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Coronavirus, First Responders and Workers’ Compensation

Coronavirus, First Responders and Workers’ Compensation

Earlier this week I wrote about how insurance journals were busy exploring the potential ramifications of coronavirus infections and workers’ compensation claims. Insurance companies are not really sure how to deal with this, although the initial impression seemed to be to deny the claims as showing it is “work related” could be very difficult to prove given how easily transmitted the virus is in the general public.

I wrote how contracting coronavirus would be considered an occupational disease, and tried to explain that for most people, proving that they are due workers’ compensation benefits because they contracted coronavirus would be difficult as to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits related to the coronavirus or any other occupational disease in Alabama, you must be able to show that the disease (i) is not merely temporary in nature, (ii) was caused (or a preexisting condition was worsened) by you job duties if your job duties exposed you to hazards which are (a) in excess of those ordinarily incident to employment in general and (b) are different in character from those found in general occupations.

The key with a disease such as coronavirus is proving that your job duties placed you in greater peril of sustaining the disease by the nature of your job. Healthcare workers’ job duties are such that they should be able to relate the disease to their job duties; another similar position would be that of our First Responders.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, Police Officers and Fire Department employees consistently place their health in peril to help others, and that is true of the current National Crises. Our First Responders do not hesitate to do their job, and in the last few weeks many of them have come into contact with citizens infected with coronavirus. They care for the wounded and sick and do their best to ensure they are taken to a hospital as soon as possible. They are exposed to the virus in excess to those of us in the general populace-especially now since most people are self-isolating.

South Carolina is taking steps to try and ensure that their First Responders whom contract coronavirus are taken care of, but it is not without obstacles. Hopefully other States-Alabama included-will also pass legislation covering those First Responders who contract this deadly virus.

Right now, for those of us who are not First Responders or healthcare workers-the absolute best thing you can do for yourself, your family and our Nation is to stay at home. For our First Responders and healthcare workers, this is not an option. Our respect for your profession is boundless and we wish health and safety for your all, but should you become sick-know that you do not have to handle the situation alone.

If you are a First Responder and you have questions about your right to Alabama Workers’ Compensation benefits, please don’t hesitate to contact and speak with one of the experienced Alabama Job Injury Attorneys at Powell and Denny today for a FREE consultation.  Virtual appointments are available through Zoom to better protect you from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus, First Responders and Workers’ Compensation

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