna, we know for a fact that folks are coming to work at Amazon with the coronavirus. At least 19 Amazon warehouses had one or more instances of cov-19.
Now clearly the frontline doctors or nurses face a very high risk of exposure to cov-19 and coronavirus.
So that’s the easy question. The hard question will be how you contracted the disease. Can you prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you contracted coronavirus at work rather than at home, picking up groceries, pumping up your gas, opening a package from Amazon. That will be the hard case. But we’ll see. If you contracted the coronavirus and you think you got it from work. File a claim. Again if it was the run of the mill flu or cold, then you would not have a claim. But the coronavirus is new and uncharted territory.
Already other states are recognizing the coronavirus as an occupational disease. ( see the the police officer in Chicago who’s death was ruled in the line of duty).
If you have any questions or concerns about whether you can file a work injury claim for your coronavirus, please give Malek & Malek a call or email. We’re here to help.