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Coronavirus, Grocery Store and Convenience Store Workers

Coronavirus, Grocery Store and Convenience Store Workers

I have already a few articles in Insurance Journals discussing the ramifications of employees coming down with coronavirus. 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.

For the general public, it could be difficult to prove you caught the disease at work, although this is not true of all jobs. We have previously written blogs dealing with coronavirus and Health Care Workers and First Responders, but another group of workers in the “front line” of our current National Crises are Grocery Story and Convenience Store Workers.

The coronavirus would be considered an occupational disease.

Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation Act defines an occupational disease as follows: A disease arising out of and in the course of employment including occupational pneumoconiosis and occupational exposure to radiation as defined…in this section, which is due to hazards in excess of those ordinarily incident to employment in general and is peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged but without regard to negligence, or fault, if any, of the employer. A disease, including, but not limited to, loss of hearing due to noise, shall be deemed an occupational disease only if caused by a hazard recognized as peculiar to a particular trade, process, occupation, or employment as a direct result of exposure, over a period of time, to normal working condition of the trade, process, occupation, or employment.

To most people who do not handle work injury cases in Alabama for a living, this definition is a clear as mud, so in laymen’s terms, 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. During the current “shut down” in Alabama, the average citizen is not supposed to be out and about and really shouldn’t be close to anyone else; this cannot be said of grocery store employees or those who work at a Convenience Store. These workers have shown us just how “essential” they are to the rest of us being able to try to continue with out lives-and their job necessarily entails them being in closer contact with a multitude of persons on a daily basis. I would say this means their job places them in greater peril than the vast majority of Alabamians, and therefore should they unfortunately contract coronavirus-our view and Powell and Denny is that they should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Right now, for those of us who are not employees of a Grocery Store, Convenience Store, Healthcare Industry or a First Responder-the absolute best thing you can do for yourself, your family and our Nation is to stay at home. For those whose job has not been interrupted and whose job puts them in contact with others, 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 work in a Grocery Store and Convenience Store 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 for your protection from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Offices in Huntsville, AL and Hoover, AL

Alabama Workers Compensation Attorneys
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Powell and Denny have been selected as one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report for each of the last 6 years, have been selected as one of Birmingham’s Top Lawyers by B-Metro Magazine for the last 3 years, have been selected by The National Advocates as one of the Top 20 Workers’ Compensation Firms (plaintiffs) and Powell and Denny, P.C.-has been selected as one of the “Best of the Best” law firms by The American Registry.
Mr. Denny is AV rated by Martindale Hubbard (the highest rating possible) and Mr. Powell has been rated as Superior by The National Registry

Coronavirus, Grocery Store and Convenience Store Workers

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