How Will COVID-19 Affect a Workers Compensation Claim?

May 6, 2020Blog0 comments

Did you know that since the COVID-19 pandemic began almost 90% of US businesses have encouraged their staff to work from home? COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the world. The workplace has not been spared. Business owners are more aware than ever of the need to provide safe working locations and practices for their staff. 

If you are are a business owner and are worrying about comp claims from employees, what can you do? How might COVID-19 affect work comp claim matters? Why not read our in-depth article below to find out?

Duty of Care Towards Employers 

The first step that organizations should take is to sure up their current defense against comp claims. Worker safety standards are changing as more becomes known about COVID-19 and its infection rates. If they do not keep up to date, companies can become the target of comp claims of all kinds. 

Managers need to rely on trustworthy guidance, such as the WHO (World Health Organization), to base their decisions. There is an incredible amount of fake news available regarding COVID-19. Some of it is unbelievable, others are false but could easily be mistaken for the truth.

If the risk of infection is high in your city, it is important to have plans in place that will protect your workers. They should know what steps to take if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. If possible arrangements should be made for workers to continue their work from home.

Employees need to be educated regarding the companies health and safety policies. Restrictions on movement and interaction may not be popular. However, they prevent the basis for future legal action against the company. 

Determining Whether Compensation is Due

While preventing a COVID-19 case in your workplace will always be a priority, what should employers do if an employee contracts the virus? Will the employee be due compensation?

Of course, every state has its own compensation statutes

  • Was the employee exposed to the virus in the course of their normal work? Was the employer financially benefitting from the employee’s exposure?
  • Was this person at particular risk due to their occupation? Among those who are considered in the risk group for COVID-19 are first responders and paramedics.

Since COVID-19 is a very infectious disease it may be very difficult or impossible to trace who infected the employee. For instance, a person may have been working in the hospitality industry during the early stages of the outbreak.

In the course of their work, they may have come into contact with hundreds of people. They may also have socialized with scores of others. It could be difficult to prove that it was a workplace interaction that led to infection.

During the investigation of any claim, experts will try to establish how and where the infection took place. In some cases, there may be no obvious answers to the questions above. A court or state worker’s compensation boards may decide on these compensation claims.

Potential Compensations Claims

The COVID-19 pandemic is still developing on a global scale. It is not only the illness-causing virus that could be the basis for claims. It can also be the new work trends associated with the economic effects of COVID-19 that lead to comp claim. Consider just a few.

New Hires

Many companies are shedding workers very rapidly. Others, such as supermarkets and delivery services, are hiring to meet huge new demands. This can lead to a hurried hiring and onboarding process. A company that grows quickly may not understand why they need insurance

This can lead to claims as new workers with insufficient training, and operating in an unfamiliar environment, are more prone to workplace injuries. 

Telecommuting

Workers may be doing exactly the same work at home as they did in the office. However, unless they get good advice for successful working from home, they can face serious challenges. 

At home, they do not have physical oversight or maybe working on makeshift workstations leading to physical pain. A large number of workers at home without supervision can also lead to a rise in fake claims.

Growing Unemployment

Telecommuting options are viable for many companies. However, unfortunately, many simply cannot maintain their former levels of staff. They are forced to terminate even skilled employees. History shows that when they see this possibility on the horizon, some employees do look to offset their income by compensation claims. 

Some of these claims may be based on actual injuries that they may not have reported previously. However, others may be based on flimsy or fabricated evidence. In any case, businesses should be aware of the higher level of fake comp cases under these conditions.

Work Comp Claim Issues and Much More

The world has changed profoundly over the last few months. The outbreak and international impact of COVID-19 have affected all industries and levels of the supply chain. It is vitally important for business owners and managers to investigate how this will affect work comp claim matters. 

If you are looking for reliable and accurate information on the subject of comp claims, we are here to help. We leverage our experience in the insurance industry to provide trustworthy guidance and services for our clients. Why not take a few minutes to contact us and see what we can do for you today. 

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