Can I Get Worker’s Compensation If I Contract COVID at Work?
Worker’s Compensation For COVID-19
As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is hitting communities across the country many workers are wondering if they can get worker’s compensation for COVID-19. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that 474,537 cases of the respiratory virus have been confirmed in the state as of December 29th. For many people, their workplace is an area of potential exposure.
This raises an important question: Can I get worker’s compensation for COVID-19 in Wisconsin? The short answer is ‘yes’—but only when certain criteria are met. Here, our Milwaukee worker’s comp attorney explains the key things you should know about COVID-19 and workers’ compensation benefits in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Worker’s Comp For COVID-19: Your Guide to COVID-19 Claims
- COVID-19 is a Compensable Illness Under the Law
As a starting point, we should emphasize that it is possible to get worker’s compensation for COVID-19. In Wisconsin, the overwhelming majority of employees are entitled to no-fault worker’s compensation coverage. Under this coverage, work-related illnesses are compensable conditions. The COVID-19 virus is no exception. Similar to other occupational illnesses, an employee has the right to seek worker’s comp benefits for medical treatment and lost wages related to the COVID-19 virus.
- The Virus Must Be Contracted in the Course and Scope of Employment
The primary challenge that Wisconsin workers face is linking COVID-19 exposure to their place of employment. Unfortunately, the virus spreads in all types of settings. You can only obtain workers’ compensation for COVID-19 if you can successfully establish that you contracted the virus in the course and scope of your employment. In other words, you must prove that you got the virus while at work or while doing something to further the interests of your employer.
- A First Responder Presumption Was in Place—But it Already Expired
Previously, Wisconsin put a temporary emergency order in place creating a rebuttable presumption of coverage for first responders. During that period, first responders—firefighters, police officers, EMTs, etc.—were presumed to have contracted COVID-19 in the workplace, unless proven otherwise. However, that presumption was allowed to expire in May of 2020. First responders must also overcome the challenge of linking COVID-19 to their place of employment.
- A Worker’s Comp Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Rights and Establish Causation
If you or your loved one contracted COVID-19 at work in Wisconsin, you have the right to file for worker’s compensation benefits. To bring a claim, you will be required to prove that the exposure occurred in the workplace. An experienced Milwaukee worker’s compensation lawyer can help you establish causation and clear any other obstacles that stand in your way to recovering the full and fair benefits that you deserve.
Call Our Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Attorney for Immediate Help
At Gillick, Wicht, Gillick & Graf, our Wisconsin worker’s compensation law firm is committed to providing the highest level of legal representation to clients. If you have any questions about COVID-19 and worker’s comp benefits, we can help. Contact us today for a free, no-commitment initial consultation. With a law office in Milwaukee, we serve communities all over Southern Wisconsin, including in West Allis, Brookfield, Waukesha, South Milwaukee, and Greenfield.