A Note on Coronavirus and Covid-19 For Our Clients on The Front Lines
We know many of our clients are essential employees working through this crisis: store clerks, bus drivers, nursing home and home health workers, and the list goes on. First: We Appreciate You, and we know the rest of our law firm community does, too! We know you are out there, every day, sacrificing to keep our society functioning in this difficult time.
Coronavirus in Worker’s Compensation Claims
We want to take a moment to talk about Coronavirus and COVID-19 in Worker’s Compensation. These claims are very much like some other Worker’s Compensation claims we have handled: they are covered if you test positive for Covid-19 and work was the prevailing factor in causing the disease.
- Missouri Revised Statutes §287.020.2 and §287.067.1 cover “accidents” and “occupational diseases,” such as an employee who is exposed to an infectious disease at work and later develops the disease.
The key will be proving an employee was exposed at work, as opposed to at home or somewhere else in their personal life. For example, a worker who develops COVID-19 after working at a grocery store or nursing home, but who quarantines at home during personal time, would have a good chance of proving a claim for Worker’s Compensation.
First Responders vs. Essential Workers
Missouri Gov. Parson has made it easier for “first responders” —defined as police, firefighters, and EMTs— with COVID-19 to prove their exposure came from work. This is very helpful. However, many of you are considered “essential,” but are not defined as “first responders.”
One employer, Kroger, has applied for “emergency” status for its workers, so that they can at least obtain proper masks (an N-95 mask is 95% effective; a surgical mask is 78% effective).
We hope your employers do everything they can to provide you with a safe working environment. To see if you qualify for a Worker’s Comp claim during the COVID-19 pandemic, talk to the Worker’s Compensation attorneys at Wolfgram Law.