Covid-19 workers’ compensation for nurses
Although many COVID-19 infections result in mild to moderate cold- or flu-like symptoms requiring no hospitalization or professional medical care (and in some case infections result in no symptoms at all), a significant percentage of infections result in hospitalization, particularly for persons over the age of 60 and/or who have underlying medical conditions like respiratory or cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system. As a result, COVID-19 infections can result in permanent damage to the respiratory system and even death, especially as the healthcare system becomes overwhelmed with seriously ill patients.
As many states shut down non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses remain on the frontlines of combating the epidemic. As a result, nurses are at increased risk of infection of COVID-19. Nurses who are infected by the disease may wonder whether they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to pay for treatment of a COVID-19 infection, provide wage replacement, and disability benefits if they are permanently harmed by the infection.
The Risk of COVID-19 Infection for Nurses
According to the New York Times, nurses, along with other healthcare workers, are at the greatest risk for acquiring COVID-19 (and other diseases and infections) through work, given their exposure to disease during a work shift and their physical proximity to infected persons. There have been several reported cases of nurses working in hospitals hit hard by COVID-19 outbreaks testing positive for the disease themselves.
Can Nurses Receive Workers’ Compensation for a COVID-19 Infection?
Nurses who become infected with the novel coronavirus may be entitled to apply for workers’ compensation benefits for their infection. Workers’ compensation benefits are available to compensate a worker who acquires an illness or other medical condition in the course and scope of his or her employment. As a result, a nurse who wishes to apply for workers’ compensation benefits after coming down with COVID-19 will need to establish that they acquired the infection in the course of their employment. The test for establishing whether an injury, illness or medical condition arose in the course of employment asks whether the employee was involved in an activity that benefited their employer when the employee was exposed to the illness, or sustained the injury.
In addition, workers’ compensation benefits are only available for an occupational illness if the illness or condition was caused by conditions peculiar to the work, such that the risk of contracting the illness or disease was greater or the manner of infection was different than that of the general public.
Because nurses must work with coronavirus-infected patients in their job, they are at greater risk than the general public for contracting COVID-19. Indeed, nurses and other healthcare workers often enjoy a presumption in workers’ compensation cases that a communicable disease, like coronavirus, was contracted on the job. However, a nurse may still need to present medical evidence to prove that he or she contracted the coronavirus on the job.
Learn more about receiving a fair amount for your workers’ compensation settlement here.
Contact a Clark Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Workplace Injury Case
As the Covid-19 Virus crisis continues to worsen in New Jersey, essential workers such as nurses must continue to report to work every day despite the greatly increased risk of contracting the disease from infected patients. Under New Jersey’s Worker’s Compensation law, a worker who can prove that they were infected as a result of their exposure to the virus at work would be entitled to medical treatment at the employer’s expense, replacement pay if they are unable to work, and a cash award if the Covid-19 illness leaves the affected nurse with any residual permanent injuries, or loss of function.
If you are a nurse who believes that you have contracted the Covid-19 virus as a result of your exposure at work, you need an experienced and highly-skilled workers’ compensation attorney to present your case to the employer, their insurance company, and the court. At Team Law, our workers’ compensation attorneys and support staff will use their decades of experience to make sure that you get each and every benefit available under the law should you contract the Covid-19 virus as a result of selflessly caring for infected patients. Our workers’ compensation attorneys are available 24/7 to discuss your concerns and answer your questions during this daunting and unprecedented medical crisis, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at (732) 540-1394. Our main office is located at 136 Central Avenue Clark, NJ 07066 and we also have offices in West New York, Edison, Summit, Perth Amboy and Jersey City, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.