Woman getting her temperature checked during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits During COVID-19?

Since April 1, 2020, all non-essential businesses have been ordered closed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. The stay-at-home order was issued as a means for slowing the spread of the coronavirus among Pennsylvanians. 

But while most businesses and even some public entities have remained closed for the past two months, not all workers have been able to remain at home. Those employees who work for essential businesses have continued to go to work in order to make money and maintain their jobs in an increasingly poor job market. This includes healthcare workers, truck drivers, delivery drivers, grocery store employees, and emergency responders.

As these essential workers have continued to do their jobs day after day, they continue to put themselves at risk for contracting the virus from members of the public – and other workers. 

Look for Common Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that once the virus has been contracted it takes anywhere from 2-14 days for symptoms to appear. Though they can range from mild to severe, many of the symptoms are the same. These symptoms include:

  • Chest pain/tightness
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Shortness of breath

If you begin to develop any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you contact your physician and tell your employer right away. 

As the pressure to keep up with increased demands only continues, the stress and fatigue that many workers experience can contribute to additional issues, such as:

  • Accidents involving equipment or machines
  • Falls from ladders or heights
  • Repetitive movement/lifting injuries
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Weakened immune system

All of these injuries can increase one’s risk of contracting COVID-19 or cause increased difficulty in battling it.

Workers’ Comp Eligibility for Contracting COVID-19 

Our essential workers who continue to provide life-sustaining operations are our true heroes and deserve to be protected. That’s why if you have contracted COVID-19 or have been injured while on the job, you may be eligible for Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation benefits. 

Since Pennsylvania law finds that any illness that is contracted while on the job is an injury or occupational disease, those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should notify their employer as soon as possible; you have up to 21 days to do so in order to maintain eligibility. Should you be awarded such benefits, your coverage will last up to 120 days from the date that you contracted the virus.

Once your claim has been accepted, you will have a seven-day waiting period for payments to begin. However, you will only receive your first payment once you have been out of work for 2 weeks (14 calendar days). The good news is that if your injury causes you to miss more than a week of work and you are awarded workers’ compensation benefits, the benefits would help to pay for two-thirds of your lost wages and will cover any medical expenses related to your injury.

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP Can Help

Since workers’ compensation claims can be extremely complicated – especially concerning the contracting of COVID-19 – it is in your best interest to consult with a qualified Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation attorney. 

At Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, we understand the impact that an injury or the loss of your job can have on all aspects of your life. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!