January 9, 2021 2 min to read
Truckers and Covid-19: what workers’ comp covers
Category : Health
Workers’ compensation insurance’s chief purpose is to provide financial relief to workers who get injured or sick while doing their job.
But in these unprecedented times, truck drivers wonder whether the insurance program covers them as well if they get sick with COVID-19 while working.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover COVID-19?
In most states, under workers’ compensation laws, a worker who has acquired a community-spread illness like a cold or the flu on the job will not receive benefits.
Infectious diseases like the flu or another coronavirus disease like COVID-19 are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance because it is very hard to prove that the virus was caught in the workplace, and not someplace else.
For instance, an employee could contract the flu or COVID 19 in the grocery store, at the gas station, or at home and blame it on the workplace.
However, to shield workers against the new coronavirus strain, several states have altered workers’ compensation rules to add exceptions to this way of thinking.
Starting in 2020, frontline workers and some “essential workers” no longer need to prove that they’ve got sick with COVID-19 in the workplace to receive workers’ comp benefits. These states include Utah, Michigan, and Illinois, with more states soon to catch up.
However, in most states, it is unclear whether a truck driver is an “essential worker” under workers’ compensation laws.
Truckers would need a seasoned lawyer to prove that they are eligible for workers’ comp benefits too if they fall ill with COVID 19 in the job, and the outcomes are uncertain.
Are Truck Drivers Sick with COVID-19 Eligible?
Truck drivers are considered “essential workers” in most states, but workers’ compensation laws have been modified to offer benefits mostly to frontline workers like doctors or nurses if they get sick with COVID-19.
So truck drivers may not be eligible for workers comp benefits if they contract COVID-19 while working. Still, a truck driver could boost his or her chances of getting his or her claim accepted if he or she:
– Chooses jurisdiction wisely when applying for workers’ comp benefits (employers have a default jurisdiction, but a trucker can pick a different jurisdiction if workers’ comp laws there include him or her as a COVID-19 survivor)
– Can prove the degree of exposure for specific tasks performed on the job
– Prove his or her job is “essential” depending on state laws and regulations
– Bring a diagnosis from a licensed health care worker
– Bring evidence of treatment
– Prove the first symptoms occurred on the job
– Prove that his or her employer hasn’t taken all work safety measures during the pandemic…
Continue reading the article and learn more about truckers and Covid-19 on Life Is An Episode website.