Source: New York Times
March 18, 2020
Hourly workers are being sent to clean office buildings throughout the country. Some of these office complexes have closed due to individuals contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Sadly, these cleaning crews are not told in advance about the risks they are putting themselves and their family in.
- If they get sick, how will they be able to cope with the illness and medical bills?
- Does workers’ compensation insurance cover workers who get coronavirus on the job?
- If a worker gets sick because they were put in a hazardous situation or location by their employer, can they bring a workers’ compensation claim?
These are very nuanced questions, and there are rules and regulations regarding occupational illness and diseases that are vital to understand.
Unfortunately, as it stands right now, the workers’ compensation laws in Georgia would not cover individuals who contract coronavirus as a result of their on-the-job activities.
O.C.G.A. 34-9-280 clearly states that the disease must arise out of a particular trade, occupation or employment and that the disease is not one that could have been typically contracted outside that type of employment.
People are contracting the virus all over the country right now, and many times it’s not due to employment. While it certainly is wrong for employers to place their employees at risk, and there may be a cause of action for reckless endangerment, there is unfortunately no cause of action under the workers’ compensation system in most coronavirus cases.
What to do if you have questions about being injured on the job?
If you have been injured on the job, please contact a lawyer at Gerber & Holder immediately. There are important deadlines that may be coming up. Our attorneys can help guide you through the process.
Remember, all initial consultations are free and we are here to assist you at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys.
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