Over the past couple of years, the coronavirus has caused many people’s lives to be turned upside down.
A lot of frontline workers have contracted the disease due to their close contact with others.
If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 due to work, you may be wondering, does workers’ comp cover COVID?
Here’s everything you need to know about the coverage established by the state.
If You Get COVID-19 at Work, Is It a Workers’ Comp Illness?
In March 2020, the General Assembly in Arkansas passed legislation that allows individuals to make workers’ compensation claims if they get COVID-19 at work.
Specifically, the actions changed the provisions of Arkansas Code § 11-9-105(a), which now states that employers aren’t exempt from providing workers’ compensation for COVID-19 diagnoses that result from an employee’s scope of work.
In addition, the legislation designates COVID-19 as an occupational disease.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover COVID-19 After the Pandemic?
Currently, the changes to workers’ compensation are temporary and last only until May 1, 2023.
There is a chance that the General Assembly may extend the workers’ comp for COVID-19 if the pandemic worsens.
However, based on this information, workers have only a limited amount of time to file a claim. Keep in mind that this expiration date is not the same as the time limit to file.
Requirements for Receiving Workman’s Comp for COVID-19
Although these changes make it somewhat easier to file a claim for workers’ compensation, there are a couple requirements.
Under ACA § 11-9-601(e)(1)(B), the claimant must show a connection between their job duties and the diagnosis.
To do this, they need evidence that suggests they contracted the illness while working. However, this may be accomplished with test results, work schedules, and more.
In addition, the claimant must not have contracted the disease due to intentional conduct.
In other words, if the employee fails to follow safety protocols or intentionally gets sick, the employer isn’t liable.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover COVID-19 for All Workers?
Not necessarily. Based on the current executive order, the workers’ compensation coverage applies only to workers who have a high risk of exposure.
For example, if someone is a police officer, fast food worker, or another client-facing employee, they may be able to file a claim.
In contrast, those who work remotely or have jobs that don’t require human contact may not be eligible.
If you are concerned about eligibility, we encourage you to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Even though the workers’ compensation rules for COVID-19 are temporary, they follow the same time limit for filing.
According to ACA § 11-9-702, claimants have two years from the date of injury to bring a claim.
In the case of COVID-19, the clock may start running the moment you receive a positive diagnosis.
Questions About COVID-19 Workers’ Comp? Call Us Today
At the Cottrell Law Office, we understand the impact that COVID-19 has on survivors.
Whether it requires hospitalization or rehabilitation, the lingering effects make it difficult to continue working.