If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19/Coronavirus, there may be an argument that they are entitled to Florida workers’ compensation benefits if they contracted it at work, but it will be a tough argument in most cases.
Under Florida law, there is a three-pronged test to show compensability for exposure injuries:
- Prolonged exposure – what is “prolonged” is not clearly defined. This prong can be proven by a showing of any exposure, either a singe dose exposure or a repeated exposure.
- The cumulative effect of the exposure is injury or aggravation of a preexisting condition – The employee will have to show that being exposed to COVID-19 at work resulted in an injury.
- The employee has been subjected to a hazard greater than that to which the public is exposed. The employee must show that the exposure is materially more than the public undergoes.
The third prong will be most difficult to prove in order to be compensable. Although health care providers and first responders involving COVID-19 would likely satisfy the third prong, other cases would have be considered on a case-by-case basis. How about a grocery store cashier? Will they be covered? Only time will tell.
However, it is likely that when the contraction of COVID-19 is incidental to the workplace or common to all employment, such as an office worker who contracts the condition from a fellow employee, a workers’ compensation claim for exposure to and contraction of the disease will be denied.
Stay healthy and follow the CDC Guidelines to protect yourself and your family!
Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson help injure workers after a Florida workers’ compensation accident. Attorney Matthew Noyes even wrote a book on it – Know Your Rights After Your Workers’ Compensation Injury. If you have questions after a work comp accident, call Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.