Many people are rightfully concerned about the dangers of working in Massachusetts during a global pandemic. Nonetheless, countless individuals are still expected to show up in the workplace, especially as the state prepares to reopen many non-essential businesses.
As we slowly ease back into normalcy, you may be wondering if you can receive benefits if you contract the novel coronavirus at work. Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys explain.
I Got Sick with COVID-19 at Work. Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If a disease was caused by or made worse due to your employment, then by law it should be enough to trigger the payment of workers’ compensation insurance benefits. For Massachusetts workers who contract the novel coronavirus while working, receiving workers’ comp benefits can be the difference between successfully moving through the pandemic or not. But, are they available to everyone?
Which Jobs Qualify for COVID-19 Worker’s Compensation Benefits?
Under Massachusetts law, almost all employees in the state are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits—though, there are a few exceptions.
While there are few limitations to which employees can receive workers’ compensation, certain jobs are particularly risky right now, especially:
- First responders
- Nursing home staff
- Physicians & physician’s assistants
- Respiratory therapists
- Police officers
- Civil defense workers
- Corrections officers
- Grocery store employees
If you work in one of these professions and come down with the virus, there is a good chance you will be able to successfully prove that the duties of your job made you susceptible to and/or caused your infection.
Can Service Industry Workers File for Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Absolutely. In fact, service industry employees are both some of the most essential and at-risk individuals currently working.
The law ensures that the following individuals are entitled to workers’ compensation for illness:
- Restaurant workers
- Retail store staff
- Mail carriers
- Delivery personnel
- Home services professionals
- Hospitality workers
The above list is not comprehensive—anyone whose job requires them to come into regular contact with the public should be able to receive benefits in Massachusetts.
What Type of Benefits Can I Claim?
Regardless of why you file for workers’ compensation, whether it be for a COVID-19 diagnosis or carpal tunnel syndrome, the same benefits apply.
These include the payment of expenses like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Vocational rehabilitation
In the unfortunate case in which a worker dies from the coronavirus after occupational exposure, their surviving family members can file for workers’ comp to receive death benefits.
What Should I Do If I’m Diagnosed with the Coronavirus at Work?
A major caveat to the current workers’ compensation system is that you have to be diagnosed with COVID-19 to receive benefits, meaning you must get tested and/or treated at a hospital for the disease. If you have symptoms, stay home and do your best to consult with a medical professional remotely or otherwise as soon as possible.
If you believe you contracted the coronavirus due to work exposure, file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer by notifying them in writing of your condition. This will initiate the worker's compensation filing process.
Do you need help filing for worker’s compensation? Or did you file a claim that was denied or delayed? Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with a Massachusetts COVID-19 infection attorney.