Allen's Answers

 

Now that more people here and around Mobile are returning to work, they ask me over and over again – what will happen if I get the disease on the job?

What they are really asking about is workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp is an insurance program that pays you and your medical bills if you get sick or injured at work. However, how Alabama’s program will deal with the COVID-19 virus is not fully known; since, we have never faced anything quite like this before.

Generally, workers’ comp does not pay out for diseases. It pays mainly if you get injured directly, such as heavy equipment falls on you.

Here are some other potential problems.

  • It has been my experience that workers’ comp doesn’t easily pay a claim.
  • Where you contacted COVID-19 will be hard to prove; since, you could have arguably gotten it anywhere.
  • If every worker who got the disease received workers’ comp money, it could bankrupt the system.

Here is one thing that is known – you will receive nothing just because you are exposed to the disease. If you do not get sick, you have no claim for workers’ comp money.

Even if you do not qualify for workers’ comp benefits, you will likely receive two weeks of extended paid leave at your regular rate of pay. This is due to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which requires employers to provide this benefit. Payment is made whether you are quarantined or get ill. Perhaps most importantly, you do not have to prove that the exposure occurred on the job to qualify.

As more people go back to work, we will likely see more job related COVID-19 cases, and there are sure to be lawsuits.

If you are hurt in a traffic accident or suffer a personal injury, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet. We are working remotely mostly but are always available.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We will take your calls live. We are experimenting with new ways to do the show and still follow the CDC guidelines. You might want to see what we have come up with.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama personal injury lawyer

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