Is COVID-19 Covered by Workers Compensation in Virginia?
November 2021 Update
The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected all of us in different ways. We all do our best to avoid exposure to the Virus when we can. However, what happens when you are exposed to the Virus at work?
This quest is especially prevalent for people whose job puts them on the “front lines” of exposure to the Virus, most especially our healthcare workers and first responders. Below will explain the new laws around COVID-19 and workers compensation in Virginia.
Under Virginia workers’ compensation laws, most covered claims result from accidents leading to identifiable physical injury. However, there is a separate category for “occupational diseases”. Normally, these diseases are only covered under workers’ compensation if they are not ordinary diseases of life, which the general public is also exposed to. They must be specific to the employment that you take part in, not something (like the flu for instance that everyone is exposed to). So, it would seem that COVID-19 cases would be very hard to win, given that we are all, at least somewhat, exposed to this virus.
THE GOOD NEWS!
Recently, Virginia’s General Assembly set out to help our workers who suffer from COVID-19 because of their inherent risk in employment. They created a “presumption” for health care workers, police officers, firefighters, and correctional officers who contract COVID-19 on the job and require medical attention as a result. This means that people who fall into these categories have a much better chance of winning their workers’ compensation claims in Virginia and receiving needed medical care, lost wages, and fair settlements.
This is great news for our state’s front-line workers who now have recourse if their lives are turned upside down by contracting COVID-19 at work. We are still learning about the devastating, long-term mental and physical effects that this disease can have on folks, so it is reassuring to know that at least our healthcare workers and first responders will have a leg-up in fighting for their workers’ compensation benefits.
If you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19 at work and is entitled to workers compensation benefits, call our office for help protecting your rights!
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.