Here in New Jersey you’re eligible for worker’s compensation benefits if you contract COVID-19 on the job. That’s the good news.
The bad news? This very sneaky virus doesn’t make it easy to prove transmission. Employers are no more eager to pay for claims than they ever were. Already, employer’s lawyers are advising them on how they can work around having to pay for these kinds of claims.
To keep your case strong, think about sharing certain facts with your attorney.
Precautions your employer too, or failed to take, in response to Covid-19.
It’s incredible, but plenty of employers are failing to protect their employees. Right now Whole Foods and Amazon provide fairly famous cases, but they aren’t the only ones who don’t seem to value their employees enough to take precautions.
Document every instance where employers force you to work without PPE, in conditions that place you less than 6 feet from fellow employees or customers, or in stores, shops, or offices where there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19. If employers try to force you to travel during this time or to take other risks, you should document these behaviors as well.
You won’t necessarily use this information unless you contract COVID-19 and your employer starts fighting you on worker’s compensation.
Confirmed cases in your workplace.
Make a note of every confirmed case in your workplace. You should also document any instance in which a customer came in who seemed visibly ill, especially if that customer was not asked to leave.
If you work with clients who you know then be aware of confirmed cases among your clients, and document those as well.
Your own “chain of contact.”
Document the people you’ve spent time with, both inside and outside of work.
If you can show you’re practicing social distancing outside of work and thus limiting your chain of contact it may be easier to prove that workplace transmission was the only possible vector for this virus.
It may complicate your case if you travelled to high-risk areas prior to the outbreak, or if you have ignored social distancing rules.
Note that if you live with other people you need to be aware of, and documenting, their chain of transmission as well. Even if this evidence could work against you it is all information your attorney needs to create a winnable strategy.
Get Help Today
While our own office is practicing safe social distancing you can still contact us via phone or email to ask questions about your worker’s compensation case. This is a rough time for everyone, and we want to be here for you.