Whether or not coronavirus exposure or contacting COVID-19 on the job is covered by workers’ compensation in Florida is a bit complicated. Currently, “frontline state employees” have the most protection under workers’ comp but other employees can still be eligible for benefits.
If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and are unsure if you qualify, it’s important you contact us immediately.
In March, the Florida Division of Risk Management which provides workers’ comp coverage to certain state employees announced a directive to process workers’ compensation claims submitted by “frontline state employees” who have tested positive for the coronavirus. The directive stated that these claims are compensable for occupational disease unless the state can show the frontline employee contracted COVID-19 outside of the scope of their employment.
Frontline state employees are workers who have been required to interact with potentially infected people including:
The Florida League of Cities, the administrator of the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust which providers workers’ comp coverage for local governments, has also said it will cover municipal first responders who submit COVID-19 claims.
For frontline state workers, this news means the state will give claimants the benefit of the doubt with COVID-19 claims.
The directive does not extend to tens of thousands of Florida workers in “essential jobs” such as grocery store workers, office workers, delivery staff, and warehouse workers.
Private insurance companies dominate workers’ comp in Florida for non-government workers. Florida can’t mandate that these private companies cover specific claims, including workers’ comp claims for COVID-19.
Workers who are not frontline state employees can still file a workers’ compensation claim for coronavirus after testing positive for COVID-19. Workers will need to prove they contracted coronavirus on the job and their work put them at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. For peace of mind, first contact a workers’ compensation lawyer so you don’t have to worry about collecting or presenting any evidence – that’s why we’re here to help!
This can be challenging depending on the workplace. For example, some employees such as grocery store workers may have an easier time proving a claim if other employees or customers at their store also tested positive for COVID-19.
These claims will generally require a medical opinion regarding causation. This means a medical opinion that there was sufficient exposure at the workplace and that you likely caught the coronavirus within the scope of your work.
It’s hoped that there will be some presumption that essential workers in high-risk environments contracted COVID-19 during the scope of their work.
Even under normal circumstances, workers’ compensation claims can be complex and many rightful claims are denied.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or believe you have been exposed to coronavirus due to your work activities, contact the team of workers’ comp lawyers at WorkInjuryRights.Com™ to discuss how to pursue a workers’ compensation claim and seek the benefits you deserve.