Workers' compensation claims and the coronavirus.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, small and medium-sized businesses are looking at options to help employees impacted by the virus. While the CDC advises people to stay at home, the financial strain of missing work may tempt employees to report to work. At this time, business owners may be wondering if their workers' compensation policies are available to help employees bridge the financial gap.
Is coronavirus covered by workers' compensation?
The answer really depends on how the employee contracted the disease, but in most cases, exposure or contraction of the virus is not considered to be a work-related injury or condition. Typically, workers' compensation insurance is meant to cover illness or injury €œarising out of or in the course of employment.€ If there was a chance that an employee was exposed to the coronavirus on the job, the claim would likely be denied. If exposure was a certain, direct result of work, the claim should be approved.
Insurance may be guided by the state
Unsurprisingly, insurance companies are already receiving a flood of claims from businesses, and may be outlining the terms of their policies in denying coverage. Washington state, which is one of the hardest hit regions in the U.S., recently put out guidelines on the issue:
- Under certain circumstances, claims from health care providers and first responders involving COVID-19 may be allowed. Other claims that meet certain criteria for exposure will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- In most cases, exposure and/or contraction of COVID-19 is not considered to be an allowable, work-related condition.
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