Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease that is affecting the entire world. It has many state’s economy grinding to a halt, including Pennsylvania, as governors try to protect their citizens. Many businesses are being forced to shutter their doors and lay-off workers, which leaves employees uncertain about their financial future as the world continues to adjust to COVID-19. Below are answers to the questions we believe most people are curious about. If you have any additional questions our entire office is working remotely and available to answer your questions.
On April 1, 2020, as part of Pennsylvania’s ongoing response to the unprecedented novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic, Governor Wolf suspended portions of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Click here to read more.
- Can a person be laid off from COVID-19 while on workers’ comp?
The short answer is yes, a person can be laid off from the economic situation that covid-19 has created while on workers comp. Layoffs occur due to no fault of the employee, but due to reasons wholly determined by the employer, like organizational restructuring or financial uncertainty. An employee can be laid off from employment while on workers’ compensation even if there is no novel virus. If you are currently receiving workers compensation benefits you are entitled to continue to receive your wage loss benefits. If you were only receiving medical benefits while you were working you may be eligible for wage loss benefits to be reinstated. Click here for more information on layoffs and workers comp
- Can I get workers comp if I contract coronavirus at work?
If you were exposed to coronavirus at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Any illness contracted from your place of employment can be considered a work-related injury. Depending on the profession COVID-19 may be considered an occupational disease, especially those who work as first responders or in the healthcare industry.
- Can you get workers comp if you work from home due to covid-19
Working from home and workers’ compensation is a changing landscape, especially as working from home continues to become more popular. If you suffer an injury while working from home, you must be able to prove that the injury occurred within the course and scope of your employment.
- Can I get workers comp if I contract coronavirus working from home?
If you can prove that you contracted coronavirus from working from home you may be eligible to receive benefits.
- How do I report my work-related exposure to or illness from COVID-19?
Reporting your work-related exposure or illness from COVID-19 is handled the same way an employee would report any other illness. You must notify your employer within 120 days of contracting the illness or any work-related injury.
- I believe I contracted COVID-19 from a sick co-worker. The co-worker tested positive and I became ill a short time later. How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim requires notifying your employer immediately. Your employer will fill out an incident report and submit it to their workers’ compensation insurance. To learn more about the process click here.
- My physician directed me to stay off work because he suspected I was exposed to COVID-19 but my workers’ compensation claim was denied, can I appeal that denial?
Yes, you can always appeal a denied claim.
- Will COVID-19 affect how my existing case is processed?
COVID-19 is affecting court systems like all other industries attempting to work remotely. The courts are working on solutions to hear cases remotely and all existing cases may experience some delays as new processes are tested.
- Will I be able to file a petition or answer to a petition during the COVID-19 emergency?
Yes, you can still file petition or answers during the COVID-19 emergency. Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system went to electronic filing of petitions a couple of years ago and that system is unaffected by the current emergency. Even though you filed a petition or an answer to a petition there may be delays in scheduling the first hearing as everyone is uncertain how long this situation will last.
If you have any additional questions our entire office is working remotely and available to answer your questions.