We are getting asked this question often now- which is certainly understandable. Here is what one of our main work comp solution carriers told us:
Any claims made for COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) will have to be considered based on their specific circumstances and the jurisdictional statutes and case law for communicable or infectious diseases. In general, COVID-19 is considered as an “ordinary disease of life” since the general public is equally exposed to this illness outside of work (just like the flu or a cold). In most cases, any claim for exposure or illness would likely be denied.
However, in the event that a claim is filed for COVID-19 by an employee who may have a workplace that created an increased risk/hazard for exposure to the disease (such as a healthcare worker who treated a patient who is known to have the COVID-19 virus), this may be considered an occupational disease and may be compensable.
If a healthcare worker has not treated a patient known to have COVID-19, then this would likely revert back to being considered an ordinary disease of life since the source of infection is unknown. Again, all cases will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and compensability will be determined by jurisdictional rule and likely with input from defense counsel based on the circumstances of the case.
Please let us know if you have additional questions about staffing work comp in this very challenging time. Always feel free to contact us at david@StaffingCompSolutions.com, or 202-302-1212, or visit us at www.StaffingCompSolutions.com.
Finally please be safe, and we will all get through this pandemic together.
All the best