The Covid-19 pandemic struck with unprecedented force, catching the nation and the world by surprise.
With the total number of Covid-19 cases in the United States exceeding 70 million, millions of people have missed work because of the virus.
One of the most common questions workers ask after catching Covid-19 is whether they can get workers’ comp for Covid.
The answer, as is the case with many legal questions, is “it depends.”
To get a better idea of whether you may be eligible for Covid 19 workers’ compensation benefits, read on.
The North Carolina Workers’ Comp System
The workers’ compensation system in North Carolina offers employees who suffer on-the-job injuries or contract occupational diseases benefits while they are unable to work.
A worker does not need to prove that their employer—or anyone else—was responsible for their injury or illness.
However, they must prove that their injury or illness was related to their work. This is why the question, “Does workers’ comp cover Covid?” becomes difficult.
The answer depends on how you got Covid, which is often difficult to determine.
When Can You Get Workers Comp for COVID?
When it comes to occupational illnesses, an employee is eligible for workers’ comp benefits only if their illness was job-related.
Under North Carolina law, certain conditions are listed by name. Covid-19 is not one of them.
However, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act also leaves room for other diseases that are “characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation or employment, but excluding all ordinary diseases of life to which the general public is equally exposed outside of the employment.”
Of course, this is far from clear and leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
Recent history proves that everyone is at risk of developing Covid, so what could possibly make it “peculiar to a particular trade” as distinct from all jobs?
That’s the big question that courts have only recently started to answer.
So while the average retail cashier or barista may not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits due to Covid, nurses, doctors, phlebotomists, and other healthcare workers may have a better chance of obtaining benefits.
The other problem with Covid workers’ comp claims is that it can be very difficult to prove where you caught Covid.
And, remember, you need to establish you caught Covid at work to qualify for benefits. This means many people will have a hard time obtaining benefits.
That said, the laws in this area are rapidly changing. This is new territory for all of us.
So if you believe you caught Covid at work, it’s worth reaching out to a dedicated North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your situation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you caught Covid at work and want to speak with a lawyer about Covid 19 workers’ compensation benefits, call Mehta & McConnell, PLLC to schedule a free consultation.
At Mehta & McConnell, we have more than 30 years of combined legal experience and can help you find answers to your questions.