Does workers’ compensation insurance cover your workers should they contract COVID-19?
That question has come up repeatedly since the coronavirus outbreak reached U.S. shores and the answer is fairly straightforward:
Yes, so long as the employee can prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the infection arose out of and in the course of their employment.
That’s the word from Pinnacol, Colorado’s largest workers’ compensation insurance carrier. It’s also the same response you’d get from any workers’ compensation carrier.
And it makes perfect sense. Workers’ comp covers workers when they suffer an injury – any sort of injury – while on the job.
In other words, if the worker was on the clock and on your company’s premises or job site at the time of the exposure to the virus and, as Pinnacol put it, “can establish a causal connection between the duties of their employment and the infection, then the claim may be held compensable.”
But what happens if COVID-19 becomes widespread, and millions contract the virus? Can the employee then still file a workers’ comp claim?
Well, the answer again would be “yes,” as long as the worker can trace the contraction of the virus “to a particular time, place and cause in the workplace,” Pinnacol said.
The bottom line? Workers’ compensation helps workers with costs stemming from injuries and serious illnesses that befall them in the course of their jobs, not every other part of life.
George Whitten is an insurance advisor in CCIG’s Commercial Lines department. Reach him at George.Whitten@thinkccig.com or at (720) 330-7940.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.
OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
Workers’ Compensation Do’s and Don’ts for Employers and their Workers
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