Information for Businesses on COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation Claims

This post was authored by Margaret Shea, CPCU, Assistant Vice President at Rose and Kiernan, Inc.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, workers’ compensation boards in each state have grappled with how to handle claims. Under current rules, a virus or bacterial infection is not considered work related. When an employee submits a claim alleging that they contracted COVID-19 at work, protocols have been put into place to determine compensability. 

The first is to identify the source of the exposure. Healthcare workers and first responders are more likely to know where and when they were exposed. For other essential employees such as food service workers, teachers and retail employees, it is more difficult. Typically, a state’s workers’ compensation board requires a medical report from the attending physician stating that the virus was contracted through work related-activities. In order to assist essential workers, many states are enacting “rebuttable presumption.” This takes the burden of proof off the employee by stating that the contraction of COVID-19 is work related.

Rules on workers’ comp and COVID-19 are still evolving and it can be difficult to know when to file a claim. Best practices state that if an employee alleges a work-related infection, report it immediately to your insurance carrier. They will complete an investigation and using state guidelines, deny or accept the claim.

The topic of workers’ comp and COVID-19 changes very quickly! We’ll continue to provide updates on this topic. Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us here or by calling (800) 242-4433. You can also view our COVID-19 resources page for important information about Rose & Kiernan’s response to the virus outbreak.

Please note that news and events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are changing quickly. The information provided in this blog post represents where things stand on the date of publication.

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