As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there are, unfortunately, additional people contracting the virus daily. And for many of those, the close contacts that turn into a positive COVID case happen at work.
If you contract COVID-19 at your place of employment and are too sick to work for a specific period, there is the possibility of applying for workers’ compensation benefits. Making the direct connection to your workplace is where it gets complicated – and claims may be denied due to the inability to connect the dots.
If you are a medical professional, it may be easier to apply for workers’ compensation, depending on your situation.
Can a First Responder Get Workers’ Comp Benefits for COVID?
In Wisconsin, it became easier to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you cannot work due to contracting COVID-19. As of April 2020, a state law made the presumption that any positive COVID test is due to your line of work if you are a medical or emergency first responder.
The presumption in the law made the direct connection between your line of work and. This means that there would be no need to prove that you contracted the virus at work. The burden of proof falls on the employer if they want to challenge the claim instead of the insurance company. The employer will have to provide specific evidence that puts your claim in jeopardy.
Specifically, first responders covered under the new law may include anyone who provides medical or emergency services as part of their job. This can include law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders. These individuals all come in close contact of individuals and can easily contract the virus while performing help and life-saving procedures.
Given the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision on the unlawfulness of Gov. Evers’ order, the situation has become more complex when it comes to first responders and COVID. However, there is still a reasonable connection to COVID positive tests and the job of a first responder.
Specifically, the presumption did end in June of 2020 due to the end of the Public Health Emergency Executive Orders and related legislation. Anyone infected prior to April 17 of 2020, can still make workers’ compensation claims with the presumption in place. Others can still apply, but there will be no work-related presumption, and therefore evidence will need to be provided. An attorney can help with these claims.
If you are a first responder who was denied workers’ compensation and have a positive COVID diagnosis, you canto discuss your situation. If the link to your COVID diagnosis and any after-effects can be easily made given your job, you should not be denied benefits. Call our office at 800-345-1430 for more information.