How will the coronavirus pandemic impact workers’ compensation claims in Columbus, Ohio? Ohio has a Stay-at-Home order in place that will go through at least May 1, 2020, which also continues the closure of non-essential businesses in Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio.
As a result, many businesses have closed, and many workers are home without jobs. Some are on furlough, and some have been terminated. Others are working from home. While fewer Columbus, OH employees are suffering injuries at work since many businesses are closed for the time being, some workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and may have contracted the disease at work.
Other Columbus employees suffered injuries at work shortly before the Stay-at-Home order took effect, and they are trying to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Some people are still going to work because they are employed by “essential” businesses that are remaining open.
This is an extremely difficult time, and there is no clear answer about when the pandemic will relent. However, whether you have questions about filing a claim as a result of a COVID-19 infection or you have concerns about an issue pertaining to your workers’ compensation benefits during the pandemic, I can discuss your case with you and can help with your workers’ compensation claim.
In the meantime, the following are some questions you might have about the coronavirus pandemic and workers’ compensation benefits, along with answers that can help.
Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a COVID-19 Infection?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, you might suspect or even be certain that you were exposed to the illness at work. Is this a compensable illness through the workers’ compensation program in Ohio?
According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), whether you can receive benefits for COVID-19 depends upon how you contracted it and what job you were doing when you were exposed.
As the BWC clarifies, “generally, communicable diseases like COVID-19 are not workers’ compensation claims because people are exposed in a variety of ways, and few jobs have a hazard or risk of getting the diseases in a greater degree or a different manner than the general public.” Yet if your job is a type of work or in a particular industry that puts you at heightened risk of coronavirus exposure, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Will the BWC Still Consider My Claim?
For workers who filed for workers’ compensation benefits recently, it is important to know that the BWC is working virtually and is still making determinations on claims that have been submitted.
If I Cannot Visit My Doctor, Will My Benefits Get Cut?
Ohio beneficiaries of workers’ compensation need to have a healthcare provider complete a Medco-14, but many workers cannot see a doctor at this time as a result of the pandemic. The BWC recognizes this difficulty and will continue making payments through April 30, 2020.
Likewise, the BWC recognizes that job searches may be impossible now, and as a result, wage loss payments will be made through April 30, 2020. This date ultimately could be extended depending upon how the pandemic unfolds in Ohio.
Call Me for Assistance with Your Case
If you have questions about coronavirus and workers’ comp, I can help. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Give me a call today at 877.944.4373 to discuss your concerns.