Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program designed to provide workers who have been injured or become ill on the job with the financial support necessary to recover. As no-fault insurance, who causes an accident is immaterial so long as intentional negligence was not at play. With workers’ compensation, if an injury occurs at work, it can most likely be covered.
While it can be obvious when an injury follows an accident, things are not so clear cut when an illness is concerned and, until very recently, workers who developed COVID-19 had to prove that they contracted it at work to be eligible for benefits. This, of course, is a near-impossible task, and it left many essential workers who were exposed to COVID to struggle in the absence of protection and support.
The absurdity of this requirement was clear, both to those suffering from COVID-19 and to those responsible for administering workers’ compensation. In September, New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, signed a bill into law that placed the onus on employers to prove an employee did not contract COVID while working. Under this bill, unless it can be clearly established that an employee contracted the virus elsewhere, he or she is now entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits until it is safe to resume working.
Retroactive To March 9th
These new Coronavirus protections have been made retroactive to March 9th. Even if your claim was previously denied, it may be worth trying again. This new law overrides all previous burdens placed on employees and requires a “preponderance of evidence” that the employee did not contract COVID at work in order to refute.
In other words, if an employer cannot prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that an employee contracted COVID-19 outside of work, they will be required to follow the workers’ comp guidelines set forth by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Have You Been Denied?
If you have been denied workers’ comp following your COVID diagnosis, you may have the option of refiling. If your employer is actively trying to block your claim, you may have the option of taking legal action. In both cases, it’s a good idea to discuss your options with a qualified attorney.
Call Shapiro & Sternlieb at 732-617-8050 to schedule a free consultation and learn more. Located in Englishtown, we serve Princeton, New Brunswick, Marlboro Township, Millstone, and all surrounding areas of New Jersey.