COVID-19 and workers’ compensation

If you contracted Covid-19 and are a healthcare worker or a first responder, you might be eligible for coverage under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The Virginia Legislature passed a law making it easier for frontline workers to file Covid-19 as a work-related condition. Section 65.2-402.1 of the Code of Virginia states as follows:

B.1. COVID-19 causing the death of, or any health condition or impairment resulting in total or partial disability of, any health care provider, as defined in 8.01-581.1, who as part of the provider’s employment is directly involved in diagnosing or treating persons known or suspected to have COVID-19, shall be presumed to be an occupational disease that is covered by this title unless such presumptions are overcome by a preponderance of competent evidence to the contrary.

The new statute goes on to provide the same protections for the following:

B.2. COVID-19 causing the death of, or any health condition or impairment resulting in total or partial disability of, any (i) firefighter, as defined in 65.2-102; (ii) law-enforcement officer, as defined in 9.1-101; (iii) correctional officer, as defined in 53.1-1; or (iv) regional jail officer shall be presumed to be an occupational disease, suffered in the line of duty, as applicable, that is covered by this title unless such presumption is overcome by a preponderance of competent evidence to the contrary.

This update does not mean that all cases of Covid are covered by workers’ compensation but makes proving a claim easier. Insurance carriers have stated that they will likely challenge this new law as unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court of Virginia has not addressed this issue. Many cases have resulted in a compromise settlement and complete resolution of the claim.

Do not hesitate to seek experienced, sound legal advice if you wish to pursue a workers’ compensation claim for Covid-19.

These statements are for general information purposes only and are not considered specific legal advice. Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and would need additional information not provided in this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney directly for legal advice.

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