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COVID-19 Can Be A Work Related Injury Or Occupational Disease (Guest Post)

I adapted this public service announcement from a longer more involved memo distributed by Attorney Nathan Shafner of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association to other workers’ compensation attorneys. This message is NOT legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

ALERT:

If you are exposed to the Corona Virus at work it is a work-related injury and/or occupational disease. You need to preserve your rights. That means it is a workers’ compensation case.

People most affected in the long term will probably be those with pre-existing breathing problems, high blood pressure or other heart diseases, and people with diabetes.

Long term effects of COVID-19 could include but won’t be limited to damage to the: lungs, heart, pancreas damage, digestive system, and brain.

If you report to work at restaurants, hospitals, or any other places of work that expose you to co-workers and/or the public, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss the best way to handle COVID-19 at work.
You Must Document Exposures to Preserve Your Rights BEFORE Exposure:

1) Keep a log of your activities and daily schedule: Time and location.

2) Keep track of any symptoms you have (via text messages, emails,) and inform your supervisor.

3) Write down specifics if you come into contact with a coworker, patient/inmate or public who are documented with the virus and inform your supervisor.

4) Write down specifics if you are aware of someone in your working vicinity who has contracted the virus and let the supervisors know.

5) Keep track of safety equipment (or lack thereof) that you have used, need to use or have asked for.

What you MUST do When you Think you have Been Affected:

1) You should file a workers’ compensation claim if you start to have some of the identifiable symptoms associated with COVID-19. Most employers will send you home if you show any symptoms. Filing the claim will memorialize the potential start date of lost wages. There are time limits within which you must file. A delay in reporting could seriously jeopardize your claim.

2) Don’t wait for the workers’ compensation insurance company to authorize treatment. Go to the doctor and get tested right away. If you test yourself at home and you are positive, you will need to get tested by a physician to make it official for your workers’ compensation claim. There may be a delay in getting tested or receiving treatment but what’s important is getting clarification and confirmation of your diagnosis. If your condition results in a hospitalization do not worry about the bills or insurance but make certain to inform the intake nurse and doctors you believe that an exposure(s) happened at work and explain how and why.

If you report to work at restaurants, hospitals, or any other places of work that expose you to co-workers and/or the public, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss the best way to handle COVID-19 at work.

Again, this message is NOT legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.

Sincerely,

Andrew J. Cates, Esq.
Law Offices of Andrew J. Cates, LLC
97 Oak St. Third Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
www.cateslegal.com
Phone 860-522-7044
Fax 860-499-5309
Cell 860-655-7044