Information on Corona Virus & Workers’ Compensation
Unless you can show your infection is work-related, it will not be a compensable work-related condition. Here are some tips for navigating your COVID-19 Iowa Workers’ Compensation claim:
- Work Related: As with any workers’ compensation claim, the condition needs to be work-related:
1. Did you have an increased risk of infection due to your work?
2. Was there a more likely exposure to the virus outside of work?
3. Can you identify a specific source or event related to your work that resulted in exposure to the virus?
If you feel like you were infected as a result of work activities, or even had a specific workplace exposure (were infected by a coworker, a contractor, a customer, etc.), and don’t have a more likely source for your infection (immediate family member, etc.) you should consider making a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
- More Likely Exposures by Profession: Some professions, such as healthcare providers and first responders, will have a greater likelihood of contracting the disease as a result of their job. The more your job requires interaction with the public or specifically individuals feeling ill, the more likely your infection is related to those work-related exposures. If an outbreak is known at your place of employment, you likely have reason to report your own infection as work related.
- Is it Worth Claiming? You can receive medical care at no expense to you if the infection is work related, receive workers’ compensation payments during your recovery period while you are unable to work, and recover for any long-term damage that may result to your respiratory system. As we are learning about this disease, the potential long-term lung damage due to COVID-19 is not fully known, making it even more important to report a work-related infection and protecting your rights. This is a serious and sometimes fatal disease, and persons infected with it through their jobs should not ignore their entitlement to medical care, healing period benefits, permanent disability benefits, and, when fatal, death benefits available for surviving dependents.
- Reporting: As with any workers’ compensation claim, make sure your claim relating to COVID-19 is promptly reported to your employer. Verbal notice is sufficient, but a written record of a reported injury is always best.
If you have any questions relating to your exposure or potential exposure you should reach out to an attorney. Generally speaking, you have two years from the date of injury to file a workers’ compensation claim.