Two individuals who worked in a chicken plant in Camilla, Georgia have died as a result of COVID-19. These individuals worked in the plant in close quarters with others and didn’t have protective gear. They may have contracted the disease from other workers at the plant and could have spread the virus.
Sadly, we will undoubtedly start to see more and more of these types of cases.
In fact, we may have already witnessed the start of this trend. On top of the Tyson chicken plant, in recent days there have been reports of food factory workers getting sick in Colorado and South Dakota.
We’ve all watched the news or read about healthcare workers and grocery store employees who are risking exposure to COVID-19, but many other workers in the supply side food chain are also at risk. They often work in close quarters and don’t have a choice regarding whether to work or not.
If these workers get sick, they will require medical attention. The question arises as to who will pay for all of their medical bills and time away from work.
Workers’ compensation was created to protect workers who get injured while on the job. Unfortunately, it’s creators never contemplated this pandemic. Right now, as the law stands, it will be difficult for those who develop COVID-19 on the job to obtain medical and indemnity benefits.
It appears that COVID-19 would fall under the occupational disease section of the Georgia workers’ compensation statute. This statute requires that the disease is not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed.
Due to the prevalent nature of COVID-19 in Georgia, it would be very difficult to bring a claim where the basis of the injury is COVID-19. This doesn’t mean that the law will not change in the future to allow these types of claims, but it is sadly the case right now.
We invite you to contact the Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at Gerber & Holder if you have any questions about an on the job injury. Schedule your free consultation today.
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